Divinity II Ego Draconis and Divinity II Flames of Vengeance comprise Divinity II: Developer's Cut. The former the original and the latter the expansion. Depending on how you play the length of the entire production can easily extend past 100 hours.
To start, customization was a disappointment. Selection is limited to a male and female model with appropriate sound samples from which to pick. Want to sound like a noble or a soldier then Larian has made that happen. What Larian did not make happen was allow me to choose an avatar in my chosen image. The hair and beard and color of both can be chosen but only female or male and human at that. The game has goblins, why can't the player be a goblin?
Once my disappointment over the customization screen had dissipated it was time to immerse my self in the world of Riverlon. Much like Risen, the player starts as a complete non descript. In terms of the game's systems, the player character might as well have been just expelled from the womb. Barely any attributes or acquired skills make up your profile and depending on your skill level as a gamer and how you allocate your initial allocation of attribute and skill points, the game can be rather unforgiving. Some would think challenging forcing a strategic approach, others may be put off. I thought the former and welcomed the challenge eagerly building my character for the tasks ahead. Im that context the game starts the player much like Risen or Gothic.
As you progress in Divinity II you become more powerful and the game eventually will become easier. Late in the base game there was a distinct lack of difficulty balancing by Larian. While the game continued to be entertaining the lack of eventual difficultly was a serious issue. While the game has multiple difficulty settings encompassing casual through nightmare, this wasn't enough. An additional difficulty setting was needed or the skills needed to be toned down though the game does make you feel very powerful from a role playing perspective.
My opinion on difficulty may be more a product of playing as a pure Mage. I cannot speak for Fighter, Ranger or playing a mixed class. Also note that for a good portion of the base game the game was extremely challenging even on normal. Divinity II is not on rails and you are free to explore areas outside of your capabilities.
The player is free to allocate skills to any category. Categories are broken down by Priest, Mage, Fighter, Ranger and general category to remain unnamed. Want to be a Battle Mage, a Ranger Priest, no problem. The elasticity of the skill system allows for such combinations with the only limitation being that the skills are level locked. Divinity II tells the story of a budding Dragon Slayer who eventually is recruited to become a Dragon Knight and defacto a Dragon. Morphing into a Dragon is cool and a significant divergence in game play. Like the Dragon Knight, Dragon abilities can be allocated and strengthened through skill points. Game-play as a Dragon will have you battling all sorts of flying beasts as well as entrenched land based weaponry. At this point in the review if you are reading through the spoiler tag I want to point out that anyone who likes their flight controls inverted is in for a big surprise and for this Larian gets an F for failure and not caring about a portion of their fan base. Larian left out inverted flight for the dragon. Thankfully we can send human beings into orbit and utilities exist to help correct this issue. Using Xpadder I was able to setup a profile to control the Dragon on an Xbox 360 game controller and invert the flight controls in the process. This meant playing the Knight with the keyboard and playing the Dragon with the game-pad. A minor inconvenience but the PC version should of been patched as the Xbox version had inverted flight.
Potions, Crafting, Botany and Gemstones all play significant roles. Potions can be purchased though there is an alchemy system based on plants. Potions are not limited to health and mana and include attribute based potions as well. Potions interestingly have many level classifications with the strength of the potion increasing with the level. Crafting is gem based and like alchemy, the ability to craft is available to every player character. When you become a Dragon Knight you get your own Battle Tower and the tower has servants. Servants of which you may weaponize and armor. Servants that will collect gems and plants for you. A welcome time saving feature implemented by Larian to keep game minutia to a minimum.
Divinity II is a 2009 production and looks like it was made in 2009 though in some places the game visually shines but over all the game still looks good. Voice acting is top notch and professional. I was disappointed to see the re-use of npc models, a pet peeve of mine, though Larian did an adequate job covering up this sin and the issue didn't appear to be as egregious as Gothic 3.
Combat was simply fun and skills utilized by the player are accessed via the standard 1 through 0 keys or can be reassigned to any key. All game functions can be re-mapped including quick save. Combat is as simple as swinging your weapon and using skills. Blocking is non-existent and points can be put into the passive skills like evade. The player can also roll out of harms way.
The Developer's Cut allows the player to start the base game and expansion as originally released or in what amounts to a debug mode. Both versions are save game compatible. In the debug version, the console is accessed via F11 and you are free to do as you wish. Want to give yourself an apple ? You can do that. Mostly I stayed out of the debug version though I will come clean so to speak and admit to pumping 5 points into encumbrance to satisfy my pack rat tendencies and because I'm no fan of dealing with limited inventories in action rpgs. It bears to mention that the starting inventory limit can be managed without putting any points into encumbrance.
Divinity II and expansion are worthy for multiple reasons. Divinity II comprises originality, professional voice acting, great game-play, questing and a great soundtrack (accessible via install). A top notch action RPG.