By Beau Hindman from massively.joystiq.com
This week I was excited to spend some more time exploring Drakensang Online, the latest version in the long-running RPG series. I'd barely touched anything from the previous games, so I was blissfully unaware of what to expect from this one. I knew that Bigpoint was involved, so I had a feeling that the cash shop would be controversial but very convenient. I had also viewed screenshots and watched videos from before, so I was ready to see just how it would run on a basic laptop with three gigs of ram.
The first and most obvious feature of this game, which will probably be universally agreed upon, is the graphics. They are great, to say the least. Yes, the camera is locked in position like in a game of Diablo or Torchlight, but there are so many neat little details to marvel at: tiny butterflies dancing in the breeze, waterfalls splashing as you run past, even tiny skulls swinging on the backs of giant bog monsters... all of these look beautiful. The lighting effects also look and feel splendid. Fires cast a warm glow and spell effects feel very real. There are essentially two classes -- a melee and a magic user -- but when those magic missiles fired across the field, lighting up the area as they passed, I almost regretted my choice of class.
The game doesn't feel very directed, either. It feels linear, and there is a sense of story in the game, but at some points it's not terribly clear as to where to go and what to do next. In a lot of ways I liked that sense of being lost, but I would have liked a bit more direction. Basically, I played in an area, finished all of the quests, and then explored until I found another. In between, I would go into instanced dungeons that even offered difficulty levels at the start of each.
After this trip into Drakensang, I was left impressed enough to recommend it to almost anyone who enjoys slaughtering monsters and collecting loot. However, be aware of Bigpoint's cash-shop style and be prepared to spend a little money if you want to burn through levels. Otherwise, play like normal and the cash shop will never enter your mind. You will build up some virtual funds just by playing the game, so spend those after you save them up. If you do decide to use the cash shop, there are some great cheap items to try out first. I ran it successfully on my basic dual-core laptop with an integrated graphics chip, although it did get pretty hot after a while. If you have desktop that you normally play on, you'll be golden. You can even play in fullscreen mode if you prefer. Overall, I would say that while it's a little bland in the quest department, Drakensang Online looks to be a fun dungeon-crawler that you can play anywhere. The added bonus? You can play with your friends or thousands of new ones.
You can read full review here.
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