Dolly the Donkey
Since I didn’t really have a place anywhere else this weekend to post this, I figure I will lead off this mornings post with it. Meet Dolly the Donkey, she and the other donkey Carl are freaking adorable. I’ve never been a huge fan of horses, but there is just something cute about Donkeys. They are kind of like the corgi of horses, and these two are super good natured. While they were obsessed with their food Saturday when we were visiting a friends ranch, on previous times they have been all too happy to come up to the fence and have their heads scratched. Nothing miraculous or spectacular to see here, I just wanted to post a picture of this awesome animal.
The last time we were out there was for a end of school cookout, and at that time they had these adorable kittens. You could pick one up and it would just collapse into a fit of purring in your arms. We already have three cats, but there have been multiple times in the past we have had four. The neighbor down the street has this adorable kitten, and off and on throughout the summer I have had to go down and feed their animals for various reasons. So in the following weeks I had almost talked myself into getting a kitten. However Saturday when we actually went to visit again, they were all sweet and adorable… but I just wasn’t feeling it. All I could think about was the glorious mess that having a new kitten is, and the fact that I would be woken up at all hours of the night as it was off exploring. I passed for now, but it may or may not be my final answer.
Finding a Franchise
So all of this time while playing the game, I kept thinking in the back of my head… why had I not played this game before now. I originally thought it was a pretty good product offering considering it was released in 2012, but apparently I was looking at the wrong date. 2012 is when the last version of the game was released that rolled in both Divinity 2: Ego Draconis and the Flames of Vengeance expansion. This game was actually released back in 2009, which makes it all the more impressive. The problem is that it launched in a really tightly packed crowd of new releases. Apparently this released opposite both Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2, which probably accounts for why exactly I had not played it before. I was simply too busy with those two games to give much of a damn about anything else. The thing is… that is kinda sad considering just how good of a game it is.
What is awesome about this experience is that it feels like I am discovering Fallout of Elder Scrolls for the first time. Divinity is apparently this extremely storied franchise that I have not played at all. At this point I have played Divinity Ego Draconis for over eight hours according to steam, and I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface. I have only just now left the very first area of the game. I would imagine that Divinity 2 is at the very least going to be a 100+ hour game for me, in the amount of detail it already has and how much I am finding myself backtracking to unlock past content. The whole game reminds me so much of if the original Fable and Guild Wars 1 had a love child, because it seems to embrace the best qualities of both of these titles. The further I get into the game, the more enjoyable the content and the various puzzles are. This game is currently the king of jumping puzzles for me… in that they are challenging but not so frustrating that you want to throw the controller across the room.
The only real complaint that I have so far is that the skills that you unlock with your talent points, feel like they are not that exciting or powerful. As a result you can see in most of the screenshots I only actually have 2 to 3 attacks unlocked. I’ve found it far more beneficial to dump my mounts is sword and shield proficiency and lockpicking. Both of which I have managed to max out currently, and both of which make the game so much more enjoyable. Essentially the magical attacks for the warrior archetype are just “ho hum”. Right now I have a whirlwind attack that knocks the enemies back sometimes, and a charge attack that I can use as a gap closer. Neither one hits nearly as hard as a standard basic swing attack. So I guess my problem is that it feels like I am wasting points if I continue to dump more into either of them.
The only one I find myself really using much is the gap closer, because all of the ranged type enemies absolutely love running away and attacking from a distance. Overall however the combat has been really fun, and there are several special abilities that you can perform based on a combination of movement and jumps along with your swings. Nothing extremely powerful, but it can make a huge difference when fighting extremely tough encounters like the couple of Trolls that I managed to take down so far. The game can be brutal, and this is definitely one of those games where you want to save often as there have been more than a few occasions where I screwed something up permanently… and had to reload from a previous stage. One of the more interesting things about the game is that you can mindread NPCs when you talk to them… you should do this every time because in some cases you will not get a second chance.
This game is very obviously no Skyrim…. but it also predates that game by a years time. For what it is, the game is extremely pretty and runs stable for me with absolutely everything cranked up. In 2009 I am sure this game was a sight to behold, and was probably among the prettiest titles on the PC. I still have no clue at all why this was not bigger news here, and why it managed to skirt under my radar. I mean I knew the series existed, but quite honestly I never picked the previous games up on steam because they confused the shit out of me. The first game is called Divine Divinity and the second game Beyond Divinity… I kept looking for a game just called “Divinity” because I hate starting in the middle of a series. I am not exactly sure when I purchased Divinity II but I am guessing it was a flash sale and extremely cheap for me to try and start in the middle of a series.
Now however I have both Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity waiting to be played once I have reached a point where I feel like I am done with this game. Additionally I went ahead and picked up Divinity: Original Sin the new game for when I finish with those. I have a feeling that this franchise is going to become a favorite for me. Honestly I think one of the things that kept me from picking up the game in the past is the Gothic series. That game series looked so amazing and was apparently extremely popular in Europe, but each time I have tried to sit down and actually play it… the games have felt like complete crap. So since this is also a European title, no matter how cool it looked… I kept remembering my continued disappointment with Gothic. I guess there are probably a few other games out there that I should give a second chance, because there are likely more diamonds in the rough that simply did not get the press needed to make them a great success.