Drakensang: The Dark Eye Review

Play.tm reviews Drakensang: The Dark Eye, being mostly impressed by this classic-style party-based RPG, giving it an 82%.
Drakensang: The Dark Eye initially looks like a cross between World of Warcraft and Baldur's Gate. For those of you expecting the next Fallout 3 or Oblivion, look away now, it's not that sort of RPG. Instead, it's the more traditional party-based RPG that we used to see emerging from Black Isle such as Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale... you get the idea. The HUD system reminded me immediately of World of Warcraft, with a mini map in the top left hand side of the screen and a hotbar for attack shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. As the game unfolded, I came to realise that Drakensang is definitely aiming to be more Baldur's Gate than anything else, albeit with much more depth. So much depth in fact that it is a little overwhelming.

On starting the game, you have the usual character creation screen which really does offer a wealth of options. There are 20 pre-made characters to choose from ranging from your typical warriors and mages to amazons and pirates. As well as that there are more than 40 spells, over 30 talents and nearly 40 special abilities, meaning there are plenty of options available to you when creating your character. As well as this you can go into an advanced mode of the game and tweak your character's attributes to your heart's content. I reckon you could easily spend a good hour or two just settling on a character archetype. This is great, I'm pleased to see an RPG on the market that isn't dumbing down, but at times the array of stats is a little daunting. I couldn't honestly say that I fully understand it even after many hours of playing. Leveling up is a similar process where although I level up every time and think I've achieved something, I couldn't actually say what effects what, despite having played various Dungeons and Dragons based RPGs for many years. Perhaps for those who have played The Dark Eye tabletop game, this will all make perfect sense, and despite the confusion I wouldn't say it's necessarily a huge problem. Just something that will take a lot of dedication to figure out. It would be nice to have some clear explanations as to where to put your skill and talent points. Although there are basic explanations in the loading screen and tooltips, it's just not quite detailed enough. Luckily the (75 page) manual goes some way to helping you understand just what to do when it comes to character development. Of course, given the huge depth of all this (I haven't even gone into detail regarding the crafting system where you can create potions, weapons and shields amongst other items), one thing you certainly can't complain about is just how many options are available when developing your character - which is very refreshing.