Divinity: Dragon Commander Preview

Not to take away any attention from the Divinity: Original Sin Kickstarter, but PC Games N is offering a hands-on preview for Divinity: Dragon Commander, Larian's other upcoming Divinity title, which is decidedly less traditional in terms of gameplay.
Of course, I should talk about that war itself, since it's the event around which all your experiences will be built. Dragon Commander compliments the now standard turn-based strategy/real-time battles dichotomy with a handful of elements that the developers say were inspired by board game mechanics. While staring down at your strategic map, you hold in your hand a collection of cards that represent special powers, such as delaying tactics or production bonuses, and before a battle begins you can also lay down cards to call in extra units to fight alongside you. Naturally, it's your choice when and where you play these cards, what to deploy now and what to hold for later.

When battle is joined, it's immediately familiar to fans of real-time strategy and, while it does introduce a couple of new concepts, Larian aren't pushing the envelope here. Nevertheless, it can be a busy experience with a lot of choices to make. Steampunk units, with all sorts of racial tweaks or factions-specific traits, take to the land and air and Larian want cosmopolitan armies to win the day, encouraging you to mix and match unit types as you go. For example, a fragile zeppelin works as a perfect compliment to a battleship, acting as a spotter for the vessel's powerful, long-range guns.

If you want the job done properly, you can also do it yourself. The game offers players the chance to leap into the battles themselves, taking direct control of a jetpack-powered dragon suit and soaring above the battlefield to rain fire down upon enemy units. When this happens, the game almost transforms into third-person action and almost inevitably becomes a circle-strafing experience. It's not yet very well-developed, but it's not an uncomfortable addition to the game and certainly fits within the hodge-podge of other styles that Larian have mixed together.