Drakensang: The Dark Eye (PC)

It seems that some of the best RPGs are those that are developed and released for foreign markets (particularly Europe) then transferred over to the United States. For example, Gothic (and in particular, Gothic III), is critically underrated. Despite the fact that a number of these titles gain a pretty hellacious layer of dust on United States store shelves, THQ has decided to bring out Drakensang: The Dark Eye for the PC. For those players that have been heavy into RPGs for the PC over the course of a decade, Drakensang is the first title released in the Northlands line of games (“Realms of Arkania”) in well over a decade.

While I have some tremendously fond memories of Shadows over Riva, the final title in the Realms of Arkania trilogy, I found myself a little pensive at the thought of a newer title attempting to build off of the aforementioned, stellar title. The first thing that struct me is how much money went into the production of Drakensang; estimates place the title’s creation from start to end at a cost not less than 2.5 million Euros.

The graphics present in the title are decent but are little to write home about; where players will marvel at Drakensang comes more in the customization potential for characters in the party. The game plays a little linear when it comes to the creation of the party, but the assigning of talent points to different skills like diplomacy and blacksmithing allows the game to take on a whole different flavor. The actions taken by characters are more rooted in reality than they are in a World of Warcraft: magic only becomes plentiful at late stages of the game, while battles comes forth as epic encounters instead of mundane wastes of time until that point when a good item drops. The dialogue-heavy style of Drakensang tells a rich story, one that is comparable in quality to the old Dragonlance (Weis and Hickman) line of books. While I am nowhere near close to finishing Drakensang at this point, timeliness brought me into completing this review. If you want an RPG that provides players with an engrossing experience and does not peter out after 20 or 30 hours, Drakensang: The Dark Eye is a perfect title. It is so good, in fact, that I may have to dust off my copy of Shadows over Riva after I finish up with the story arc for Drakensang.

Rating: 9.4/10

Drakensang: The Dark Eye (PC) / 2009 THQ / http://www.drakensangus.com

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