I beat the game earlier today. It is a game that I really enjoyed and had fun with. Yet, it still has several flaws. I can't consider this an all time classic, but I do know that I want to come back and play it in the future. There will probably be enough tweaks, additions and mods to push it to "one of the greats" status. Here are my ramblings.
What I did not like:
The armor system. I knew that I wouldn't like this from the start. It adds an unnecessary time sink for the player and enemy to take down additional health bars. Combat becomes a competition in who can strip each other of armor and then finally use status inflicting moves. I went with a 2H warrior, crossbowman, and two mages; one summoner focused, and one buff and heal focused. I wish they change this somehow. Higher armor could mean less chance to inflict status ailments. I doubt they will get rid of it entirely.
How AP and initiative works is not cool. At first, I put lots of points in wits to get more AP and higher initiative, but the way the game works is not good at all. Wits is more or less useless. If I remember correctly, I utilized wits a lot in the first game. I also dislike how some enemies have way more AP than you. Or when there are summoned enemy units that directly get to attack, instead of getting added last to the combat action queue.
Number bloat. In this case, I honestly don't know how they thought. For each level, numbers go up significantly. Most of the time, this forces the player to explore areas in a certain order. I didn't care and forced my way through some of the higher level areas by cheesing them. This hampers some of the feeling of freedom. It also forces you to buy items often. I'd buy new items every two levels.
Attributes and talents weren't as interesting as in first game. In DOS, attributes feel so much more useful. They do more than just add 5% to a single area, like 5% improved weapon damage. I also miss the defensive abilities like for example, armor specialist. The number talents also seem to be less in number and usefulness. In DOS, I used several different talents depending on what type of characters I used. In DOS2, I had all characters use the same ones.
A mixed bag:
Combat encounters. There were some really fun encounters in DOS2. A certain fight in act 1, Radeka in act 2, and some others that I won't mention in fear of spoilers. Then we have some fights that had me scratch my head. I didn't have a huge problem winning said fights, but they were clearly set up to give the computer an advantage that I feel it shouldn't have. I am all for challenge, but do it better. Then we have fights like the one in the Black Pits. Not challenging at all for me, but oh my word, how long it took me to deal with it. Don't get me started on some of the fights in Arx. Lizard Consulate, I am looking at you. Overall, there were far more encounters I had fun with, than encounters that I disliked.
Companions and writing. I'd put this above the first game, but I do not consider the writing in this game to be masterclass. It's serviceable and a step in the right direction for Larian. There are places where I really enjoyed it and at some points, all I could think to myself was: You don't play Larian games and expect Planescape: Torment. It was interesting to see how things would unfold and companions were mostly decent. I don't have much to say in this area of the game. It works, and it shows that they put some effort into it.
Items. You feel no real joy when you get new items after a certain point. Oh, new item, okay then. Why? Because there is an overabundance of them (especially with Lucky Charm). The numbers bloat also makes it a must to renew your gear. A big shame is that unique items often are worse than random items that you get. There are a few exceptions, but I could probably count them on my fingers. Why is this in the mixed bag section and not in the negatives section? A part of me loves loot, and I must have it.
What I did like:
Exploration. While the game tries to keep you away from certain areas, due to higher level enemies, beating said enemies when you're not supposed to do, is a great feeling. In general, I liked to explore the world and meet NPCs, then help or fight them. The actual game world isn't very believable, and by that I mean that the game world is more of a playground packed with content, than a world that makes sense. There is always something to do or find.
Quests. While the quest journal seemed to be broken beyond all repair, I actually had fun with them. (They probably repaired it, didn't they?) I had persuasion maxed, and managed to avoid combat sometimes. There were straight up "go fight this" quest, "talk to people" quests and investigation quests. Some of the quests you get seems to end up the same way and have no real choice, no matter what you do, but others seem to have very different outcomes. I need to replay the game to confirm.
Skills. I liked the skills the game had to offer. Maybe not as many as the first game, I don't remember, but they were mostly all useful. Warfare and Huntsman, I used all the time. There weren't many skills in the schools I used that I didn't find a good use for in different situations.
Combat system. While I did complain about some encounter designs and AP points, I love the combat system. There aren't many games in recent years that I have had as much fun with that uses a turn-based combat system which uses a party. Only game that really comes close is Blackguards. I like the fact that there is no grid. You can plan how you want to move, you can queue up moves. It is possible to separate your characters and initiate combat with some characters, and then jump in with the others as you see fit. You can position your characters by spilling them up. The only negative is when there are surprise attacks. Not that there should never be any.
Music. I had some fears about this, but I must say that Kirill has a worthy successor. I really enjoyed the soundtrack. Kept some of the Dvinity, yet did its own thing, too. Loved the music in the final battle.
Edited by Labadal, 15 October 2017 - 03:01 PM.