Video Game: Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga
aka: Divinity II Ego Draconis
Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga
is the sequel to the Belgian RPGs Divine Divinity
and Beyond Divinity
by Larian Studios
. Originally released as Divinity II: Ego Dragonis
(2009), it was bundled with its own Expansion Pack Flames of Vengeance
(2010) in a 2011 Updated Re-release
under the subtitle The Dragon Knight Saga
, and has been marketed as such ever since (especially since the game and the expansion are basically two halves of the same story
). Divinity II
was developed for the PC and Xbox 360, and released in German first before the international release a few months later.
In the land of Rivellon, the Divine, the hero of Divine Divinity
, was betrayed and murdered by his former allies, the dragons, shortly after his victory. As a result, almost all of the dragons have been exterminated by Dragon Slayers. The player starts the game as a new Dragon Slayer being given their powers, before news of a dragon comes and their squad leaves to track down the dragon. Through a turn of events, the new Dragon Slayer is instead made into a Dragon Knight, which the Slayers have sworn to kill, and is told that the true danger to Rivellon is not the dragons, but the evil which the dragons had been fighting: a man named Damian.
The expansion, Flames of Vengeance
, picks up immediately after the main game. Through the manipulations conducted by his Not Quite Dead
girlfriend, Damian has returned stronger then ever and the player is trapped in diamond. The player is eventually freed, and must now fight undo the damage they unwittingly caused by taking vengeance on Damian's lover who used and misled them and finally defeating Damian once and for all.
Halfway through the game, the character gets the ability to transform into a dragon and engage in aerial combat instead of ground-based combat. It has been praised for its clever writing (including the ability to mindread almost every NPC), amazing soundtrack and sense of exploration. The game could best be described as Gothic
's gameplay meets Baldur's Gate 2
's roleplaying, with hints of Fable
In 2012, a Developer's Cut edition of the game was released. In addition to containing enhanced versions of both Ego Draconis
and Flames of Vengeance
, it contains an optional Developer's Mode that allows you to tweak your character, spawn certain monsters, and more.
This game provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Gender: Played with by the resident illusionist of the Battle Tower, Hermaphroditus. He appears male for the most part, but alternates between a soft, effeminate voice and a deep, masculine voice, as he can change your character's gender.
- Anti-Grinding: Each and every enemy, locked chest and every other EXP granting object in the game is entirely hand placed. Once they're gone, they're gone. So use that Mind Reading skill sparingly.
- XP granted from killing enemies and bosses scales based on the difference between the enemy's level and your own, rewarding you more for killing enemies that are more powerful than you. Min/max through the game and you'll be about level 45 when you get to the final encounter. Play the game without bothering to complete all the sidequests and you'll be about level 35.
- Bald of Evil: Damian.
- Berserk Button: Never say the word "Maxos" in Amdusias's presence. Actually, do say it; the results are hilarious.
- Bittersweet Ending: Flames of Vengeance. The player kills Ygerna, taking their vengeance for her using them as a pawn in Ego Draconis. As a result, the Divine Hero is freed from his prison and the Dragon Knights are exonerated for his supposed murder. However, Damian is still out there...
- Boss Rush: Most of the Hall of Echoes. Turns out Charon is kind of annoyed at a living soul being in the land of the dead, and is fine with letting some of your defeated enemies have a second go at you.
- Bottle Episode: Aside from any side trips you make to your Battle Tower, Flames Of Vengeance takes place entirely within the city of Aleroth. Justified since Zandalor is shielding the place from Damian's fleet. Except the final battle, which takes place in the skies above the city as you escort an airship to battle the Black Ring fleet. This is also the only time you can use your Dragon Form in the expansion.
- Cargo Ship: In-universe. There is a wishing well that flirts with you when you throw coins down it, and an enchanted treasure chest that sounds like it's orgasming when you solve the riddles to open its locks.
- Continuity Nod: A handful of characters also appeared in the first game, and they often mention something about their role in that game or about the main character of the first game.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's rare to find a conversation where the main character doesn't have the option of cracking a joke or two at an NPC's expense.
- Dead All Along: Talana. That voice in your head is actually that of Ygerna, Damian's lover, and pretty much everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. Or an act for whenever she snarks at something.
- Debug Room: Played with in that the whole point of the "Developer Mode" in the Developer's Cut is to make the usual features accessible right from the get-go.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At the end of the main game, you fight and kill the Divine, the first game's main character, who's pretty much become the world's Crystal Dragon Jesus (granted, it's just a living memory rather than the actual Divine himself). As it turns out, this does not improve the situation, contrary to the claims made by certain individuals who you really shouldn't have trusted.
- Disc One Final Boss: Laiken.
- Divide and Conquer: Damien is a clever evil overlord. The "great betrayal" by the Dragon Knights was the work of a single Knight under Damien's control, done both to get his revenge on the Divine and to make sure his enemies were busy killing each other while he rebuilt his armies.
- Escort Mission: The assault on Damian's fleet at the end of Flames Of Vengeance sees you in Dragon Form escorting an airship towards Ygerna's main tower, in hopes of blowing it up. If you don't keep ahead of it and take down the multitude of ballistas and other defensive structures before the ship gets there, it will get blasted out of the sky. Be sure to make a few extra saves as well, in case it loses too much health.
- Extreme Omnivore: Markthum, from the Dragon Terror Squad, is a human who is eager to eat you, and who previously crafted an artefact to keep nearby dragons in human form, which he ate for safekeeping.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Happened to both Lovis and a group of scholars under the same curse as him; they were trapped in the mortal realm, and their only freedom comes at the expense of the other party, who would then be trapped for eternity.
- The Divine was imprisoned in crystal after his death, fully aware. You also get this treatment after being tricked into reviving Ygerna, until Behrlihn frees you. Also, Commander Rhode is turned to stone by Bellegar after she gets into the vault where Behrlihn is imprisoned.
- Fetch Quest: Lampshaded by a potion brewer who says 'I'm sure an adventurer like you must have fetched all kinds of things in your day!' when asking you to go grab some of his potions.
- Genre Savvy: Zandalor blatantly discusses and lampshades the situation in his second appearance. He's doesn't realize how he's rather Wrong Genre Savvy about the game's deconstruction elements.
At least we know now what kind of a tale we would like this to be. Succeed and it shall be an epic, fail and it shall be a tragedy. You are The Hero
, Damian the villain
, and Lord Lovis told you who shall be the Deus ex Machina
. Ygerna we shall strive to resurrect, so that her life will be the Damned One's death
. There is poetry in that, don't you think? The stuff of legends.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Averted; when you read the mind of an ancient dragon god, you just get a bit of a headache and some extra skill points.
- Hermaphrodite: The illusionist in the battle tower is named Hermaphroditus and can change your gender (as well as switching between a male and female voice).
- He's Back: The Dragon Knight at the beginning of Flames of Vengeance.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Damian must have a reason for not just killing you in those handful of times he shows up to taunt you, right? He's trying to get you to continue on your quest to spite him because he wants the secret of how to reach the Hall of Echoes alive, and only a Dragon Knight can get to everything necessary. Plus Ygerna, who has been manipulating you all along in parallel. Both of their schemes came together quite well for them.
- Hurricane of Puns: You meet a talking painting in a gentleman's club in Aleroth. The conversation that ensues is filled with puns related to being a painting, from both parties involved.
- Inner Monologue: Most mindreads give you a glimpse at the character's thoughts, ranging from mundane farming to thinking about a special piece of loot they have stashed.
- Interspecies Romance: Taken to a frightening level with a Black Ring general who is fond of plants. In a letter, he says that while nymphs are nice, he wants to try something combining botany and necromantic grafts.
- Jerk Ass: Richard, the arrogant, stuck up Defender of Aleroth. Refreshingly, he dies, either by you when he tries to murder some Seekers so Rivertown will starve, or by Damian when he attacks Broken Valley.
- Knight Templar: While the Slayers appear to have a noble goal at first, it quickly becomes apparant that they are Ax-Crazy fanatics who hunt down and kill not only Dragons and Dragon Knights, but their families, friends, and anyone who criticizes them.
- Laser-Guided Karma: You meet someone in the first area of the game who wants money to help buy a house for you — which never materializes. When you meet him in Aleroth, a group of assassins are trying to take his house from him, and you can side with them.
- Lost Forever: Once you get your Battle Tower, Damian razes the Broken Valley, so it's kinda impossible to complete any quests there you missed.
- More annoyingly, the contents of any chest or container of any kind will lock in its contents if your crosshair moves over it (unless it's locked with a key you don't have). A helpful tip if you plan on save scumming for better loot.
- Mad Love: Damian/Ygerna, and Lord John/Lady Kara.
- Monochromatic Eyes / Prophet Eyes: A non-blind variant, where part of the change your character undergoes is gaining glowing bluish-white eyes.
- Multishot: The splitting arrow skill.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: So, you made your way through whole armies of opponents, to resurrect the love of the Big Bad, so that he would be killed because of a life-bond. Turns out that you really shouldn't have trusted these guys. Now you can spend the eternity encased in crystal, while Big Bad and his now-resurrected love go on to conquer the world. Nicely done *clap*. What's interesting about this is Big Bad Damian had absolutely nothing to do with this. It was all Ygerna, which the D man is pleasantly surprised to learn when she wakes up.
- The Divine, Lucian himself, was somewhat prone to this as well. The guy had way too much of a soft spot for his adopted son Damian, first refusing to kill him as an infant in Divine Divinity, and then despite fighting him later in life, he dumped him in Nemesis to keep him out of Rivellon instead of killing him outright. Needless to say, his inability to kill Damian has been criticized even by his companions.
- Nintendo Hard: The main game has a few brutally difficult parts, most notably directly after reaching the center of the first big zone. All enemies are a good chunk stronger than you, and you will have a hard time picking them off one by one.
- No Bisexuals: Averted; female NPCs will comment on the male or female player character's attractiveness, and the owner of a brothel in Aleroth flirts with the player character regardless of their gender.
- Obviously Evil: Behrlihn in Flames of Vengeance. It's not a matter of if he'll double cross you, it's when. If you don't side with Bellegar, "when" turns out to be the final battle.
- Older Than They Look: Damian is pushing the end of his first century but looks maybe 35. The Divine looks maybe 50 at the most, despite being probably 120 years old. It's debatable whether his prison in the Hall of Echoes has left him under a kind of conscious suspended animation, though.
- Orcus on His Throne: Very much averted by Damian, who doesn't even seem to have a throne. He often goes out of his way to chat with you and taunt you in person (before throwing a bunch of mooks at you after he leaves on a few occasions), and he's very prompt when showing up after the Dragon Knight hits certain points in their quest. He's even seen participating in the razing of Broken Valley, after you get your Battle Tower. And the moment he finds out that someone is trying to thwart his plans? Show up alone in person, kick the Dragon Knight around a few times while they're down, and tell him/her that while it's nothing personal, he will kill him/her if they continue on their quest. Sure, for some reason, neither he or the Dragon Knight attack each other for some reason despite often getting rather close and personal, but still.
- The Prankster: Bellegar
- Really 700 Years Old: There seem to be a lot of ways to extend one's life. Zandalor has been around for a long time, you can meet a blind sage who is in his eighth century, Dragon Knights seem to live rather a while, Laiken is soul-forged to an immortal demon, but he looks utterly ghastly from living so long, and Bellegar has been living so long he's gone completely around the bend and most people consider him a fairy tale.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Bellegar again.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The entire point of the Dragon Slayers. Also you in the aptly named Flames of Vengeance. Considering what happened to you in Ego Draconis, it's highly justified.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Played perfectly straight by the book with Zandalor, who gets starred robes, a big pointy hat, huge white beard, and spectacles. Other wizards have to make do with hooded robes.
- Running Gag: Maxos!
- Schmuck Bait: Siding with Behrlihn over Bellegar before the final battle of Flames Of Vengeance. Subverted in that it actually works out for you in the end as Behrlihn accompanies Ygerna during the assault, giving you the opportunity to slay both of them at once. Played straight in that it makes the final battle harder, as picking Bellegar will have you fighting Ygerna solo.
- Screw The Rules, I'm A Dragon: Some of the player's actions are justified simply because they are the Dragon Knight, and at one point, they get the option to say, essentially, 'Screw you, I'm a dragon.'
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: In the Flying Fortresses and elsewhere, you find shimmering barriers that force you to stay in human form and kill you if you fly through them as a dragon.
- Shout-Out: All over the place, from the titles of quests (clearing the ghosts out of a Dragon Elf's cellar is called Ghostbuster) to characters (the ghost of a man killed by a whale is named Jonah) to dialogue (Vae Victis pops up as a fake magic spell).
- Spanner in the Works: After spending literally the entirety of Ego Draconis as Damian and Ygerna's pawn, you manage to turn the tables on them in Flames of Vengeance.
- "Super Sentai" Stance: Parodied by the Dragon Terror Squad, a bunch of drunken rejects from the local army. When they attack you, you get to see a transformation sequence with dramatic posing backed by power metal.
- Don't spend too much time laughing at it, though, because no matter how big a bunch of losers they are in the cutscene, they can kick your ass once the cutscene ends.
- Synchronization: Soul-forging, introduced in Beyond Divinity, is an important plot element as Damian is bound to his dead lover Ygerna in a sort of inverted bond - normally one member of the bond dies if the other does, but he forged himself to her as she was already dying, so that if she was to come back to life then he would die. And so your major goal is to find a way to resurrect Ygerna. It... doesn't quite work out that simply.
- Soul-forging also comes up several other times over the course of the game, in side quests and boss fights. One starts to wonder how common that spell really is, and how those involved in the forging don't seem to need to consent to it.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the above mentioned Dragon Terror Squad fight, you can kill the one enemy who ate an anti-dragon device, which makes you able to transform — and it just so happens that the Dragon Terror Squad are the only ground units you can hurt in your dragon form.
- That's what everyone, including some of the developers apparently, seems to think, but there's actually one other enemy you can attack. Charlie, that otherwise relatively unimportant goblin you need to kill for Yggdrasil, is a good bit easier to deal with in dragon form. Helpful when you're seriously under leveled.
- The Unfought: Damian. He's not present at the final battle, and thus lives to fight another day.
- Time Abyss: The Patriarch, a true dragon that is unspeakably ancient and powerful. Its actual name is a spell of creation that would cause new life to spring up spontaneously if anyone was to speak it, implying he had some important role in - or was born out of - the creation of the world.
- Token Evil Team Mate: Your Necromancer choices. One is a sadist and openly admits being a member of the Black Ring (Damian's cult), or his fanatically loyal assistant. Also, Behrlihn in Flames Of Vengeance.
- Tragic Monster: Inverted. After finding out that you have become a Dragon Knight, your Dragon Slayer comrades turn on you, as they see you have become the sort of monster they have sworn to kill.
- Reading the lore makes it clear that Damian's life sucked before he ultimately snapped.
- Treacherous Advisor: Talana and Behrlihn. Subverted with the first in that it's actually Ygerna talking to you the whole time. Talana herself stays dead when she croaks.
- Unwitting Pawn: This seems to be a popular trend for this series.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing enough rabbits in Broken Valley. Best hope you saved recently.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Talana in Ego Draconis, Behrlihn in Flames Of Vengeance. Neither of them are your friend.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Once you kick out the necromancer squatting in your battle tower, you can turn into a dragon at will, whenever you have space.