Eurogamthinkowrote: Drakensang Review

After my first impressions post, Eurogamer totally paid me to write more words for them. I just can’t say no to their shiny gold pieces. Anyway, I take apart Drakensang for ’em by starting like so…

There’s an annoyance I have to deal with when playing Drakensang. The annoyance is that whenever I get down to a deep, involving tactical session of balancing my team’s abilities, wondering whether some on-the-fly-XP tweaking is required to beat back this oppressive wall of undead, my girlfriend sticks her head around the office door and asks me if I’m still playing Shrek.

And continuing ever-onwards. Yays.


  1. Ian says:

    Is that because you secretly were playing the Shrek game and you’ve just cobbled together a review for Drakensang to save face?

  2. danielcardigan says:

    I was playing the Eschalon demo last night and after a fight with some salamanders I was poisoned and dropping a point of health per turn. I checked my inventory actually expecting to find something to cope with the poison but all I had by this time was mana potions. Aha! Some reagents and empty bottles… and me with no alchemy skill. So I made a doomed dash towards civilization and eventually died not too much later. I was a bit non-plussed. I’ve gotten so used to being spoon-fed solutions in RPGs that knowing I was going to die with no way to prevent it was quite refreshing.

  3. Arnulf says:

    Herrlich! Köstlich! I have to buy this game (if not only for supporting a local developer.)

    I’m grateful that you translated Das Schwarze Auge as you did. And did not give it a black eye (german schwarz == black).

    I lol’ed.

  4. Theoban says:

    I’ve been umming and ahing over buying this for a while now.

    On one hand I want to play an RPG again. It’s been so long since I’ve played a ‘proper’ RPG

    On the other hand; do I have enough time to devote to a new, quite long game?

    Decisions decisions. Mind you it’s 50€ on the Steam store. That’s put me off a bit anyway.

  5. mandaya says:

    what never ceases to baffle me is how English native-speakers, or to be more precise, authors (journalists, writers …) get away with spelling the most basic foreign words wrong. case in point: this review, where Kieron manages to get the single German reference wrong (no offense! look to Arnulf’s comment above to see the correct spelling, though) now, don’t get me wrong: this is not meant as some high-brow grammar-nazi criticism, but rather amazement at the obvious lack of proof-reading as soon as it comes to foreign languages. and it doesn’t stop at journalism, I recall cringeing at, for instance, any foreign language poem the old drug-poet WS Burroughs included in his works. again: this is not meant as criticism of the authors, necessarily, but of the proof-readers and editors, who obviously have the belief that anything “foreign” is so far out of their or their readers’ responsibility that they can’t be bothered. and yes, I am allowed to make snarky comments like these because I work as an editor/proof-reader (for German and Englich) and I’d be terribly maimed and ridiculed for not checking foreign citations.

  6. Jeremy says:

    You don’t have a girlfriend, liar.

  7. pignoli says:

    @Mandaya – does that mean your last sentence is some sort of hilariously ironic joke?

  8. mandaya says:

    @pignoli: yeah, seems so. obviously some cosmic karmic law: bitching about grammar inevitably results in typos. and no edit-function. dang.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    When kg says girlfriend just read it as mum. That way when you read it from your mothers basement it wont offend you, virgin.

    I’m not saying that kg is being honest when he says girlfriend but i thought i should put that advice out there.

    On rpg’s which won’t treat you like a pussy i set my group to rest in baldurs gate while they were all poisoned. They woke after 6 hours rest and then all died syncronusly. Apart from my constitution 19 dwarf protagonist who while poisoned regenerated health constantly.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    Mandaya: I actually looked it up, then proceeded to copy it down wrong.


  11. MetalCircus says:

    Oh man, I played the demo of this and yes, not having your hand held in combat is really bewildering because i’ve been so used to that hand. I found myself wanting to get stuck into combat and levelling up but I was constantly trounced on my first ever fight. I never won that fight. Probably put me off, but I do also want to give it a try. Is it worth it I wonder?

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    MetalCircus: Which fight was it? Against the guards?


  13. Meat Circus says:


    What prize do you win for that, Kieron?

  14. Markoff Chaney says:

    Fight me for some free pointers! Yeesh. If it’s that one I have to say I never won that one either. I thought about leveling up just to come back and show them what for (one of my favorite things in any RPG), but I’d have to purchase the game for that, which I’m sure I will eventually: I just can’t resist the siren’s call of a deep RPG.

    At least the sexy lady wanted to go into a forest with me. That was pretty cool.

  15. Jeremy says:

    I always thought she was rather too buff to be attractive.

  16. Danarchist says:

    hows the combat? real time or turn based or the NWN mix of the two?
    (no capitalization to annoy the grammer police! WOOT! aint it funz?)

  17. MetalCircus says:

    KG: No it was a fight with some boars a little way out of the first town. Admitadly I did just run off, eager to get my hands dirty, so perhaps I should mess around in the towns first hmm?

  18. Jeremy says:

    Looks promising, I’ll have to pick this one up.

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    Danarchist: Like NWN.

    MetalCircus: The boars killed me too. You get a team-mate at the inn in town, which allows you to deal with a pair of boars. Though it’s touch and go for a while. You totally won’t be able to fight the bear with just those two though – I got a rogue and took a detour when I had an NPC character with me so I could go 4 on 1.


  20. Rei Onryou says:

    Is it wrong that I want to see an interview with KG’s girlfriend? The woman behind the man that sounds like a 5-year-old girl (on GFWL).

    Alternatively, a Wot I Think would suffice.

  21. Rei Onryou says:

    Ah, I remember that. No idea why I didn’t comment on it. That’s award winning journalism at its best, that is!

  22. Turin Turambar says:

    Now i want an interview with KG’s girlfriend about The Path.
    No, i am serious, perhaps the vision of that game from a female will be interesting.

  23. dhex says:

    this is the first positive thing i’ve heard about drakensang. among the reputable, i mean. time to snag that demo, i guess.

    “what never ceases to baffle me is how English native-speakers, or to be more precise, authors (journalists, writers …) get away with spelling the most basic foreign words wrong.”

    because their audiences don’t speak the language? if it makes you feel better, imagine how many idiots misuse the term “karma” in the west.

    also you called burroughs a drug-poet. stop killing kittens with your silliness!

  24. Heliocentric says:

    Eng-lich sounds awesome whats the prerequisite class? I was going to pass this by because of inflated prices but i’ll give the demo a poke.

  25. unclelou says:

    because their audiences don’t speak the language?

    Well, some people do.

    And mandaya has a point, I noticed that too. The British seem to be very careless when it comes to spelling in other languages. I hasten to add that I am not really bothered – just like mandaya said, it’s simply an observation.

    And it’s not just online, it’s the same in books, even from reputable publishers. I guess it’s less the quality of editing as such though but more the fact that most, say, German authors and journalists will speak English, so a mistake is less likely to happen in the first place.

  26. mandaya says:

    @unclelou: exactly what I was trying to say. it seems kind of silly of English authors to boast with foreign language bits (not addressed at KG here, obv.) when they – or their editors – don’t have any clue of the language. ahh, well, I guess the japanese cringe at western otaku-culture like this all the time.
    @dhex: since WSB is one of my alltime heroes, I used the word “drug-poet” in its most positive sense. (what else?) but sadly, as I wrote above, none of his many editors managed to look up his sporadic german citations, which are, let me tell you, a horribly ridiculous mess. what’s with the kittens, btw?

  27. Moonracer says:

    I recently picked this up after reading the last article here and have been enjoying it far more than I thought I would. The fact that I’ve been able to overlook its many technical limitations (like that you can’t enter most buildings, items can’t be dropped on the ground and picked up latter and the world is not as seamless and open as say a Bethesda game) says a lot for how well it does what it does.

  28. dhex says:

    “what’s with the kittens, btw?”

    they’re fragile! but i totally believe you. homeslice wasn’t very good with science, either. broad metaphors and whatnot but still.

    i usually skip those kinda passages unless its spanish, then i toco mucho discos. broadly speaking, the intended audience won’t know either way, because it’s not so much descriptive but flavorful. i love me some henry miller but i no speaka the frenchness, so there’s pages here and there that i just skip. i figure dude is writing from paris so french is the order of the day, like describing a waterfall or a smell or something.

    downloading demo now.

  29. Dave says:

    I thought the demo was just sort of dull, really.

    And I killed the bear with just the one NPC helping out, with no problems.

    danielcardigan: the same weekend I tried Drakensang, I also tried Eschalon. Gave up on it real quick because of the non-handholding. When I was young and penniless I broke my only weapon trying to bash down a locked door that I couldn’t pick. Some gamers might be amazed at the gritty realism and pathos or other malarkey, but I was like “the uninstaller is the path of least resistance.”

  30. mandaya says:

    @dhex: well well. thumbing through your conveniently linked blog, I conclude that we should be of the same mind about more things than WSB. funny how these tiny slices of subculture we both seem(ed) to tinhabit converge here on RPS, but I just can’t pass the chance to thank you for bringing both coil’s “Time machines” and the magnificent Download back into my mind. and as for Miller: Gods bless this madman, too.

  31. dhex says:

    i figure it’s a package deal. same reason i’m seeing throbbing gristle next week. can’t miss out on the weirdo beatles reunion!

  32. AbyssUK says:

    I played this for 2-3 hrs and just couldn’t get into it and to many little annoyances…

  33. Kludge says:

    Fair review. However, I’m really tiring of reviewers referring to this game as, essentially, decent “filler” until Dragon Age or x big-name PCRPG comes out, or worth looking at only because of the relative dearth of PCRPGs around at this time.

    Personally, I think this game stands above anything Bioware has done in the last 8 years or so, in terms of offering a deep character development and combat system (though maybe not so much in terms of story). But then I’m a sucker for any game that lets you play in a true turn-based mode, something Bioware has never offered.

  34. clive dunn says:

    Although it feels akin to wanking too much, i am really liking this game. If i’m going to grind i like to grind IN PRIVATE. Not in some MMO public wank-fest.
    If you love micro-managing inventory bags (what is it that makes it SOOOO compelling?) then you’ll love this game.
    *just in case anyone thinks i am being sarcastic, i’m not. I really love this game. Touches the spot nicely