Forbidden: Drakensang: River Of Time

Pretty!
Germanic RPG Drakensang – which we last spoke about just here – has a prequel, River Of Time, but it’s not available in the UK, so I can’t (easily) play it. That makes me sad. Why would I want to play it? Well, because plenty of people are beginning to point out that it’s a pretty, full-blown, and mechanistically interesting RPG that has released at just $20. Sure, it might sit well into the hard betrodden realm of fantasy RPG standards, but I fear no dwarf-quest – why wouldn’t I want to take a look?

So anyway, I suppose I will throw this one out to the comments? Is River Of Time any good, Internet? I believe Americans and Europeans can get it on Steam? Is anyone playing it?

92 Comments

  1. doktorfisch says:

    “Not available in my region” says Steam, and I am in Germany.. Wth?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Yeah, they don’t sell the original versions on Steam. I assume this is due to different publishers? The US version only has English. And does the English version include the “Phileassons Geheimnis” add-on? It’s not clear.

      I was somewhat disappointed by the first Drakensang game, so I never bought “Am Fluss der Zeit”. It seems to have been well-received by the German press though, so it’s probably worth a try.

    • omicron1 says:

      What about Gamer’s Gate?

    • Petrushka says:

      German version available on Amazon.de. Obviously preferable if you know German: there doesn’t seem to be any edition that includes both German and English versions, alas.

    • Nikolaj says:

      It’s not available in Denmark, eiither.

    • dadioflex says:

      Get John Walker on this! It’s another scandal.

      Anyone phoned or emailed the devs and asked them why?

      Edit: Right, they have an English language website and members of their staff who comment but no official word on the restricted sales, beyond speculation that it’s because they couldn’t find retail publishers in those territories and consequently have no download agreement.

  2. jconnop says:

    Not available in New Zealand (or Australia) either. :\

    • mejobloggs says:

      Whyyyyyyy

      I’m in NZ and want to get it. Heard it’s great from a lot of people

    • Petrushka says:

      Also in NZ.
      Steam says: “Oops, sorry! This item is currently is currently unavailable in your region”.
      GamersGate says: “This product is not available for purchase from your location.”
      Impulse says: “Territory: North America (US and Canada)”.
      Direct2Drive says: “This product is only available for purchase in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.”

      No options for us I guess, unless you buy the German version from Amazon.de.

    • Mattressi says:

      Wow, I didn’t realise we had the entire Kiwi population on here.

      :D

    • niffk says:

      NZ as well, unavailable :/

      oh well, back to x-com.

    • Zarx says:

      Also NZ, also wanted to check out the game, also couldn’t.

      X-Com rules can’t wait for Xenonauts

  3. Astalano says:

    This item is currently unavailable in your region

    -Living in Cyprus here.

  4. D3xter says:

    I didn’t play the 2nd yet… I don’t know exactly why but I’m definitely going to do it.
    The first was a pretty good game overall akin to the older Bioware games, there is no choice to be “Evil” and there is no “fancy voiceacting” but it had nice graphics and had a good story/areas.

    If you are disappointed by Dragon Age 2 and want a true CRPG, get this one or Risen.

    • noodlecake says:

      You mean “if you want something bland and generic instead of the fantastic Dragon Age 2 get this or Risen.” :)

    • Vinraith says:

      @D3xter

      I recall being told that Risen was unfinished, was that ever corrected in patching or is it still half a brilliant game?

    • Wizardry says:

      @noodlecake: What the fuck am I reading?!

    • Kaira- says:

      Risen is what Gothic 4 should have been, which is good, not extraordinary, but good.
      Divinity 1 is a nice game, and if you’re thinking about getting Divinity 2, get the Dragon Knight Saga.

      @noodlecake
      I assume you are trying to troll me into thinking that you are a troll while you are just pretending to be a troll so that I would become trolled.

      Edit.// my mind merged to message replies, sorry for that.

    • jaheira says:

      @ Vinraith

      Risen is a good RPG. Not unfinished. A solid 8/10.
      I completed it as a fighty character and will prolly go back to it as a magicky one at some point in the future.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jaheira

      I recall reading (I’d thought fairly recently) that it became a very different game in its latter half (or final third?) and that most of the things that were good about it disappeared at that point. Perhaps that’s been fixed, or perhaps you never found it to be so? It had certainly sounded intriguing, but the complaints about that latter portion had thus far scared me off.

    • allanschnorr says:

      @Vinraith I finished Risen a few months ago and it hasn’t changed, the second half of the game is not as good as the first but is not bad at all. The game does become kind of a dungeon crawler in its second half, but there are still a few enjoyable quests in open areas and if your character is powerful enough (at least if he is a mage as many was) the combat will be over fast and this later half won’t drag much.

    • D3xter says:

      @Vinraith: I actually did a “Review” of Risen if you care to read it. Just my opinion of the game from back when I played it: link to escapistmagazine.com

      If you liked Gothic 1/2 you’d probably like Risen too though. If you didn’t or are easily frustrated by “not self-explainatory”/everything being handed on a platter gameplay mechanics you might hate it.

    • Vinraith says:

      Thanks folks. I’m embarrassed to say I still need to play Gothic 2, but both it and Risen sound very much like my kind of game. I’ll be sure to give it a look.

  5. Astalano says:

    Speaking of Drakensang, how is Divinity? Which one is the best to get?

    • Mr_Hands says:

      If you’re looking for a 3D RPG-’em-up, Divinity II – The Dragon Knight Saga has the original, malformed (and then updated and “fixed”) Ego Draconis, plus a full expansion pack. It, too, is a pretty RPG with an interesting mindreading mechanic. I also got Divine Divinity from GOG, which is a neat little action RPG a la Diablo, but, y’know, slower moving, if I recall correctly.

    • Caiman says:

      Divinity 2, at least the improved and fixed Dragon Knight Saga, is excellent. I’ve put nearly 100 hours into it since Christmas (according to Steam) and nearing the end of the expansion now, and I’ve enjoyed nearly every one of them. It’s witty and devious, looks great for the most part, has an enjoyable combat system and plenty of gameplay depth. It’s widely regarded as having a better first half, and a slightly less better second half, and while that’s true to a degree it’s because the second half changes tack quite a bit. It still has that European quirkiness about it which I love, and I must admit it has its clunky moments, but the overall experience is excellent. I like it even more than RoT.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, n’thing the recommendation for Divinity 2. The original version, Ego Draconis (2009) was rushed out because money was thin. The developers admitted as much. Rather than just move onto another project, they went back to the drawing board and fixed the game. The Dragon Knight Saga re-release went and turned it from a curious oddity into one of my favourite games of 2010.

      It also doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as 95% of RPGs. It lapses into full-on Monty Python sillyness in places.

    • RyuRanX says:

      I loved The River of Time. The game was a considerable improvement over The Dark Eye. It’s more of a Baldur’s Gate cRPG than Dragon Age: Origins and of course, Dragon “Effect” 2.

      About the other game, I think Divinity II was very disappointing compared to Divine Divinity, one of my favorite action-RPGs ever.

    • Oozo says:

      “I loved The River of Time. The game was a considerable improvement over The Dark Eye.”
      You realized that this is like saying “I loved Baldur’s Gate. The game was a considerable improvement over Dungeons&Dragons.”, right?
      Which game (based on the “The Dark Eye”-game system) did you have in mind? Just wondering, cuz if you’re saying that it’s the Realms of Arkania-trilogy, I won’t believe you. NO, I WON’T! Get away, liars!

    • d32 says:

      I’m playing the first one (Divine Divinity) currently, as it was cheapened on GOG recently and must say, I’m entertained.
      Graphics inspired by Infinity engine games, persistent maps, free to roam world (not as in all-enemies-everywhere-are-the-same-level-as-you,so-you’re-free-to-roam bethesda way), wide options in character development; action, but pause-able combat.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I think the first Drakensang game was subtitled ‘The Dark Eye’

  6. suibhne says:

    The first one was quite shallow, narratively and mechanically, but I found it rather more endearing than I expected. I played it with moderate interest up to the point where a game-breaking crash decided to plague my progress – a crash which has deviled other users as well, but hasn’t been fixed by patches. When I asked for help on user forums, I received the response, “That’s what you get for pirating the game!”

    Um, yes. Except that I didn’t. Oh well.

    If the prequel improves things, I’d be game for giving it a shot.

    • d32 says:

      Dare I say: First one was definitely NOT shallow mechanically at all, as it was using The Dark Eye ruleset.

  7. razgon says:

    Drakensang is a great great rpg – one of the last of the true party-driven roleplaying games with heavy stats driving the characters you control. This may turn off a lot of people, but given the interest it has gained and great word-of-mouth on various game forums, I’d say perhaps Bioware is wrong to aerodynamisice its games (yeah, I went there).

    The whole game has a definite Darklands feel, but whether thats just because my memory is going fuzzy on me, or the games both being made by germans, I have no idea.

    Basically, its not your normal “I am the lost son/prince/hero, but rather you get caught up in events happening to others, and just have to stay afloat and help your friends, to whom all this is happening.

    I love every minute of it – if you like stat driven characters, beautiful scenery, and a slower pace than many more actiony rpgs today, this will be right up your alley, so to speak

    • RaytraceRat says:

      I will second that. I played the first one, got a chance to look through the begining of river of time, and its really good. A bit on the bright side, but if you’re fed up with another dark action rpg and want a nice heroic story with orginal system (not another D&D) its a way to go.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I don’t think Arnold Hendrick is actually German, despite the name. Darklands is as American as it gets for an RPG.

    • Wizardry says:

      @razgon: I sort of see were you are coming from with the Darklands comparison, even though Darklands is a US CRPG. But it’s not really enough like Darklands to really justify the comparisons. It’s more like Baldur’s Gate mixed with Realms of Arkania. And even then it’s not very much like Realms of Arkania despite using the same rule system because of the differences in edition.

      It’s probably easier to say that it’s like the Baldur’s Gate games while being different and leaving it as that.

  8. Vinraith says:

    Americans can get it on Steam, Gamersgate, Impulse, DIrect2Drive, and all the other usual suspects. Why is RPS so intent on only giving free advertising to the DD outlet that least needs it?

    Anyway, I’ve not played it yet, but this one is already on my “to buy” list when I can actually find some time to play it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Because RPS lazily relies on Google results for quick links. (And that’s “free advertising” to a dead link, from where I am sitting.)

    • dancingcrab says:

      Because it’s the one most people use?

      I’ve the first one, but still not played it. I have $20 voucher for D2D, thinking I might wanna pick this up. Excitingly, I hear it has no DRM!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Jim

      It’s more the trend than this particular instance. I’ll readily believe it’s unintentional and simply, as you say, a product of it being the top result on google or what have you, but you guys do have a sizable audience at this point. That translates to considerable power in directing interested parties to a sales page, it’d be cool if you were a bit more even-handed about doling that out. It’s your site and your decision though, of course.

      Regardless, I hope you’re able to locate a copy of River of Time, I’d like to read your thoughts on it.

      @dancingcrab

      Because it’s the one most people use?

      A little circular, isn’t it?

    • Jeremy says:

      It’s not that circular. RPS isn’t the secret driving force behind Steam, or is Gabe Newell just a figurehead and pawn to the true dominance of RPS’ global initiative? I would guess most people here really do just use Steam, and it’s convenient, and people here are savvy enough to check all of those sites on their own without RPS having to type in link codes for all 12 DD sites just so someone doesn’t get offended. I mostly use Steam, and have a few smatterings of Direct2Drive, Impulse and GamersGate offerings.

    • Vinraith says:

      “It’s not that circular. ”

      Sure it is. Obviously it wouldn’t be if only RPS did it, but the general trend is to link to Steam because everyone buys their games from Steam. There’s a very real degree to which that assumption, in turn, drives Steam business. It’s obviously not the ONLY thing driving Steam business, but being the commonly accepted default PC game vendor is one hell of a marketing advantage.

    • Caiman says:

      Having used all the major download portals, I’d say that advantage was well-deserved frankly. But yeah, RPS should use “the usual download portals” or something rather than naming each one individually or favoring one over the other. Unless it’s a specifically Steam / DD / Impulse / GG etc thing, in which case they deserve the attention for doing whatever newsworthy thing they’re doing.

      What’s more newsworthy with RoT is that it was only picked up for US distribution, which is a real shame (oh no, don’t start) given how good it is.

  9. Mana_Garmr says:

    Does Gamersgate.com not work for UK people? I’m not interested in buying it myself right now but it lets me get to the credit-card input screen at least without saying anything about regions.

    • Vinraith says:

      Usually if a Gamersgate game is region restricted for you it won’t even show you the store page, let alone let you get to check-out with the game in question.

  10. Alphabet says:

    I found the first one, in the middle of some random combat, had actually got its story-hook into me, and that I actually cared about who I was helping and whether we’d get through the weird monastery or whatever we were in. Never played the second but i”m all for giving this one a go, if my non-graphics-card laptop (which handles e.g. King’s Bounty and Guild Wars just great) can manage to run it.
    Edit! Reply fail, was supposed to be a reply to Razgon above.

  11. pyricha says:

    I’d have to give blessing with you on this. Which is not something I typically do! I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!
    รถยนต์มือสอง รถมือสอง รถมือ2

  12. protobob says:

    I’ve played most of River of Time and I really liked it. It’s pretty much high-quality in every respect, from graphics, characters, story-line and voice-overs. I played as a thief and spent much of the early game pick-pocketing people, selling their card decks, lucky stones and flasks for cash while training in the thieves guilds. Later on you hook up with some characters from the first game and investigate pirates and political intrigue. For the most part the combat encounters are well thought out and interesting, though there is one dungeon that’s an exception to this.

    It gets an A+ from me.

  13. Archonsod says:

    Been waiting for this to be available in the UK for months. Still no go :(

  14. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    The Dark Eye is the worst RPG system in the world, and you can only enjoy it if you are wearing a beard. I am serious and this is the truth.

    • damien says:

      my beard now makes sense!

      thank you!

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Crap, I was going to shave tomorrow. Better hold off.

      I’m a weirdo who likes to read RPG books, but hasn’t actually played a P&P RPG since he was 12. So it’s game design porn.

      I couldn’t possibly comment on how DSA4 actually plays, but I love the advantages and disadvantages that you can pick during character creation. It’s a great way to customize a character from the very start and really give them some personality. You saw this a little in the old Realms of Arkania computer games, where you had to roll values for superstition, acrophobia, violent temper, etc.

    • Nick says:

      Sounds like I’m qualified.. looking into the original one now.

    • ulix says:

      Good that I actually wear a beard. Must be the reason why I like the P&P system just fine (apart from its ridiculous complexity). Strangely I already liked it when I didn’t have a beard…

    • Hammurabi says:

      Though there is little in the way of hard data to support your claims, anecdotal evidence does back it up. I have noted that, for myself at least, my appreciation of complex and obtuse rulesets wanes according to the length of my beard. As it is right now I very much like 3rd ed. DnD, but as it was this morning (before I grabbed the shears and did some trimmin’) I was very fond of Rifts (the PnP game, not the MMORPGXYVHTWHATEVER) and its glorious two hour long character creation adventure.

    • ulix says:

      Then you should love the Dark Eye P&P character creation (only in the 4th edition though), because it takes more like 3-4 hours, depending if your character knows magic and/or can perform wonders.

      1. Choose from two dozen races
      2. Choose from six dozen cultures
      3. choose from hundreds of professions and sub-professions
      4. Distribute creation points to raise attributes
      5. give him advantages and/or disadvantages (additional to the ones he might already have from his race/culture/profession choice) to balance out your creation points (from a list of about one hundred)
      6. Calculate initial talent-values from race/culture/profession-combination
      6.1. calculate additional “initial experience points”
      6.2. Distribute these points on talents & spells (refer to spreadsheet for costs)
      6.3. Maybe learn additional talents & spells with these points
      7. Buy special abilities (additionally to the special abilities you already know) from leftover points (some may be cheaper/more expensive than normal due to race/culture/profession-combination and/ or adventages/disadvantages)

    • Hammurabi says:

      That sounds so reasonable and straightforward — streamlined even. Why I daresay that it could surpass my beloved/besotted/bewildering Rifts in simplicity and accessibility.
      Except that you obviously can’t be a psychic mutant cyborg ninja from space while fighting demons, dragons, wizards and robot nazis. But you can’t have everything.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Ulix: You are mostly right (apart from point a, there are not that many races in TDE, mostly humans with different cultures, some dwarves, elves, the rest of the races is usually too hard to implement into a campaign), The Dark Eye characters are a torment to generate.

      @Malawi: I need to object. TDE / DSA is really really popular (at least in Germany, can’t speak for the English implementation) with one of the most sophisticated background settings out there. True, the rules tend to be messy and unnecessarily bloated, but that doesn’t make it a bad game per se. Although you would think that with a fifth edition coming up, things should be a bit more streamlined now. I guess this is at the same time what makes a lot of people enjoy it. It’s number crunching par excellence.

  15. catmorbid says:

    There isn’t really much point to make a small-budget/indie game in a localized version first. The biggest emphasis should be in a globalized version, i.e. an english version, meaning you could reach much bigger audience. Though I understand certain countries’ obsession with dubbing and shit, but I still doubt it makes any difference: larger audience is always larger audience, and chance from inbread local fucked-up’ness to global ideals is miles better. The problem is with attitudes – both developers’ and consumers’.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      As far as I heard, the developers had a very special target audience in mind when they started making the first game and were anxious to let it misfire with a international release. But I agree with you, whatever reasons they had, after the success of Drakensang they should have known better…

  16. Cosmo Dium says:

    This game is a really good RPG in the early-Bioware style. It refines the experience of the first Drakensang on practically every level. If you want a healthy contrast to the DA2 flow, this is it right here.

  17. ElElegante says:

    I liked the first Drakensang, although I didn’t finish it despite starting it twice, each time pumping some 40+ hours into it; at some some point, it just seemed to drag and became tedious. River of Time, however, pleasantly surprised me and was one of my favorite games of 2010. It doesn’t offer a world-shattering plotline or a grimdark setting, but it features a lot of unique and quirky characters that I couldn’t help but care deeply about. The same goes for the setting; its central hub isn’t a bustling metropolis but a somewhat sleepy mid-sized town that by the end of the game, you will have gotten to know really well without feeling that it overstayed its welcome. There’s very little padding, each quest feels like it is important in its own right. Be aware that it is rather stat-heavy, like its predecessor, although I consider that an advantage, personally.

  18. damien says:

    unasked-for but offered regardless nutshell: its story was… there. but much in line with the first one, and the dark eye PnP games before it, the wealth of character development options, skill tweaks, spreadsheet scouring and world lore were quite refreshing.
    the world, wonderfully fleshed out and highlighted by glimpses and observed moments was lovely.
    don’t expect to thrill, cry or fall in love as the unnamed hero of the game, but do expect hour upon hour of fiddly, classic cRPG fun.

  19. Mr_Hands says:

    I have the River of Time. I pre-ordered it on Impluse, actually.

    I haven’t spent stupendous amounts of time with it but:

    Animations are crazy. Voice acting is doubly crazy and the translations can get a little weird. I had a dude jovially wave at me just as he was telling me (in an awful Scottish accent) that he was going to show me what my insides looked like.

    When not in conversation, I found the game to be very pretty, though. The approach to classes and races is quite worthy of note, with stuff like “Dwarven Prospector” an option. Again. I haven’t gotten very far into the game at all, what with all this Dragon Aging, but I fully look forward to the rainy afternoon where I get myself lost in Drakensang.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      “I had a dude jovially wave at me just as he was telling me (in an awful Scottish accent) that he was going to show me what my insides looked like.”

      To be fair, we scots do like to do that…

    • Web Cole says:

      “in an awful Scottish accent”

      Maybe he was from Edinburgh?

  20. Caiman says:

    I managed to obtain this by devious gifting, but I can confirm that it’s surprisingly excellent after several hours of play. I haven’t played the first game, and was advised that this didn’t matter as RoT is a sequel. So far I’m enjoying it considerably more than the disappointing Dragon Age 2. I’d go so far as to say RoT is the best RPG I’ve played so far in 2011. [edit: hold on, played in 2011… that would be Divinity 2, but regardless it’s very good]

    However, if you fear a bit of gameplay in your RPGs, then you should probably stick with Dragon Age 2. RoT is a more demanding game, quite old school in that respect, but it’s brilliantly executed. A real shame that it’s only officially available in the US due to the publisher picking up the remains, and an even bigger shame that the developer went belly up shortly after its release due – so says general opinion – to a complete failure by its publisher to to handle the game properly.
    So if you like RPG games, emphasis on games, then I’d highly recommend you find someone in the US who can gift this to you.

  21. Javier-de-Ass says:

    just proxy buy it from gamersgate

  22. Zanchito says:

    I like Drakensang a lot, it’s REALLY old school (as in EGA graphics times), just with fancier graphics.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Ditto, it’s definitely a superb old school heavily pen/paper based game that is very rewarding once you get a grip on how the feats and stats work.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      If you like Drakensang, you might want to check out Realms of Arkania on GOG. It uses the same system, just immensely more complex. Your adventurers can get diseases by not wrapping up warm.

  23. GreatUncleBaal says:

    Blimey this is a bit of a coincidence – I was actually looking for this earlier today to see if it was released in the UK yet.
    I really liked the first one even though it was old-school generic fantasy – I think Kieron said something like it being an RPG run by your best mate as GM in his review, and meant it as a compliment (and I agree). It had a certain warmth and charm to it that I kept coming back to.
    I also enjoyed learning the (to me) unfamiliar Dark Eye game mechanics as well, as I don’t get on with AD&D style systems in games for some reason – part of this was that rather than knowing exactly what stats and disciplines to buff to build a certain character, I was back to making a careful choice at each level-up about how my allocation of points would actually change my character.
    I will certainly pick this up on UK release, anyway.

  24. Hammurabi says:

    I have played the first one, and am currently clubbing my way through the second. (I have a very large club stolen from an ogre).

    There are things I like about the gameplay very much. In particular I like that the defense bonus is calculations depends on several (often dynamic) factors, including how many enemies are attacking. Even a powerful character (or enemy) can be dropped if they are surrounded by many lesser enemies. So managing who is fighting what is critically important.

    I also like the way the plot draws your character in, and how you become an integral part of the group by virtue of being an outsider.

    Graphically it is not the most advanced, shiniest and beauteous game to ever game, but it is scenic and quite pleasant to look at.

    There are some nice little touches here and there throughout the game world. One thing that’s good to see are the little topical conversations that the other characters have without you. Sometimes useful information can be gained by reading those, or sometimes its characterizations that make the characters a little more alive.

    There are quite a few classes to choose from as well. I went heavy magic user last game, so I am going full fighter type (tribal warrior) this time. Both are fun. I haven’t tried a sneaky-stabby type yet, but I never do because I don’t like being sneaky (stabby is fine).

    I’ve read that the end game is less grindy than was the first, and that pretty much solves the one real complaint I ever had about the Dark Eye.

    All in all, if you liked Baldur’s Gate I and II (Baldur’s Gates? The Gates Baldur?) and/or Icewind Dale(s) then you will at least like D:RoT. Probably a lot.

    If you think that Dragon Age(s) is/are the epitome of roles and the playing thereof, then — well, there’s honestly no hope for you. Disclaimer: I liked parts of DA, I also strongly disliked parts of DA. I am not seriously attacking the game, but it is a fairly different sort of thing than Drakensang.

    • ulix says:

      That wasn’t meant as a reply… ahh well…
      On a related note:
      Deadalic (developers of the Whispered World, Edna Breaks Out and most recently A New Beginning) are making an Adventure game set in the Dark Eye universe which is absolutely fantastic and I’m very much looking forward to it.
      Its called Satinavs Ketten (Satinav’s Chains).
      The other Dark Eye RPG, Demonicon, isn’t dead either. After its developer went bankrupt the remains of the game were bought by Kalypso, and they’re now continuing with development. From the looks of it this will be very Diablo-esque, you control one hero and the fighting and magic are completely over-the-top (somewhat trampling the very down-to-earth lore).

  25. Meathead says:

    Going to compare it to Dragon Age 2, because they play and look surprisingly similar: You talk to people, do quests and get a party of four people. Doing fancy moves with your weapon or bow makes your yellow stamina bar grow smaller, and casting spells makes your blue mana bar grow smaller. River of Time has full voice acting except for the player. Not the best quality, but not laughable engrish translations either.

    That being said, Drakensang: RoT is more of an old school cRPG. If you remember the old Realms of Arkania cRPGs from the 1990s… Drakensang is built off the same pen and paper system. This leaves you with a complex skills system, that the game does a fair job of implementing. You can assign points however you please to stats, skills or spells, so your magic user can put a bunch of points into conversation skills or picking locks and disabling traps if you feel like it. Special moves and spells you purchase/unlock from trainers before you can use them in combat.

    Drakensang is all dice rolls in the background, as its based off a real system like BG2, and not the DA series. If you pick a lock, or try to pass, say, an Fast Talk skill check in a conversation, there’s some dice rolling somewhere. This stuff sadly missing from most RPGs these days.

    Combat is great in both games on higher difficulty. You really have to mix and match your character skills and tactics, and pause a lot to avoid messy dying.

    I’d say the graphics are on par with DA2. DA2 is better technically, but I like the Drakensang art better, and they dont reuse one cave and one warehouse for half the maps in the damn game like DA2 does. Combat animations are better in DA2, but they aren’t terrible in Drakensang by any stretch.

    Played River of Time for 34 hours so far, and I think I’m getting close to the end. Been a fun, if generic, fantasy plot. DA2 took me 46 hours for my playthrough, which I’ve finished now. I found the main plot(s) in that game lacking in depth.

    Would reccommend both games equally, but one game cost me $20, and one cost me $60, so there is that to think about :)

  26. Warren says:

    It makes me sad that the rest of the world cannot participate in the old school goodliness that is Drakensang:River of Time. It *is* that good.

  27. Alistair says:

    I’ve enthused about this elsewhere… so lazy repost incoming:

    Finished this! It stays good all the way through – really strongly recommended to anyone who fancies party-based RPGs at all. Ever wonder what RPG characters do when they’re not saving the world? Well here it is – they sort out plots involving pirates on a stretch of river, and sometimes choose to take on tough mythical beasts in dark & ancient places.

    Pros:
    Atmosphere
    – They really nail a summer evening in an imaginary European city. If you’re the kind of person who would stroll through Lyon or somewhere to take your pastis down by the river, that look and feel is here.
    Structure
    – being free to sail up and down the river, pursuing any area you choose, and acquiring the ability and understanding to do that, works very well. Quests pop up in areas you’ve already been to, some short, some multi-stage.
    – class-dependent intro (and the odd later bit I think)
    – optional sections. You can just leave those mysteries unsolved… if you want to.
    Rule system
    – A lotta numbers, most of which you can ignore if you choose, but it seems to make sense and is internally consistent. At low levels you’ll be failing at picking herbs and applying bandages but you’ll soon work out why. Having ‘wounds’ as well as health adds a dimension to combat, as do the different healing options which eat up different amounts of time, as do the separate dodge, parry, block moves etc etc.
    Engine
    – In depicting the world, and the party moving through it, it’s a notch above Dragon Age. It quite often looks lovely and areas are pretty large. It doesn’t do the giant infernos of DA though. Magic’s a bit lower key.
    – NPC chatter… In addition to coversations you have (which are voiced, more or less ok) both your party and NPCs make comments depending on who they are and what has happened in the plot. These background comments appear as text over the character’s head which is a nice touch. Some of it is generic NPC talk, but surprisingly little.

    Cons:
    Er, none :)

    Other issues: – Maybe the familar setting of fairytale Europe is not what some want.
    – The writing is fine, but won’t win prizes – and it’s a romp, not an agony of self-discovery.
    – I’ve seen quite a few people complain about the English voice-work, which is a bit pantomimey.
    – Tactical options weren’t always very wide-ranging. I think I got one potential party member killed so I only ever left one character on the boat – once I’d chosen who, combat was mainly about firing off special attacks once they’d charged up, focussing people on a single target and balancing healing and attacking for my mage. I.e. it makes more difference how far you’ve skilled & equipped up by that point than it does which ability you fire off. Some battles are nicely set up to mix things up, with many traps, or situations needing ranged weapons – even more of those would have been good. Personally I found one special melee attack was much like another :) One option I did like is that unless there’s a physical barrier (as engineered in various boss fights) your party can just turn tail and leg it. They take quite a few unparriable blows from behind, but if you choose the moment of retreat wisely you can hang on until the enemy fall back and live to fight another day.
    – There are a number of puzzles (make the symbols match, while changing the first one also changes the fourth one etc) which can actually be quite tough. I consulted a walkthrough at least once (and only learned about another little map area while doing so.)

    I’d rate the first Drakensang at around seven or seven and a bit out of ten, and this as more like a nine.
    So, go buy it :) $19.99 in the US from Gamersgate or Amazon. Dunno about the rest of you… I’ve looked into spoof proxies for other region-locked weirdnesses, and that worked for me.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      “I’d rate the first Drakensang at around seven or seven and a bit out of ten, and this as more like a nine.”

      That’s interesting. I’d rate the first as a highish seven. You don’t actually say what the improvements are though. Why the leap in the mark?

      KG

    • Alistair says:

      Structure & pacing work much better – the range of places you go back and forth between, the layers of things to do there, the tighter design of these areas (and their fast travel points) come together over the course of the game in a well crafted way which the original didn’t quite achieve.

      Seriously, there are only two options for party-based RPGs around, and this one’s been bizarrely underpriced. The low price makes it look like a C-list effort, but I’d rate it a little above the first DA for my personal preferences. I haven’t played DA2.

  28. Beardface says:

    It’s always cute when Brits try to claim they’re not Europeans.

  29. bhlaab says:

    the camera is still awful

  30. Red_Avatar says:

    Please stop promoting Steam so much or at least look on Gamersgate as well now and then – Steam has far more regional sales and you’re not promoting a game properly if half the people get a dead link!! Plus Gamersgate is better than Steam anyway.

  31. Nevarion says:

    I’ve been playing DSA for years in it’s p&p incarnation and always enjoyed our sessions. So I would claim some bias on my side. Still it is all what a good ol’ CRPG should be.

    A big plus is the campaign as you’re just an adventurer who will not rise to be the new superhero plus the overland travel by ship.

    Browser / Social games maker Bigpoint acquired Radon Labs after they went bankrupt (link to gamesindustry.biz).
    Maybe this is a or even the reason the distribution channels are somewhat limited?

    Either way I can fully recommend this piece of art!

  32. Subject 706 says:

    Played the first one, liked it, and have been looking forward to the second installment. Unfortunately, it is not available in my region (Sweden). The releases of the Drakensang games have to be one of the larger publisher-release-fuckups ever.

    The first one is released locally in Germany, sells well, the later international version, despite almost no PR, sells reasonably well also. Now for the second installment, the german version sells well, the international version takes AGES to be finished and is STILL not available in most countries of Europe.

    Developer folds. Publisher seems like complete morons who don’t give a shit, and hate money. Sad thing, because I really wanted these developers to continue on making games, considering the promise they showed.

    Oh well, the minute they release it on Steam in my region I’ll buy it…

  33. Droniac says:

    Drakensang: River of Time is available in The Netherlands. Many Dutch shops seem to have the game in stock. I actually just ordered a copy, because I had forgotten about the game until this post came along.

    Strangely Steam claims it’s not available in this region. I guess it’s one of their relatively rare region-locked games, like Singularity initially was. It’s sad to see region locking persist nowadays, but at least it’s no Impulse with half the catalog restricted to US only when every other digital download service has the exact same games available worldwide. All other digital distribution services don’t appear to list the game at all, including GamersGate.

  34. Teddy Leach says:

    That’s very odd… I’m living in England and currently have a copy. I’m confused now.

  35. BobsLawnService says:

    It’s available in South Africa via take2.co.za if any saffers are about and thanks to this thread I’ve ordered it. Judging by what you kind folks have said this is going to be just what the doctor ordered.

  36. MrMud says:

    Why is this not avaliable in Sweden? :/

  37. Shiner says:

    Just used this:
    link to hotspotshield.com
    to buy Drakensang: RoT from GamersGate about 20 mins ago (I’m in the UK):
    link to gamersgate.com