PC Review: Drakensang: The Dark Eye

Should you give Drakensang a chance?

The story centres around Ferdok, an important trading city on the Great River. The feared female lancers of Ferdok and Ferdok’s famous beer have given the city a reputation throughout the continent and the humans here live in harmony with the dwarves. But despite the cheerful and peaceful atmosphere, the peace is now being shaken by a mysterious series of murders. Sinister figures are pursuing their dark schemes, while the fear among the population grows with every new murder. And while the adventurers are still pondering whether the crimes are connected to the proclamation made by the Church of Hesinde on the tenth anniversary of the Dragonquest, they themselves are dragged into the mysterious events by a very particular murder…
Intense tactical combat based on ‘The Dark Eye’ rule set

A huge, established fantasy universe to explore

Over 70 unique characters driving the story

Over 1000 pages of background story written by four ‘The Dark Eye’ authors

Drakensang is apparently a big hit in Germany, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good game…just that it’s popular in areas of Europe. It’s one of those games that appear to be made on a budget, yet it’s rich with detail…more than most games, yet it fails to capitalise on it.

The game has a good, albeit clichéd story. I didn’t really become engaged with it, perhaps due to minimal voice-work besides cutscenes. It almost feels like an MMO at times, just without 6 million people playing. It feels empty and shallow when compared to the likes of WoW, yet it still does a lot of things right such as quests and combat.

Drakensang does all you would expect of an RPG such as character development, side quests, controlling multiple characters and a dialogue tree system. Each are done well, although none of them are really innovative or different from their competitors, it would have been nice if they tried to take the genre to a new level…but instead it looks like they played it safe. It works, but it doesn’t scream out brilliance.
There’s a lot of detail to the actual story, which is a good thing. I just wish they spent more time on making the game look and sound good, maybe then the story might have had the impact that they were hoping for. Instead it’s a case of “meh”, it’s unfortunate but unavoidably true. The game craves to be an MMO and be played with others; instead it’s a purely solo adventure. Lone wolf gamers might be pleased with that, but it does lack the same level of fun as a pure solo game. I don’t get why they didn’t include any online modes. Even if it was just 2 player co-op, it still would have been a much better game overall. Despite, the German screenshots…the UK version does offer English text…so don’t worry about that!

The Verdict

Drakensang: The Dark Eye looks quite dated and doesn’t change the face of the RPG world. Having said that, it’s still a charming game that RPG nuts should find some enjoyment out of. Just don’t go expecting the next WoW or FF game and you’ll be fine.