Drakensang: The Dark Eye
Fans Of Old-Fashioned statheavy high-fantasy RPGs might enjoy this. Because that's what The Dark Eye is, thinly veiled behind a graphics engine that makes everything look as if you've just emerged from heavily chlorinated water.
If you enjoyed the quirkiness of having your actions thwarted repeatedly by arbitrary dice rolls then prepare to fog up with tears of nostalgia. Also true to the older traditions of the RPG, The Dark Eye is free of most modern trends of tactical third-person combat, so killing things simply involves clicking them.
Unfortunately, any similarity to the likes of Baldur's Gate is limited to quirky gameplay mechanics and not to the quality of the writing or game design. While there's a great selection of classes on offer, the option to customise stats utilises a bewildering splurge of numbers and buttons that even veteran penciland-paper RPGers will find obtuse.
The game's setting is akin to the bastard love-child of Tolkien and Kevin Sorbo, filled as it is with your usual mix of dwarf, elf and dragon, but with the addition of Hercules-look-a-like pirates and buxom Amazonians. Even your first potential party member appears to have an arse on her chest. While this game will draw fans from its pen-and-paper source material, to those unfamiliar with the German RPG scene there may be much to raise an eyebrow of disapproval at.
Aesthetically, the game shows a lot of polish. The ambient soundscapes are rich, the music is well-crafted, and the graphics are smooth and vibrant. The design of the world in general is impressive, with even minor characters given surprisingly detailed attire. Enemies and their dungeons don't reek too much of a copy-and-paste job either.
All in all The Dark Age is a solid game, but one that suffers somewhat from stilted gameplay and a cliched plot.
Download Drakensang: The Dark Eye
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
The developers of Drakensang ('Dragon Song in English) haven't been slapping the arse of creativity until fresh ideas fall out The game is pretty much fiercely old-school and traditional in its approach to the role-playing genre.
Drakensang will be playable from a zoomed-out, isometric perspective, with a party of adventurers under your control taking part in a big quest to save the world. Looking at it from a positive point of view, we're hoping that what pours out of the release pipe at the end of the day is akin to something like Baldur's Gate.
Story-wise, the universe is based on the most famous and bestselling (on the continent at least) German paper-and-pencil RPG on the market, The Dark Eye.
A number of writers who have worked on the most recent content of the wider game have been involved with producing the script and plot for Drakensang, so at the very least it will be authentic. Let's just hope it'll be fun too.