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Drakensang is a third-person party-based RPG based on the pen & paper role-play rules of The Dark Eye. It is is the fourth computer game released in the TDE CRPG series and it was developed for Windows operating systems by Radon Labs and published by DTP Entertainment on August 1, 2008. it was followed by a prequel known as The River of Time in 19 February 2010, which also received an expansion Phileasson's Secret. all of them were put in a collection that is referred as the Drakensang Saga.

Development[]

Drakensang builds on the pen & paper rules as applied in version 4.0. The developers optimized the rulebook specially for the PC realization in order to make the game more accessible. But the essential qualities and the depth of the original rules have not been compromised.

The game's plot was written by Anton Weste, Mark Wachholz, Momo Evers and Stefan Blanck, who all are well known as writers for The Dark Eye pen & paper role-playing game. The game's budget was approximately €2.5 million. It was first announced on April 21, 2006. Radon Labs released Drakensang's game engine under MIT license in 2006 and a later version in 2011.

Setting[]

The game takes place in and around the city of Ferdok, located in the Middenrealmian Principality of Kosh at the center of the Aventuria continent. Drakensang is the name of a summit in the Anvil Mountains south of Ferdok. it is set in 1032 BF.

Plot[]

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Gameplay[]

The game is based upon The Dark Eye rules system, and the graphics are generated using the Nebula Device graphics engine developed by Radon Labs. The player begins the game by building a starting character. There are a total of twenty character classes from which to choose, with many familiar RPG staples such as Fighters or unusual classes like prospector. Each of the races can only choose from a subset of professions. Thus an elf can be either a ranger, fighter, or spellweaver. The classes are not restricted as to what weapons they can use, although they have different starting skill levels.

The game begins with only the main character. Throughout the quest, the player will be able to recruit companions of different races and classes.

There are eight primary attributes, and an extensive array of talents. The broad categories are Combat talents (further divided into 13 talents with specific weapon types), Magic Talents (consisting of individual spells) and Regular Talents (containing 24 talents divided into 5 sub-categories, governing the character's non-combat skills, from crafting to social interaction).

As characters complete quests or kill enemies, they gain experience points, which can be used to increase attributes or improve talents. Each character starts with a different collection of talents, and more can be learned at trainers for a fee. During the game, the characters can learn various alchemical, archery and blacksmith recipes, then assemble materials to make weapons, ammunition, potions, lockpicks and so forth.

Most of the interactions in Drakensang require skill checking. When a character skins a slain wolf, for example, three rolls are made against the character's Cleverness, Courage and Intuition. If they pass the test (the rolled numbers are lower than the attributes), then the action is immediately successful. When one or more attribute tests fails, the points in Animal Lore talent are used to compensate for the missing points. If the test is still not passed, then the character fails to gain anything from the animal. Other actions, from picking locks to casting spells, also use the same mechanic. In case of spells, the amount of remaining talent points is also used to determine the spell's effectiveness.

Spell casting in Drakensang uses Astral Energy (AE). Each character has a certain amount of AE that can be used to cast spells, with the cost in AE dependent on the spell's power setting. AE is slowly regenerated or can be replenished by potions. The effectiveness of each spell depends on its power level and other factors.

Combat in Drakensang is executed in real time, with all characters acting at the same time. Each activity requires a specific number of time units to execute, and can be interrupted before it completes. The player can pause the action and queue orders to party members. While offensive spells never miss, the result of physical attacks are determined by checking an attacker's chance to hit and the target's dodging or parrying ability. If the attack connects, the weapon damage and the target's armor are brought into question to calculate the amount of damage done. When a character sustains wounds from combat, their attributes are lowered. Each wound must be dealt with individually, either with bandages, spells or potions. When a character's hit point reaches 0, they are incapacitated. If the whole party is incapacitated, the game is over. The evaluation of various actions are displayed in a console that can be viewed by the player.

Linux[]

Drakensang does not officially support Linux-based operating systems, however, it is possible to install and play the game using the Wine compatibility layer (>v1.1.22).

Reception[]

Drakensang was well received in the German market, but was a commercial disappointment internationally. As a result, developer Radon Labs was unable to recuperate the title's development costs and subsequently went bankrupt.

Drakensang received an average of 75% on Metacritic averaged from reviews with user reviews giving it 9.1 out of 10. IGN also gave a similar vote of 7.5 praising the detail of the game while criticizing its cliches. The Cnet review called the story generic and the management of characters overly complex, but said the game is fairly captivating. The reviewer noted, "Everything here seems to have been randomly pulled out of the grab bag of RPG cliches." It received a rating of three and half out of five stars, for a "very good" score.

The Guardian gave it four out of five stars, and said it was "worth a look if you enjoy PC role-playing games." The reviewer noted that the game has a "bit of an image problem", which he called a shame. He said the game is a structured party affair that will be familiar to players of Baldur's Gate. He called it an "above-average adventure romp that will reward gamers who commit to the cause."

The primary criticism from Eurogamer is that the game fails to sufficiently explain itself, as it lacks an in-game manual. The reviewer puts the story somewhere in between Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, balancing story with combat. The game lacks the moral grayness of The Witcher, but "manages to be charmingly funny upon occasion." The strongest part of the game is in the mechanics. Combat includes situations "which really do demand attention, thought, and running away and coming back later." However, the objectives are spread about, requiring plenty of travel. Combat has some "twitchiness", with characters running around to accommodate the player's orders. The review concluded that "Drakensang is a fine RPG which looks better than it is, due to the relative dearth of similar games on the PC in recent times."

GameZone criticized the number of clichés while calling the story ideas well implemented and the production values good. The game is deemed worth picking up because of some of the twists in the story lines. The one problem mentioned with the story is the long, involving side quests, which can cause the player to lose sight of the objective. The graphics are well thought of, although they could have been better. Voice work is strong, but there is an insufficient amount. Control of the characters during combat is called frustrating with characters responding slower than they need to. In conclusion, the game is called "a good, quality title that has few bugs, an engaging story and maybe more than a few cliches."

Drakensang also won the "Best RPG 2008", "Best Story" and "Best Soundtrack" at the Deutscher Entwicklerpreis.

Trivia[]

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