on October 26, 2011
Drakensang: The Complete Saga is a compilation of 2 games and an add-on. It includes The Dark Eye: Drakensang,Drakensang: The River of Time [Download] and its add-on pack of quests and characters Phileasson's Secret.
To my knowledge, this pack is the only way to get The River of Time and Phileasson's Secret on a physical disk.
Drakensang is a medieval fantasy German-RPG that focuses on heavy strategic combat. Even on easy, these games are a challenge. They also employ general fantasy plots to get you into the world, but the focus is certainly on the combat. Another very old but popular series of games that used the same systems is Realms of Arkania.
Combat and other game mechanics follow The Dark Eye's Basic Rules . Each of your 4 characters have dozens of attributes that you put points into. These attributes all interact while doing almost anything. This is quite different from most American or Japanese RPGs that generally use one attribute or stat for each specific task. The end result is that you get more realistic characters and fewer min-max characters (such as the hulk that can't brush his teeth for sheer stupidity).
You will find a classic good vs. evil story in each tale. The first Drakensang is a long and arduous epic quest to become the hero of the world. The River of Time and its add-on pack are less epic and more personal stories.
You run around and talk to people in the cities. You find quests, play minigames and buy gear. Then you take off into the wilderness and fight with pause-and-play style tactical party-based action. It is very similar to that found in Dragon Age.
The rules are extremely thick and complicated when comparing with Dragon Age or even Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. But the computer helps explain things nicely. If you like maxing out your character for epic damage, you'll either hate this game or love it for the mathematical challenge.
I should note here also that Drakensang has a lot of running around. The later games fixed that by getting you to where you need to be faster. However, the epic feel to Drakensang makes the travel so much more forgivable. You almost relish the thought of being ambushed on your way back after completing some harrowing quest.
All of the Drakensangs employ a quasi-realistic approach. Everything fits together very nicely. You won't find a cartoon dragon sitting right beside a tree that looks completely real.
The animations in the game are fairly life-like. Nothing is absolutely superb, but for an RPG, it resembles some AAA titles.
The later the game, the better the graphics.
SOUND AND MUSIC
The music is top-notch stuff. You'll want to keep it turned up.
The sound of all of the games is fair. There's some good environmental sounds and a little speech. But don't expect the sound effects, speech and other sounds to be on the scale with other modern AAA titles.
This game is hard. It is made for people who enjoy playing RPGs, not for a casual gamer. So if you're an RPG player, you'll handle it just fine. Otherwise, you'll want to start with some easier titles first and then come back to this series with a little experience under your belt.
This game isn't the best. Let's get real. Other games do everything better. But if you like RPGs, you're missing out if you haven't tried the Drakensang saga. It has an epic scope and some memorable characters. It'll move your imagination and engage you in countless hours of difficult battles.
If you played and enjoyed Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age, then you'll enjoy these titles if you can handle a little shallower story and a little lower production quality.
Since the Amazon description of this product currently only describes Phileasson's Secret, I thought I'd include an estimated system requirements list (each game is a little different).
All of the games together will occupy somewhere around 20GB of space.
Os: Windows XP/Vista/Win 7
CPU : Pentium 4 2.8 GHz or equivalent Processor (this I think is too low to enjoy the game -- I'd go for a Core 2 2.4GHz or higher)
RAM: 1 GB Windows XP, 2 GB Windows Vista, 7
Graphic Card: NVIDIA 6800GT or ATI X1800 with 256 MB RAM or equivalent video card
SoundCard: Sound device compatible with DirectX 9.0
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CONTENTS
Some have asked what this is like for a collector's item. This is a no-frills DVD case with a single DVD. There's no printed instructions (nor any on the disk). You'll want to find instructions online (see comments for more information).
Also, no DRM. No codes to enter. Nothing. Just put in the disc, install and you're done. You don't need the disc to play.
on April 2, 2012
** Note that one person below bought this and found that his CD required Steam registration. So there might be different versions of the game out there. My copy for sure required nothing to run before during or after install. **
At the current reduced price and with no Steam or serials or anything else needed to install or run the games, this is a great deal. The games themselves are great for anyone who enjoyed the complex combat of Baldur's Gate 2. However in these much more recent games, the camera needs swiveling around every now and then, so be ready for that. Also this is a fairly complicated RPG (with no manual included) so if you like Skyrim these might not be the games for you.
on February 25, 2013
For $10, this is a very polished game with a decent story, good characters, and lots of playability. Yes, Drakensang is a few years old - however, it looks much better than Neverwinter Nights 2, and I honestly think the stats/leveling are not that complex. Of course, I am a veteran of Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Fallout Tactics, and many other squad or team-based RPG's through the years, but this one is a little different. I like the fact that you only need the game disc for installing and it seems my laptop does not get very hot even with the graphics maxed out.
In addition, graphically, I would say this title boasts some very decent graphics. Yes, some characters look alike, but there is enough variety that this is a pretty game. I am 10-12 hours into it (halfway through Moorbridge Marshes) and have not encountered a single bug yet. This game, as others have mentioned, is DRM free and you don't need Steam or some lame third party software to play it (or an internet connection). Yes, there's no online, but I don't typically play online, and there is enough in the main campaign to keep you going through it, as well as enough variety in character classes. Speaking of which, one nice thing is that your character is not limited to all magic or all melee; you can effectively combine them both.
I have only tinkered around with River of Time, but for $10, I would surely purchase the older Dark Eye alone. This is a great deal, and Phileasson's Secret is supposedly not available on a CD-ROM except for this package. Some people might have qualms that not everything is voice acted, or there are limited options for character creation appearance, but again, I digress. I think there is enough here for everyone, and since this genre of gaming hardly exists anymore, I am happy to say Draksensang delivers on many fronts. I can't recommend this enough for the low price tag and countless hours of gaming fun...
on May 19, 2012
This review is for The River of Time with Phileasson's Secret. The original game Drakensang was purchased earlier. (see separate review)
The game is a classic rpg with your stats determining your success in combat. (you don't click for each swing of your sword) Combat is turn based but doesn't stop unless you pause the game so can become quite hectic. It isn't linear like many old games but isn't "open world" either. In some ways it feels like an interactive story. You have to complete certain parts before new areas are opened up. Creatures are not leveled (good). There are some that you just have to avoid till you get stronger.
Character creation: Select male or female, then class (with some elf or dwarf). There is a nice selection of different classes including multiple variations of the four classic ones (fighter, mage, ranger, thief). Customization beyond that point is minimal. Generally you would select from 3 body sizes, 3 faces and 5 hair styles. The characters are attractive.
The game starts out the same no matter which class you choose. When you get to the town you get directions for completing your apprenticeship and it turns out there are 4 different ones depending on which class you are. That was a lot of fun. I started numerous different characters just to play out the different stories before I settled on one and finished the game. I only wish the apprenticeship quests would have lasted longer.
My biggest problem was with stability. The cursor would freeze and I would get an error message regarding "Nebula 3" and "out of memory". I did meet the system requirements as far as I could tell. After turning all the graphics settings down I eventually got to where I could play for a reasonable amount of time without crashing. Curiously, after starting the Phileasson's Secret quest and then returning (through the rift) the game ran much better. (and the graphics had automatically reset to a higher level)
All the barrels and crates to smash. It makes sense in a tomb or something but
not in the middle of town with people standing right there.
The puzzles. I eventually solved all except one (which was optional) but they
were basically just annoying.
Some of the underground complexes had room after room with the same creatures -
became more tedious than fun.
Couldn't swim, couldn't climb or jump down the smallest of ridges.
Not as many companions as the original game. I kept meeting people (sailor,
mage's helper, Amazon, pirate, elf) and expecting them to join me but they
didn't. No companion quests as in the original game. (or I didn't find them)
No random encounters when travelling between locations (as in original game).
There were a few areas where creatures seemed to respawn but you didn't get any
experience for killing them so what was the point?
You can't wear metal armor and cast spells. That keeps the different classes
The economic system was good. You never had more money than you could use.
There were a number of unique items in the game so they seemed special when
you discovered one.
Sometimes you had a choice of how to proceed, i.e. do you bribe the trolls or
just attack them? The more choices you have the better the game is.
Good graphics and voice acting. Women are attractive, sometimes voluptuous.
Some good humor in the game, some quite bawdy. (check out the view of your
short skirted elf when she bends over to pick some plants!)
Extensive crafting system - alchemy, blacksmithing, and bow making.
**Spoiler alert** I loved the part where you donned a disguise and later ended
up getting captured and had to find a way to escape.
Overall: It is a very good game. I would gladly buy more using the same system. I would like to see more companions though, like the original game. I'd also like to have more areas where the creatures would respawn (and you'd get credit for killing). That way you could play the game sandbox style. Just have some recurring, generic quests (deliveries, escorts, etc.) Yes, the game could become less balanced but that should be the player's choice. If you want to see how fast you can finish the game, fine. If you want to play around and build up your character to become uber powerful that should be fine also. In summary I would not hesitate to recommend this game to any rpg fan.
on November 3, 2012
I finished the main game and put quite a few hours into the expansion(s). I would say I have over 100 hours put into this game. I paid about 15 bucks after shipping so the bang for your buck is there. But I couldn't finish the expansions. And sadly the story was way more interesting than the main game (and it still wasn't that interesting). It's just the redundancy of the combat and running around became a chore instead of fun. It became that way a while before I felt like moving on to something else. The feeling of reward really wasn't there. It became more about enjoying certain aspects of the gameplay rather than the game as a whole.
To sum this game up, it's like a generic Neverwinter Nights 2 without all the bugs. Drakensang runs far smoother and has much better controls/camera (although the nature of these kind of games all leave awkward camera angles in corners etc). However, in regards to the gameplay the combat is slower in Drakensang. The character development is unnecessarily complicated. The spells aren't that interesting. The rounds in combat take longer in Drakensang which is a real downer to me. I like the pacing of Neverwtinter 2 (and Dragon Age) where you see the results of your decisions relatively faster. The environments are really nice in this game. Nothing new or interesting to look at as far as the genre goes but what is there looks good. The backdrops look nice. Water looks particularly neat. Trees and grass sway and butterflies and other wildlife roam freely helping bring the areas to life.
Basically I'll end with this. If you love rpgs with the "tactical pause" like Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Icewind Dale etc etc this is worth a try. Although this game feels generic there are great mechanics it borrows from others games even if these mechanics aren't done as well. There seems to be talented people behind this game and it comes across to me as potential unfulfilled. It's not bad either though. It's not one of the greats but you could do a lot worse. So again, there isn't much of a story here so for the love of this kind of rpg combat, and the timesink this game is... at less than 20 dollars it's not a bad deal.
on September 4, 2014
This is a more complicated Baldur's Gate from what I can surmise so far in the game in all around game-play and, great graphics by the way. This is all I will say for now as I concur with most of the reviews here, with the exception of the complaint that it is too complicated. For me, this is what I want. After the reviews I was so afraid I was not going to be able to play it because it didn't work at first on my new laptop using Windows 8.1, but with these simple steps it worked for me:
1. Install as usual
2. Right-click on the Drakensang (dark eye desktop) icon
3. Select run as administrator
4. Select Properties, at the end of the long character sequence in the Target: box,
- change the "-fullscreen" to "-windowed" (without quotes) (without a space after the hyphen)
5. Apply Drakensang Properties and OK
6. Launch it as normal by double-clicking on the dark eye desktop icon and it will start up in a window.
7. Make it fullscreen by hitting alt+enter while in that dark eye window. alt+enter again to go back to windowed
A note for those awaiting Inquisition and Witcher3, I don't plan on getting those games for my PC laptop as I don't have a high-end gaming PC. Drakensang works fine on my Windows 8.1 Acer E5-771-378Y however there are two reasons I will not buy those games for it. One is the fact of my questionable graphics card which is Intel HD Graphics 4400, and the Intel chip which is 1.9Ghz 64bit, I think those games will require something with more throughput than that. The second reason is the "Origin" issue. I won't explain that one here but anyone who has ever bought online games know about it. The head-scratcher is, DA: Inquisition is a single player game, why it needs the net puzzling. Yes I get it that you need the net to get the downloadable version of the game to your PC, but you will also need to be connected full time to play it. You can find out a lot more about this issue by searching the net. I will be getting a PS4 to play Inquisition and Witcher3. In the meantime, happy Drakensang'ing!
Update November 7th, 2014: I have moved on to River Of Time after completing the first mammoth main quest game. I am disappointed I can't transfer characters, but I see the improvements in RoT.
on February 2, 2014
Great buy you get two great games. Runs and plays just fine on Windows 7 64 bit, and if you like the older style RPG games like boulders gate this will hit that spot. For the time frame this is very good game play, controls are a little to get used to but not that bad, combat can be free flowing or hit-n-pause, and the graphics are better then you would think for it's time. Plays in Eyefinity (5940x1200 resolution) with Max settings. Solid buy.
on March 14, 2013
The Drakensang Saga is an excellent game for video gamers who enjoy fantasy rpg's. Drakensang is somewhat of a combination between Neverwinter Nights 2, and Dragon Age Origins, which in itself, is a huge compliment. The game has a good storyline, strategic combat, character diversity, and an aestically pleasing world that is full of life and adventure. For me, this game flew under the radar and I missed out on it until recently. I am fortunate that I discovered this game, and I would highly recommend it to others.
on June 13, 2013
A lot of gaming time in this. Well worth a low price. It doesnt need internet to register to play. A solid product, bugless setup and play, complete on a disk. This product probably works well with older computers and might not need a video processor to play.
on December 25, 2011
If you like the old style of RPGs like Planescape and Icewind Dale, this is for you. Nice graphics, tons of quests, decent story, excellent battle system. A shame this game wasn't big in North America. I recommend it!