Welcome to Dragon Commander, or more accurately, Divinity: Dragon Commander. This is a spin-off game of the Divinity RPGs. I have not actually played the previous Divinity games, so I won’t be getting many of the lore references.
Dragon Commander plays pretty differently, though. It’s a mixture of a strategy game, a Real Time Strategy game and a Role Playing Game. You build up troops and take over other countries. It’s not as complicated as some other games with, say, much diplomacy options (at least from what I’ve played so far), it’s rather simple.
The single player does have a cool base for you where all your generals hang out.
Now let’s swoop into the battlefield.
Dragon Commander is a mixture of Strategy games, Real Time Strategy games and Role Playing Games. It does all 3 competently, but not really well. Also everything is much simpler compared to other games. To start with, this is your base. All your generals are here, your research and the world map. It is awesome.
Since the game has 3 distinct parts, I’ll go with the Strategy part first, the world map.
Territories you can control are divided into countries. Sending troops into a neutral country will take over it instantly and any units inside as well. Enemy countries without troops will be taken over, but if there are enemy troops, then prepare for combat.
On the map, you see the little tokens that represent troops. Every turn, they get a certain amount of move points. Each move point lets them move through one country. More troops attacking means more troops on the map when you go into RTS mode. Of course, you can choose to auto-resolve battle. You can either choose from your generals, which give bonuses to the troops they command, or just let the troops battle it out.
Using a general costs money, though. You can money and research points each turn based on how many countries are in your control. You can build one structure in each country that will give some sort of bonus, such as extra gold per turn or cards.
Yes, the other part of the Strategy part are cards. You can play one per turn and they’ll give something useful, such as double gold production for one territory. Cards can also be played when combat starts to give you extra troops and such.
Aside from cards, that’s pretty much it for the Strategy part. Build units and move them into countries to do battle. For the singe player at least, there is no diplomacy or trading. It might not be unlocked yet for where I am in the story, but I kind of doubt that.
There are five races that have different approval opinions of you. The only thing this affects is when you’re fighting on their territory, you get a bonus if their approval rating is high enough. Gaining approval comes in on the RPG part, which I’ll talk about last.
For now, say you want to take a more claws on approach to combat. Then it’s time for the RTS mode!
The RTS part is highly simplified and streamlined. You don’t build buildings so much as erect them in predermined places. The only resource is how much recruits you have. Be warned, there is a maximum recruit limit. Use all of it up and you can’t make anything else for that map.
Now, simplified does not mean easy. I lost horribly the first time I tried to do a manual battle. You really need to know what your doing to even stand a chance at winning. The AI is aggressive and can spread its attention across the map a lot better than you can.
The basic strategy to win is simple but frantic. Build a massive ball of units and send them on a rampage, but you need to constantly go back to your factories and make certain they are producing units. Having a lax in production at any time will lead to the enemy out producing you.
Jusy order your guys to attack-move to a location. Be sure to capture points along the way to build more production buildings.
If there is more strategy to it, it is not needed.
But the most fun part of the RTS section is becoming the eponymous dragon in Dragon Commander. At a press of a button, you can transform into a dragon and rain down fire upon the enemy.
The dragon is pretty satisfying to use, but it’s not all powerful. Enemy units can take down the dragon pretty easily if you just go charging in there, though you can turn back into a dragon if forced out of the mode. Each transformation costs 20 recruits. The dragon attacks also overheat if you spam it too much.
The dragon does get upgrades and abilities, which seem pretty useful, but controlling troops is limited to certain commands in dragon mode. I mostly use it to supplement my troops’ attacks.
Overall, the RTS part is just spam more attack-move units than the computer, which means constantly producing more units.
Now, onto the RPG part, which mainly consists of talking to people and making choices aboard your (very pretty) ship.
It feels a bit Mass Effect like in that you talk to them and make some decisions. There’s not always tangible rewards, but talking to the characters are fun because I think most of them are pretty well written and acted. So talking to them is it’s own reward really. I mostly want to get more territories just to talk to these guys some more.
We get 4 generals, each with wildly different opinions on stuff.
You slowly get their stories over the course of the game, which I won’t go into too much.
The third one from the left comes from a country where women rule and men are just workers, but she accepts me because I’m part dragon. And is it bad that when I’m talking to her I’m staring at some nice melons?
Not hers but that bartender behind her. That’s some nice cleavage there.
Soon, you get the politicians. They’ll present to you propositions that influence how the different races like you. For instance, the first one I got was if I want to institute a draft or not.
What did I choose? Well, I’m not telling.
All 3 parts of the game is alright, though I like speaking with the people on my ship the best. Also, the RPG part and RTS part can be ignored. Propositions will be auto-voted on if you don’t make a decision and battles can be auto-resolved. I think I’ll auto resolve those spammy battles from now on.
I’m looking forward to talking with the characters more, making more choices and taking over the world!