The multiplayer beta of Divinity: Dragon Commander is underway, and I had the chance to preview it. Dragon Commander is an RTS/Action game hybrid made by Larian Studios for the PC. It promises to make for interesting blend of strategic and Attack gameplay and perhaps it will make good on that promise.
As a multiplayer beta, you can only play online or over a LAN connection. You can join or create a lobby and invite friends. There are two kinds of matches, which are Multiplayer Campaign, which is an ongoing multisession event where you play several matches much like a tourney. If you lose, you’re out for the campaign.
Skirmish mode is just a quick match. The lobbies also have a chat function. After selecting your game type you can then pick your Faction and colors. Each faction has their own unique units to use. Because this was a closed beta it was difficult to find a match that wasn’t full or ones where the NAT connection wouldn’t fail.
When the match starts, like most RTS games, you have to build structures to research and create new and more powerful units, each with a its own wait time. You can use the mouse to free look from an overhead perspective or click on a section of the mini-map to zip to that location. The twist here in this game though is that you are a commander who can become a dragon that can fly overhead and shoot down enemy units and structures. This gives the player a more active and exciting role in their bids for conquering the opposition. The Dragon is powerful so they can only be out for a limited time, or until their health drains. When the dragon dies, you can re-summon it again, but it will take time and consume a lot of resources to do so. Judicious and effective use of the Dragon will be essential to winning many battles. And it should be noted that the Dragon has a jet-pack Yes, a jet-pack…truly goofy, but if it helps the dragon fight, why not?
Unfortunately, as this is a beta, the single player campaign was not available to play. This is a bit of an oversight as learning how to play by experimentation is the best way to getting the hang of things. While there is a tutorial mode, it’s just a series of video clips that only cover a small portion of the game. It’s no substitute for step by step instructions though.
Also, the game has a lot of bugs, within either the game or within its net-code. But since you are online, the game is constantly monitoring your session, and when you are done you can report any issues to Larian. This has led to the developers making swift and constant patches to stabilize the game. I myself couldn’t even begin a session without the game crashing. Then it was fixed. Also my tutorial video had been scrambled, until an update fixed that issue as well. So you can look forward to Larian being very responsive to your input in this beta.
The music to the game sounds pretty good, and the graphics while not the greatest by any means, are pretty good. Outside of issues, you can look forward to enjoying what looks to be shaping up as a fun RTS with dragon shooting gameplay. Dragons and jet-packs make everything better!