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Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:57 pm
by Mechanist
Could anyone recommend some other good game(s) broadly similar to Drakan?
Preferably for the PC, if at all possible.
(yes, I do already have Drakan:TAG, but my current hardware is far too wimpy to emulate it well; currently building a new system)

A few years ago - which is when I found out about Drakan:OOTF in the first place - I did also search for other such games, but alas, with nothing useful to show for my efforts.

Now, it's time for some critical panning:

Skyrim doesn't count - the dragons are not rideable at all in vanilla game, save in a single cutscene - and AFAIK even with the DLC it's... quite lacking in this regard.
Seems like this was not being considered at all during development, and then just tacked on for the DLC - crippled as it is, due to having to deal with engine and/or game design limitations.

I did play the DLC more or less to completion once. Had to turn the difficulty all the way down for the unavoidable dragon-riding fight towards the end, due to weird technical (???) issues - the interface appeared to be totally broken: all of my "dragon controlling" inputs did absolutely nothing; might have as well unplugged both mouse and keyboard for that fight, and it would've made no difference.
After that fiasco, I never tried it again - mostly because it didn't fit my overall playing style for that character; also shortly after that I had to put Skyrim away due to other, more pressing issues, and then didn't care much about returning to it before upgrading the (rather dated) hardware.

Divinity 2 (DKS) is the closest thing to Drakan which I have found so far.
A lot of wasted potential there, though - the main problems being:
1. The ground enemies disappear when changing into dragon form. Wait, what????? :shock:
When I first saw this mentioned in a review of the game, I was like "haha, no way that could actually be true - good joke, buddy!".
And then after many hours of playing, I was not amused to discover that it was, in fact, not a joke by the reviewer, but rather by the developers. :evil:
Also, even in the Developer's Cut version, to the best of my knowledge there is NO WAY to change this behavior at all, even with console commands.
2. Has a serious pacing issue with the plot, too - similar to the problem with, say, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
Except it's actually much worse, due to problem (1) above - think JKII:JO but with Jedi powers only being usable on D.Jedi/Sith enemies, and not at all on any of the mooks.
3. Pulls a cheap trick to reuse parts of previous levels after getting the dragon form.
Feels like a massive budget cut happened halfway through development, preventing real new content from being created.
4. The fortresses are simply tedious to deal with (more evidence of budget cuts?), and problem (1) above makes it far worse than it otherwise would have been.

For me, this last issue in particular was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. Not far into the 2nd fortress, IIRC.
After uninstalling the game, I then read a Let's Play of it to see what had I missed out on. I regret nothing, really - or, at most, very little.

So yeah, Divinity 2: an excellent example of how poor design decisions can result in making a steaming turd out of even the most promising ingredients.
It does not cease to amaze me how such most fundamental things could be bungled up so thoroughly. By a large group of people, no less.

Drakan, despite preceding both of the above games by many years, and created in a different era of games altogether, still gets the idea of "fun" mostly right:
- Arokh is quite overpowered, even right from the start, yet you can't take him everywhere,
- fighting ground enemies from the air is mostly like shooting fish in a barrel - a lot of fun, as it should be,
- normally, that would quickly get old, for lack of any real challenge - but the game does a good job alternating the grilling of enemies with solo areas,
- no blatant level reuse or extensive backtracking,
- flying enemies don't have ridiculously bloated HP pools.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:33 pm
by Arokhs Twin
The Divinity games as a whole are good, I highly recommend them. DKS which was the least successful game of the series with the disappearing ground enemies when taking flight was something discussed on their forums. The answer was it was due to limitations of the xbox360's hardware as the PC version has no difference to the xbox version aside from being able to customise graphics options and controls. Despite this and it's other shortcomings which I won't go into here it's the closest thing to Drakan. Well maybe I of the Dragon which is an old game now but that was pretty crappy from what I remember.

As far as I know Drakan is unique and I'm surprised there are not many games based on it's concept. Seems to be that in games Dragons are creatures that need to be slayed.

Back to Divinity 2: DKS I believe there won't be a successor to this game due to the success of the isometric Original Sin plus it's sequel. There was talk on the Larian forums that due to the ending of Divinity Original Sin 2 (it's a prequel) there is no way Divinity 2 could have happened. Not seen the ending myself so I can't give my own opinions but rumor has it that Larian will just retcon out (pretend it never happened) Divinity 2 and make a sequel to Original Sin 2 which would be set during or after the events of Divinity 2. I hope this isn't the case.

The lore and story of all their games seem to lack consistency and continuity and there's a lot of contradictions. Probably didn't help making prequels then sequels to prequels then a sequel to the original game 15 years later. Different teams working on them too. You can see why this became confusing and messed up. Dragons have 4 legs and wings in some games but yet the same NPC dragon in DKS (the Patriarch) who was in previous games is depicted as a Wyvern for example. Despite this I still liked it.

BTW have you tried Divinity: Dragon Commander? It's a mixture of genres including RTS (which I normally dislike) but I kinda liked it.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:35 pm
by Mechanist
The Divinity games as a whole are good, I highly recommend them. DKS which was the least successful game of the series
Ok, thanks for the tip. Duly noted.
My backlog of games-to-play is now long enough to keep me entertained for years, at this rate.

As far as I know Drakan is unique and I'm surprised there are not many games based on it's concept. Seems to be that in games Dragons are creatures that need to be slayed.
Precarious balance issues are one possible reason, I'd think. It's a fine line between not making the characters too OP (and thus largely trivializing the game), and yet not making most of the fights an exercise in tedium. A lost and forbidden art, apparently. (for "fun", try playing Skyrim first on the lowest and then on the highest difficulty, or vice versa... drives the point home, it does)
Not only that, but the levels also have to be carefully designed with the above in mind.

Then there are also the technical and level design issues inherent in giving the player essentially full 3D freedom. To this end, D2:DKS uses a similar approach to Drakan for the most part, despite the massive age gap.
Either way, some serious suspension of disbelief is required on the player's part; this cannot reasonably be avoided. A colossal version of the waist-height fence trope, if you will.

Also yes, this lack of following is strange indeed. IIRC, Drakan was rather highly rated in its time.
And yet some other series, such as Tomb Raider - which share many of the basic premises - were massively successful.
Insufficient marketing, I guess?

Around that time, most anyone around me who had a PC knew about Tomb Raider - and that was in an era when at-home internet access was highly uncommon and very, very expensive. Word of mouth did spread fast, despite the total lack of what we now call "social media".
Yet no one I even remotely knew around that time had heard anything about Drakan, nor was it ever covered in any of the locally available gaming magazines (yes, those were quite a thing back then!).
FWIW, I hadn't heard of Drakan at the time either - and quite likely never would have, if not for a string of unlikely coincidences which happened over a decade later.

No doubt OOTF being PC-exclusive and TAG being PS2-exclusive didn't help their popularity much, either.

rumor has it that Larian will just retcon out (pretend it never happened) Divinity 2
<insert snide comment about brushing that flop under the carpet>
Eh, it's probably for the better, I guess?

BTW have you tried Divinity: Dragon Commander? It's a mixture of genres including RTS (which I normally dislike) but I kinda liked it.
No, the only Divinity game I played was DKS - and well, you already know how it went.
Could you elaborate some more?
A good RTS isn't bad; I had a lot of fun with Earth 2140 ages ago, and more recently Age of Empires 1 & 2. It's a lot of fun to watch the enemy AI break hilariously by applying carefully engineered anti-AI tactics (metagaming?), thus bending the game rules to their ultimate limit, and then mercilessly crushing now mostly helpless enemies. Figuring out the tricks for each game can be quite fun, too.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:05 pm
by Arokhs Twin
Divinity Dragon Commander is a strange game. Basically the plot revolves around you being one of the first dragon knights with the aim to become the emperor. The game is set in the far past in the divinity universe where steampunk technology existed and you direct your minions from your airship which serves as your command centre.

Gameplay wise it's a mix of turn based combat played out on a virtual map where you have to allocate troops and resources to take over the continent a country at a time. You also have to make political decisions where your team of advisors will give the pros and cons of each decision. Sorry I'm not that good at describing things...

The RTS part comes in where you turn into a dragon and take part in the battles yourself - these can be skipped though however the outcome of the battle will depend on how much resources you allocated previously. It's a mixed bag and would probably only appeal to fans of the series. It didn't sell as well as the top down classic Divine Divinity and the two original sin games though.

I think the best description seems to be on Wikipedia ... _Commander if you want to take a look.

Personally I thought at first I wouldn't like it but as I got further into the game the more I wanted to finish it.

As for DKS it wasn't exactly a flop and it does have a cult following but it was nowhere near as successful as the original sin games. There was an original version just called Divinity 2 however this was released unfinished due to publisher deadlines. DKS was released later by the developers themselves when they had time to finish it.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:04 pm
by Mechanist
Huh, quite a mixed bag it is, by the looks of it.
If it's any consolation, the wikipedia description did very little to enlighten me further.

I'll try looking for some gameplay videos on YT, this should sort things out easily enough.

As for DKS, I think it suffers from a similar problem to Tomb Raider 2013:
TR:2013, if taken on its own as a standalone game (not part of the series), is actually a reasonably decent game - but it's a very bad Tomb Raider game.
IMO, Underworld was the last decent entry in the TR series - though I didn't bother playing anything more recent than TR:2013, in no small part due to inadequate hardware.

Much the same can be said for DKS: on its own, it's a fairly decent game of its sort, especially if you exclude the dragon parts.
But it's not a very good game about dragons. And yet that's what it tries to use as one its selling points - whereupon it falls flat on its face.
My previous points, especially about the tedium, still stand fast.

And speaking of games about NOT slaying dragons: I found Witcher 2 to be quite good.
Minor spoiler: there is exactly 1 dragon who actually appears in it. Not controllable by the player - but depending on player choices, can be either an ally or enemy. This affects quite a lot of things, as one might expect.

For maximum impact, I think the game is best approached it the same way I did it: I chose the obvious "righteous"(*) faction at the beginning, played it to the ending, and then played it once again, choosing the other faction that time around.
(*): This choice makes the most sense in the context of how it's presented; I'm not sure if there even is a choice there on the first playthrough - never tested that possibility.

This is something best experienced first-hand; it's quite amazing.

Briefly put: in a broadly similar fashion to how it was in Witcher 1, the paths for both factions converge again upon reaching the endgame, for various reasons. Then more or less the same events happen, with relatively minor differences depending on which faction you have previously allied with.
Except at the end, if you (as the player character) know the actual truth, a different outcome becomes possible.

(Somewhat major spoiler ahead!)

(Not joking!)

But the best part of it? Not having found out the truth over the course of the game means that you get no choice in this matter, and yet at the same time don't even realize (as the player) that anything is amiss, or that there should even be any choice available in that situation.
Nothing feels wrong about it.
Not until you replay the game, making different choices, and find out what you had really done back there...
There is also quite a lot of foreshadowing, pretty much all over the game, but on casual inspection it appears to lack any real meaning - it seems to be mostly just irrelevant random stuff, unless you already know what it pertains to.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:30 pm
by Arokhs Twin
Yeah, the witcher games were one of my favourites, not like Drakan at all but a good example of how a story based RPG should be done. I've played the mass effect series, the first had some really tedious parts especially the mining which was made less tedious in the subsequent games. Other than Drakan the only games I've really enjoyed are the witcher games, elder scrolls and the dark forces plus jedi knight games. Others pretty much were good but forgettable.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:30 pm
by Mechanist
Ok, so I had a look at some videos of Divinity:DC. And yeah, "strange" is certainly one way to describe it.
But it looks like it's going to be fun, so I'll give it a try.
Thanks for the suggestion.

As for story based games, here are some other titles which I consider to be fairly good, in no particular order:
- SW:KOTOR (1 & 2),
- Legacy of Kain series,
- Ace Attorney series,
- Shadow of Destiny (good story, but somewhat clunky gameplay).

Some fun non-story-based games:
- Thief 1-3 + the Dark Mod,
- Hitman series (but not Absolution - it was utter crap),
- Death to Spies (aka SMERSH) series, it's kinda like a Hitman/MGS hybrid, but better; can't yet rate Alekhine's Gun though - haven't played it, need new hardware,
- Crypt of the NecroDancer, a decent game with excellent music,
- Nethack: old ASCII roguelike game, (in)famous for its difficulty long before Demon's/Dark Souls was even a thing. The player character, who incidentally is also one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, can temporarily or semi-permanently take the form of a dragon (among many others), and/or have a tame pet dragon (or other species), who can also be mounted.

Fun games about designing and building stuff:
- Kerbal Space Program (it's pretty good, and mods make it even better),
- Factorio,
- Minecraft, maybe?

Some other games I recommend to avoid:
- Borderlands: absolutely atrocious balance/progression issues, weak story, an "F-you" non-ending,
- Deus Ex: Invisible War (it's the low point of the series),
- Duskers: fun premise but poor execution, decent attempt at a story but lacks any real closure, effectively a non-ending, pacing issues, also extremely aggravating enemies start appearing by mid-to-late game,
- Hitman Absolution: so many things wrong with it, don't even know where to start,
- Thief 4 (aka Thi4f): similar problem to TR:2013 - OK on it's own, but a very bad Thief game.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:53 pm
by Arokhs Twin
Heh, I forgot about KOTOR, that's the only ones I've played you have listed. Deus Ex yeah, the first game was good too and I've played all of the sequels. Agree on Invisible War though and the last game Mankind Divided wasn't that impressed.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:23 pm
by Mechanist
Deus Ex was a good game overall, but towards the end the story got a bit too crazy for my tastes.

Since you liked it, I think you should also check out "The Nameless Mod", a large total conversion mod for Deus Ex. It has considerably more content. And it's completely free (but of course requires an install of Deus Ex to work).
Very meta, and full of wacky humor and references.
Gameplay wise, it builds upon what made DX a good game, and then adds its own weapons and items to the mix, as well as other improvements.

Before TNM there were also a few other, much shorter TC mods for DX. Zodiac and Hotel Carone are 2 good ones that I can name off the top of my head.

The Fallout games were also pretty decent.
F1 & F2 use old-school isometric perspective; F2 has a similar but updated UI with extra features etc. Good story, and packed with content.
Incidentally, there was a bunch of content cut from F2 before release, with a lot of unused resource files left in the release edition, but a fan-made patch is available which restores most of the cut content. Even without that, it's a pretty good game.

F3 and later entries are proper 3D games; F3 and F:New Vegas using the same engine as Morrowind/Oblivion.
F3's story is a bit weak IMO, but it sorta makes up for it by the end - with an enormous unstoppable nuke-throwing robot with eye lasers, who pulverizes the opposition into dust while shouting anti-communist propaganda. It's a thing to behold, all right.
F:New Vegas has a better story and a better setting, and the DLC's are more fun than they were in F3, too.

I haven't played F4 yet, though - again, due to outdated hardware - so I have nothing to say about it.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:36 pm
by Arokhs Twin
Thanks for the tip I might try that mod sometime.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:06 pm
by yangez93
I played Tomb Raider 4:The Last Revelation before I encoutered Drakan. I Like Drakan because it reminds me Tomb Raider series :) You can rarely find games Dragon+Woman combined, so that makes Drakan unique. Next I wanted to search some movies and games similar to Drakan. There is movie such Dragonheart from 1996 (It is really similar to Drakan, maybe Drakan developers take inspiration from this? :) )

And another game is Ultima IX: Ascension : there are dragons, various weapons(flame sword for example), magic, dungeons, evil and monsters. I recommend this game :)

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:33 pm
by Mechanist
Well, there was a Chinese(?) dragon enemy(boss) in TR2. Who was actually formerly a human, transformed by a powerful artifact. So there's that connection.
Also, Lara retrieved said artifact and kept it, but never used it. Makes a lot of sense though, considering how its power is invoked.

I have played every PC TR game up to TR:2013 - which was pretty much the low point of the series. Didn't bother with anything newer than that though - because why would I, after that disaster?

Your work on OpenOOTF reminds me very much of TR:Anniversary, which was essentially a reimagining of TR1.
The story and major plot points were pretty much unchanged, and the overall layout of the levels was preserved, so it was immediately recognizable as a remake of TR1.
However, similar to your effort, it wasn't simply a 1:1 recreation with updated graphics. There were a couple new game mechanics, many of the puzzles were more or less reworked, and boss battles had new gimmicks (as opposed to just a liberal hosing down with bullets), etc.

Haven't played the Ultima games myself, but I have seen them get hilariously broken. Personally I recommend reading "Ocean Travel Without A Boat".

Also, it's not a game - but I'd recommend the Witcher books, in general.
I also know for a fact that in at least one of them, Geralt goes on quite an adventure with a dragon companion. :!:
Haven't read it in it's entirety, only overheard some fragments of the audiobook. I don't remember the title, unfortunately.
It's a shame that it hasn't been made into a game though, because that would've been pretty much the spiritual successor to Drakan.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:07 pm
by Arokhs Twin
I've wanted to read the Witcher books and having checked it looks like all of them have been translated into English. I'm not really a book fan although I've read a few sci-fi novels and some fantasy novels. Problem is a lot of them suck; well maybe not suck as such but the plot does not interest me. I liked the Eragon series although I felt the 2nd and 3rd books were a bit long and drawn out. Some of the dragonlance books were good as well. Not read any of the forgotten realms books I've heard good words about them as well.

But yeah, I will look into those witcher books. The paperback versions are cheaper.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:30 pm
by Mechanist
I'm not much of a book reader myself. Also, over the last few years I had very few opportunities for book-reading.
Now the situation is changing, hopefully for the better.

I'd certainly like to read at least that one Witcher book I had mentioned (still don't even know its name yet, though); I had overheard roughly a tenth of it, which is how I know it's good, and I'd sure dig reading the whole thing.

I also have another good book gathering dust, which I'd eventually like to read in its entirety: "Порри Гаттер и Каменный Философ" ("Porri Gatter and the Stone Philosopher" - and no, that's not a bunch of typos strung together, it's the actual name).
It's a Russian parody of Harry Potter, but with the premise inverted: a boy using technology in a world full of magic - which actually sounds more awesome than the alternative.
In case anyone's wondering, the name "Porri Gatter" is derived from "Garri Potter", which is the Russian name for Harry Potter.

There is an unofficial English translation floating around, but it's not that great.
Also, the book makes heavy use of Russian puns, which for the most part don't work at all in English (eg. the villain's name, "Mordevolt", is an allusion to punching people in the face; a brawler). And many references specific to Russian culture, too. It's best read in the original Russian.
The Witcher series is somewhat guilty of that as well, but to a much lesser extent.

Re: Other games similar to Drakan?

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:31 pm
by yangez93
I'm not usually book reader, but I really like fantasy movies such as Lord of The Rings or Harry Potter series. Fantasy stories are mailny very similar, there are Dragons, magic, artifacts, sword, various creatures. There are also many very fantastic fan works but they are not well promoted.

Here we have nice fan movie based on Harry Potter series:

When we talk about Witcher series, before game was released practically only polish audience know this book/tv series. In the form of a game popularity of Witcher increased very much. For me our Polish pride :)

Speaking of Tomb Raider, I really like these series to Tomb Raider 6. The game focused on basic logical thinking, passing labyrinths. Without walkthrough I could not finish this game. Even Drakan, I had trouble with Rune Blade sword (How to get it?), how to pass Wartok Canyons? Even using cheats/ for immortality. So thats the reason I really like old games :)