Yes Drakan is a PS2 game. I keep forgetting when I recommend it many may not have one anymore. Not worth getting a PS2 for. But it's a huge game. Plenty of room to fly a dragon and many secret spots. Caves are so deep I actually got lost in a couple. Caves would have forks leading to different areas.
When I first played DKS I use to worry about wisdom and mindreading also. But later in the game you'll find areas where the enemies respawn and still give XP. There's not too many but enough to where wisdom/mindreading was less important to me.
I like it to level up as slow as possibly, but in fact, being a lower level further into the game (and main quest) give even more XP for killing, so ...
Teh Priest build is still a challenging battle ! If a Black Ring Battle Mage with a warhammer doing a rush attack on me he can kill me very fast if I'm no alert enough ! Sometimes I haven't the time to use Blind or Charm ... because his attack is so fast !
Yes I noticed in nightmare mode I was getting rushed attacked and knocked around more often.