Despite not gaining popularity with the masses up until recently, the Divinity saga has been around for around fifteen years. It was with Divinity: Original Sin’s release in 2014 that Larian Studios managed to reach out to a greater number of RPG enthusiasts. Divinity: Original Sin 2 takes the first game’s foundation and improves upon it in just about every area. The studio has created a rich and detailed world worth losing yourself into for hundreds of hours, whether it’s for the quality of writing, the huge amount of content, the worldbuilding, the quest design, or the significance of your choices.
Set over a thousand years later, Original Sin 2’s storyline is independent of its predecessor, therefore it’s entirely possible to enjoy the game without having played the first game. It will, however, take you some time to familiarize yourself with its subtleties, but given its length this shouldn’t present itself as much of an issue. You have plenty of freedom when it comes to creating your character, with the choice of mixing and mashing several traits and races. You can end up with anything ranging from a clerical Dwarf, an Elf beggar, a metamorphic Lizard, to a Human inquisitor, as well as other many possible combinations. On top of that, you can also choose for your character to be an Undead, which comes with its own unique traits.
On the other hand, if messing around with character creation isn’t your thing, you can also choose to pick one of the six preset characters that Larian has created based on each race. Each one is memorable and has a rich history, which will be revealed to you during the course of your adventure, in turn giving you access to lots of quests and special events. It’s also possible to enlist up to three of these characters as companions to your main character, allowing you to harness their respective quest lines. The flexibility of Original Sin 2’s options gives way to a plethora of player-driven customization, and this is indeed one of the game’s key strengths.
The other major strength is Original Sin’s complex quest design. There’s a staggering amount of quests, each of which can lead to one of several unique outcomes. These outcomes are based on several variables, including your dialog choices, your actions, as well as your choice of character itself. Individual problems faced during quests can also be solved in multiple ways, such as finding a way to get past a locked door. You could find its key, persuade someone with a key to open it for you, or you could even break it open with the right tool. Affinities also vary from character/race to another, and it’s possible to gain long-term discounts from the right merchant by offering them gifts. That is, as long as they don’t have history with one of the characters in your party, in which case they may decide to battle it out against you. It’s amazing how you can unexpectedly land yourself in trouble on the basis of seemingly positive choices. There’s no right or wrong in Divinity: Original Sin 2, and the game makes it a point to remind you of this at every turn of your adventure.
It’s a dynamic, living, breathing world, then, one where it’s an everyday occurrence to have your decisions go horribly wrong. You may even lose out on the opportunity to do some quests as a result of your actions. Of course, it’s not possible to keep every NPC pleased, but this is a game where you will feel like you own your decisions. It also makes the idea of multiple playthroughs very enticing, if only to know where an alternate set of choices with a different set of characters could lead you. Original Sin 2 is a true testament to Larian’s emphasis on player agency, and its incorporation of pen and paper RPG elements into the game.
Much like the rest of the game, Original Sin 2’s turn-based battle system has a lot of depth, with several options at your disposal. In each turn, you’re given a set number of action points to use for your moves. Terrain and environmental conditions can also present themselves as a strategic advantage or disadvantage, therefore you’re required to tread carefully and seize worthwhile opportunities during combat. For example, you can inflict greater damage to foes by positioning your party at higher ground. Also, if you happen to find enemies situated near a pool of water or oil during battle, you can use it to your advantage via elemental damage.The same holds true for your enemies, who will look to gain situational advantage over you.
Unfortunately, despite featuring a lot of variety and situational strategy, the battle system and scenarios get monotonous and repetitive past a certain point. It often feels like a hurdle that you must get through in order to proceed to the more enjoyable activities found in the game. The progression system for characters feels somewhat unbalanced, rendering some more powerful in battle compared to others. It doesn’t help that some of these battles can get pretty challenging, and that there’s a certain degree of trial and error associated with attaining victory. Occasionally, it’s also difficult to keep track of characters during battles, especially once things get chaotic.
It does help that it’s possible to play the game with up to three other players in coop. While playing with random strangers can present an enormous challenge of its own, playing with friends does make things more enjoyable as compared to playing solo. Those who wish to bring their own pen and paper adventures to the game can do so via its Master Game mode. It’s certainly a welcome addition, one that should further lengthen its lifespan.
All in all, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game where the sum is greater than its parts. It’s a highly fulfilling role-playing experience with rich worldbuilding, well-written characters, and intricate quest design. It is only marred somewhat by its battle system, which doesn’t remain interesting for long and often becomes a chore in a game that can last for over a hundred hours.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Review (PC)
Game Reviewed on: PC
Game description: Divinity: Original Sin II is a role-playing video game developed and published by Larian Studios for Microsoft Windows. The sequel to 2014's Divinity: Original Sin, it was released worldwide on 14 September 2017.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a highly fulfilling role-playing experience with rich worldbuilding, well-written characters, and intricate quest design. It is only marred somewhat by its battle system, which doesn't remain interesting for long and often becomes a chore.