Divinity Original Sin Review
• Challenging and tense turn-based combat.
• Ridiculous amount of content.
• Encourages player choice/freedom.
• One of the year's best soundtracks.
• Detailed world.
• May feel too challenging for some players.
• Clunky inventory system.
• Quests don’t give much direction.
Well, this is Divinity: Original sin. A brutal game in all senses of the word and respectfully – not a game for everyone… If you still haven’t bought it I advise you to do so – the first option is preferred. However, in order for you not to have any headaches with the gaming, it would be very good if you cover at least three of the next requirements:
-You must have played seriously and liked at least one hardcore role play game (a board game like D&D or a computer game like Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment);
-You should have a healthy neural system and to be willing to experiment like trial and error, trial and bigger error, and you must have at least 60-100 hours for a week or two;
-You should not have anything against missing narrated dialogues – reading a sometimes a mile long text;
You got it right – if you want to enjoy your time with Divinity: Original Sin, you must cover all three of the requirements. Otherwise, you will only waste your time and you will be completely pissed off.
A tale about a good kickstart
The previous game of the franchise – Divinity: Dragon Commander, was a strategy with dragons and steampunk soldiers, not a very good developed diplomacy, but nevertheless – an intriguing story and a high factor of ‘this is the last mission and I go to bed’. Now, thanks to the platform for public recruitment Kickstarter, the dudes from Larian Studios (complete maniacs about board role-play games, by the way) succeeded to return the series back to its roots. With the collected donations by fanatic gamers of about a million dollars, the Belgians have made not only miracles of bravery. They have created the perfect RPG experience.
As long as you start the game you will stare at the monitor. The vivid colors and the fabulous pictures in the menus, combined with the marvelous soundtrack (which doesn’t leave my air head for three weeks) are making a very good first impression. After the usual browsing of the
Options menu and video settings, you will click on New Game and you will have to create your heroES. Yes, two of them, to be precise. They can be representatives of both sexes, but don’t hurry to make any plans for lesbo-scenes, for example – Larian have removed the option for any romantic relationships between the characters, due to series of abuses like this one. Moreover, you control what they are saying in the dialogues (except in the coop-mode), it would be schizophrenic a bit…
You will have to select classes for your starting heroes. This is quite a delicate choice and it will be your first tough decision to make in the game. You have ‘only’ eleven choices, each and every one of them can turn your gaming into a real hell, if you don’t pay attention to all the attributes, talents, skills and characteristic specifics, before you complete the character creation.
For the beginners, I recommend a combination between a Fighter and a Wizard. To be more helpful further, here are two ready and checked builds, with which after a series of headaches I managed to reach the game’s end – a Fighter with a maximum Strength attribute as possible, to be able to carry as much as possible and to be able to have access to cooler equipment earlier. You have only one Ability for this class, put it at Man at Arms. For starting talents select Bully and Leech – this way you will inflict more damage to enemies and you will leech their blood, in order to heal yourself. Later, the talents Bigger and Better, and Picture of Health will make miracles, concerning your attack and hit points. For starting skills select Battering Ram, Dust Devil and Melee Power Stance. With the first you rush into a bunch of enemies, with the second you swirl and inflict 90% of the weapon damage in a certain radius, and the third simply increases the damage inflicted. It will be hard for you without a Wizard. The title isn’t balanced yet and the mages are quite strong at times, even at Hard difficulty. A cool sorcerer is made this way – all 5 starting points go to Intelligence, on the Abilities place one point on Aerotheurge, Hydrosophist, Pyrokinetic, Telekinesis и Lockpicking, take the talents Know-it-All and Pet Pal. A good combination of starting skill (magic, in the case) is Teleportation, Slow Current and Burning Touch. You can do serious things with these, if
properly combined. This is possible, because the elements in Original Sin interact with each other like in reality – water extinguishes fire, but it leads electricity. Figure out what a lightning does to wet vermin… The clouds of green poison, which you will get into at the very beginning, if you go into the training cave, consist of volatile gases – a little fire makes BOOM and the annoying skeletons are going away.
These are the controls – it is up to you
Divinity: Original Sin will seriously shake those of you, who have affinity to the MMO role titles or the action oriented ones like Fable or Diablo. This game will not hold your hand all the time and if you don’t pay attention to the dialogues, you will not be able to proceed forward. It is the same effect with the poorly created character – after an hour of play it is usually determined if the heroes, created by you, will survive or you will have to start over. In short – you control a couple of ‘seekers’, whose grand mission is to find the long lost mystic substance, called Source. In about six to ten hours you realize that the things are much more complicated and your heroes are a part of a bigger plot, and that the space-time continuum almost depends on them. The story is cool, despite the short stereotyped description, which I just wrote.
It doesn’t progress by using hit cut-scenes, produced by Hollywood actors, motion capture and a lot of money, but by beautifully written and well balanced dialogues and books, instead, scattered around Rivelon (this is the name of the world of Divinity since the first part of the series). You possess a convenient quest log, and you can track everything in the game. There are not huge exclamation marks over the head of those, who are able to give you a task, nor they are marked specifically on the map. There isn’t an arrow to guide you and often a thought is required, in order for you to proceed forward. And this is… just awesome! The lack of these elements, which we got used to in the last years, helps us to completely dive into the game’s world and it encourages the exploration and experimentation – like it should be in a real role-playing game.
About the information – there is plenty of it. Quests and help about processing active ones may come from unexpected places – a villager, walking around his garden, a bored castle guard, a sleeping drunk on the table in the inn and even… the cat on the fish market. If you have listened to me earlier and you have taken the Pet Pal talent, you will be able to talk to animals. And they have what to say – sometimes they inform you about some event by their point of view, and sometimes they share secret places or observations, which can help you in your current tasks. Two words on the quest themselves – they are many, original and none of them will send you to the forest for ten mushrooms, growing only there, for which you will receive some gold, experience and magic underwear. Since Fallout: New Vegas I haven’t been that excited about the tasks in a RPG, honestly!
Fight and a bit of tactics
A good news for the gamers, who like to think is that the battles are turn based and require thinking. If I have to compare their mechanics to something, it will be ‘a combination between Heroes of Might & Magic III and Fallout 2’. You have ‘action points’, and the unused ones can be used in your next turn. They serve for movement, fighting, usage of the inventory items (yes, two heroes – two inventories) and spell casting. An important moment is that every creature on the battlefield has some status and resistance to certain things – if it is raining, for example, you are informed you are wet, which will make you more vulnerable to electricity spells and it decreases the defensive qualities of some weaker armors. If you are cold, you will be slower, if you are scared – you will inflict less damage and you will have bad defense and so on.
If you use the previously said like you should, it can lead to an easy battle and a quick victory. Most often, especially in the beginning, you will have to be more cautious and to play tactically correct, in order not to crush yourselves too soon. There were cases, where I started a battle with a dozen of vermin in the beginning, due to a click on a wrong icon. So – save, and save often. It is not a Japanese game and you will not be punished for being cautious. The combination of a mage and a warrior usually leads to satisfying results – the first one slows down the vermin, the other one lights up on them and he changes their faces in a turn or two. When you pass through a dozen of bigger battles, you will learn to be careful in the environment and to judge the situation.
Such an astounding beauty!
Although it isn’t made by id Software, the engine, that drives Divinity: Original Sin is a small miracle. It is light even for a mid-range class PC, easy to use (there’s a toolset for level making included) and very beautiful. You will not find super realistic scenes, deep-spaced illusions or a mind-blowing physics with a 4K resolution. Instead, you will enjoy pastel, eye-fondling colors, small details here and there and a camera, which you can rotate as you wish to look everywhere. The art design is terrific and it contributes a lot for you complete diving into the game. I already told you about the audio – I listened to the soundtrack twice, as I was writing this material and I will play it again, simply because since Transistor I haven’t listened to such an adequate and telling its own story musical setting. It is amazing!
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