Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition is out now and I absolutely love the Divinity series, my favourite titles being Divine Divinity, which is very similar to the original Diablo with it’s play-style and a map which is a whole lot bigger; Divinity 2 (The Dragon Knight Saga), which seen the series become a third-person semi-open-world RPG, to then going back to its roots with Divinity: Original Sin, albeit with turn-based combat.
This is a series that has stood the test of time with the first game coming out 2002 and new titles every few years, not forgetting that Divinity 2 and Original Sin 1 & 2 have had Definitive Editions (Developer’s Cut in the case of Divinity 2) released around a year after an initial release of a title, and this is free for owners of the original version of the game.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is set centuries after the first game in the series. For the story, I initially struggled to understand what I was actually supposed to be doing from the off. I selected a pre-made character (Beast, the sea faring Dwarf) and decided on a Battlemage. There are 6 characters you can choose from which have backgrounds set out for them already, and you get to choose their character class from 14 available. This means you will be able to set up your character the way you want to play. You can, if you wish, though, set up a character from scratch rather than using one of the pre-built ones; the choice is yours.
Once started, you’re on a ship’s lower deck and awake on a bed with a newly-fitted glowing blue collar. These collars stifle the magical ability you have. The magic is known as Source, so you aren’t a Magician in this, you are a ‘Sourcerer’! The lower deck serves as a small tutorial area which will have you moving things about to gain access to the hold, plus some basic combat and using inventory items before you head up a level where you come across your first Magister. The story goes that the Divine used his powers to hold back the Void. He died before the events of the game unfolded. Unfortunately, the Void starts spilling over into your world (Voidwoken Creatures), and the Magisters believe that Sourcerers are responsible for this due to the Voidwoken being attracted to the Source, hence the collars and the Magisters enforcing their will.
You set off talking to a few people and working your way through the ship. As you progress, the vessel is attacked by a Voidwoken Kraken and sunk, after which, you find yourself washed up on the shores of Fort Joy which is an open air prison of sorts run by the Magisters. It is pretty cool stuff but it took a while to realise that you are setting out on a personal story, as well as one that will see you becoming the new Divine (there are a few different endings to this, becoming the Divine only being one of them).
The game is split up into 4 acts, each of which varies in how long it will take to complete unlike, say, Diablo 3. I spent a good eight hours on Act 1 alone. I am currently working my way through Act 2 with a save file telling me I have played around 12 hours on it so far. From what I understand, Act 2 is around 50% of the entire game! Each act has you doing a specific task to be moving forward (on top of plenty side quests), the first act being to remove your collar and then escape from Fort Joy. There are a few different ways to escape and I ended up doing one of the harder ones due to an enemy using a fire attack in close quarters, and killing a NPC which makes life and escape easier!
The combat is something I generally struggle with, given that it is turn-based. It’s one of the things I don’t like about the earlier Final Fantasy games, and I have yet to get more than an hour into Temple of Elemental Evil, before giving up due to the combat! I just find it a bit tedious and silly taking turns to hit each other. I prefer combat to be either the same as the Diablo series, or real-time with pause, like the recent Pillars of Eternity and the older Baldur’s Gate series of games. Thankfully, the combat isn’t quite as harsh as ToEE and I feel it is a bit easier to get to grips with. In fact, it feels similar to X-Com: Enemy Unknown in its execution.
Despite all this, I found it quite innovative when using the environment to your advantage, and I’m am not just talking about hitting fire barrels for damage. You can get a pair of teleport gloves, as an example in an early quest. With these, you could put your ranger character at a high vantage point, which will give him a damage boost. If you are fighting on a cliff edge, what is stopping you from teleporting an enemy to lower ground or into a natural hazard to cause damage?! Thankfully, these extra tricks eased the combat at times, adding an extra layer of tactics
As an example, I used the teleport gloves to deal with one enemy at a time, moving them up to a higher platform for my entire party to attack them whilst escaping from the fort. I did this as I kept getting killed when trying to assault the main gate head on with numerous enemies attacking at once.
I have to mention the sound on this. There has been a great deal of work put into the musical score which fits the game perfectly. Something I have enjoyed immensely, is that all the NPCs have voices. Secondary NPCs on a lot of games like this tend to just have walls of text to read through, so that makes a great change.
There is a Co-op play mode available where you can invite your friends to play alongside you (couch or via the internet). I haven’t had a chance to try this, given that none of my friends actually have the game. I imagine though that it will work just fine, though, and will be great if you can get a few people together to adventure along with.
After 12 hours, I feel I have barely touched the surface, and I am itching to keep playing and see how the story unfolds. Larian have done a great job bringing Divinity: Original Sin 2 to consoles. The controls are so intuitive, they just make sense. The world is beautifully crafted and the voice acting brings the characters to life. My only gripe is that the loading screens seem too big for my screen as the Larian logo has quite a bit of it missing at the bottom-right of the screen, I am wondering if it is the same in-game, but there is no option to adjust screen size to ‘TV’, either.
You can also lower the difficulty at the start of the game if you just want to play through for the story with easier combat. So on that statement I have to say that Larian has made their game accessible to everyone, which is admirable.
- Developer: Larian Studios
- Publisher: Larian Studios
- Players: Single player and co-op
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!