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Divinity: Original Sin 2 (PC) Review

October 22, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Divinity: Original Sin 2
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Divinity: Original Sin 2 (PC) Review  

What is there to really saying about Divinity: Original Sin 2? In the most simplified way, Original Sin 2 is the best PC-only game of the year, but one that takes an immense investment in the player to really get anywhere.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 starts off with you either creating your own character, or picking from half a dozen pre-made characters. Of the two, going with the pre-made character is the preferred option because each character has a unique backstory that can lead to interesting dialog choices as you play. You aren’t locked into a class if you play a pre-made character, you can be a rogue, wizard, warrior, or anything in between, and it’s up to you on what you want your character to actually be.

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Your character is that of the “Godwoken”, basically you have the potential to become a new God in the game world. At the start of the game though, you are a prisoner on an island for doing sorcery. Sorcery tends to bring Voidwoken creatures from the void and they have a tendency to kill everything, so sorcery has been generally outlawed and is prohibited by the Divine Order who run the Magisters. So the first goal is to get off the island, get the sorcery-suppressing collar off your neck, and then to awaken your Godwoken powers, fight back against the Magisters and so on.

At its core, Original Sin 2 is a 3D isometric RPG, in the vein of Neverwinter Nights, to give a frame of reference. You and your party explore different areas, undertake quests and generally kill a whole lot of enemies in between.

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Combat is a big focus in OS2 and for good reason. It’s a turn-based affair where you can move, attack and use skills based on how many action points (AP) you have. You generally have 4 AP at the start of a fight, with moving around taking 1 AP (or more, depending on how far you want to travel), with basic attacks taking one AP, while flashier/more damaging attacks can take 2 or even 3 AP. Shooting your arrow with your archer takes 1 AP, but firing off your laser death ray will take 3. If you skip your actions during your turn, the remaining AP will be added to the pool during the next turn of your character. At the top of the screen you can see the order which characters will go next.

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The real big thing about the combat with OS2 is that the environment plays a big role in what is going on. If it’s raining on the stage, your characters can get a “wet” status effect, which affects spells like lightning. Or, if you are in a graveyard, you can get a “stinky” status, which affects enemy characters getting close to you. This can be an advantage and disadvantage, as you might expect.

You can throw a boulder on the ground with one spell that causes oil to surround the impact zone. Then with another character (or even the same one), you can light that oil on fire with something that causes flame. Then you can start teleporting enemy forces into the fire, so they get incinerated. That’s a small example of the systems going on in the combat, which can make it a challenging game.

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Not only do you have to worry about the environment, you have to worry about the placement and positioning of your characters. You might think it’s great to just roll around in a big group of your characters to fight against enemies, but that’s a good way of getting roasted. Enemies have a nasty tendency to fire off an AOE (area of effect) spell as their opening attack, and if your group members are together, they all get hit. So you need to kind of micro-manage, to a small degree, your characters. Your archer, if you choose to have one, should go on high elevations because they can get a range bonus. Or rogues can get a backstabbing bonus, if you attack an enemy from the rear.

There is honestly a lot more to the combat, if you choose to engage it, stealthing around, using your Source (God) powers, managing your different abilities, and so on. The combat system alone is deep and can be fairly unforgiving, if you don’t approach it from a prepared state.

Combat is really only one part of Divinity: Original Sin 2 though, and arguably the other biggest system is the writing and quests. There are hundreds of quests for you to undertake in the game, ranging from simple quests to killing a group of enemies, to multi-stage quests involving you hunting down treasure, or finding new Sorcerers to unlock new Source powers or abilities. A lot of the quests are really involved and can require you to make difficult moral choices, based on your alignment. Not only do you come across a metric ton of side quests as you play, but your character, and your party members (if you choose to have them) each have their own quests and motivations. They also have their own attitudes, which can be raised and lowered based on dialog choices. If you tick them off enough, they can just straight up leave the party.

You can talk to almost everyone, including pets. There is a ton of voice acting in the game now, every character is voice acted. The game also looks beautiful, you can see a ton of detail when you zoom in on your characters, and the flashy spell effects can be beautiful, as they bring your enemies to their knees.

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For all the good the game has in it, I only really noticed two issues. I used a controller to play, and on very rare occasions a phantom input (usually right) would trigger in the inventory or hot bar, and would just cycle forever. This would necessitate a restart of the game. The other issue I noticed is the map would get full of quest icons and objectives, which is fine. But even after I completed a quest, the icons would still be on the map.

Oh, this wasn’t a huge issue, but each character has their own inventory. This can get kind of annoying having to keep track of which items can go with which characters, or trying to track down a specific item and not knowing who had it last. This is the smallest of all nitpicks though, and just something that bugged me in spots.

The last thing I’ll really touch on, and one I need to reiterate, is that this is a very challenging game that will test your mettle. Expect to get wrecked often in the early parts of the game, as you are just coming to grips with the combat system and the way the environment can impact your characters. This isn’t a negative thing at all, but it is something I want to give fair warning about. This is a difficult game, even on normal (thankfully there is an easier mode you can always go into), but you will really have to plan ahead if you want to be successful in the game.

10
The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
As engrossing as Divinity: Original Sin 2 is, it is matched by its complexity and depth. It is one of the most complex RPGs on the market today but one that is incredibly rewarding if you stick with it. The writing, characters, and various different systems all make this a fantastic RPG. If you like roleplaying games on PC at all, it is well worth a buy.
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