Divinity Original Sin is an old school CRPG from Larian studios, the creators of the Divinity series as well as Divinity : Dragon Commander. Their latest effort, while decidedly old school, more than holds its own against more modern competition. This one is well worth a look, especially since a sequel is currently in early access on steam.
Divinity‘s story is unique, funny and engaging. You play as a pair of player created source hunters, dedicated eliminating source (dark magic). Things start simply, you are called into the fishing town of Cyseal to solve the murder of one Councillor Jake. But from there, things quickly take an unexpected turn. I really can’t say much more without spoiling things, so lets just say that the stakes are far, far higher than they first appear. Over the course of your journey you will encounter a fully voiced, diverse and likeable cast of characters ranging from undead pirates to Orc librarians. Both the writing and voice acting are top-notch and really help sell the world. The story is made even stronger by the addition of meaningful choices that affect both your characters personality and everything around you. These choices occur regularly and are almost always interesting enough to have you seriously considering your options. So as far as story goes, you’re in for a treat!
Divinity’s gameplay is smooth, deep and tactical. Each character can be assigned several different moves and spells (of which there are a huge number) depending on their stats and it all blends together brilliantly. The combat is probably most similar in style to a tabletop game like dungeons and dragons. Every party member has a certain number of action points that they may use in any way they want during their turn, forcing you to plan ahead. The enemy variety is also fantastic, some of the bosses especially are truly memorable. The imagination on display is also applied to the abilities you can use in combat. You can raise undead warriors, drop giant boulders, curse your enemies and much more. No matter what the game throws at you, there are always a number of interesting options available to take advantage of. There is of course more to the game than just combat. There are also some fairly simple puzzles, treasures to find, and people to steal from. You ca always find something fun to if you’re feeling a little battle-weary.
Graphics and Sound
Divinity looks great. It’s use of bright colours and cartoony aesthetic are a good match. The soundtrack is also fantastic, it’s light and upbeat but has enough about it to really raise the tension in combat. There isn’t much to say other than the game looks damn good.
The controls are generally reasonable, but do suffer a bit on console. The combat system utilises a hotbar and you usually wont have any trouble performing the moves you want with minimum fuss. Impact zones, effects and action point usage are all clearly displayed. Where the game lets itself down is the inventory system. It’s to finicky and takes far too long to navigate, its very easy to lose track of a particular item, especially when any one of your party members could be holding on to it. While the inventory is an annoyance, most people should be able to look past it and enjoy the rest of the game.
Do not expect Divinity to be a Diablo style breeze. There is almost zero hand-holding, the game leaves you to work most things out for yourself. For some people this could be a real turn off, but personally I enjoyed the challenge. For example when tasked with destroying a giant killer robot, you are given a remote to stop it. A lot of games would probably have the remote be a contextual button prompt, but Divinity does things differently. You actually have to read the manual for the remote and then enter the correct combinations during the fight in order to take down the robot. This is by no means an isolated example, you will often have to engage your brain and really think about how to solve a particular problem.
This is a very long game and the prospect of a second run can seem rather daunting, especially if you already did a lot of the side content. There are however extra difficulty modes and some gameplay tweaks that can make a second playthrough more interesting.