Mead, wine and worn panties are just the things you’ll find in the world of Divinity as you travel across the land spanning in three great acts that captures the liveliness of the real world and the unpredictable spectacles you’ll discover in your adventures. Larian Studios has managed all of this with careful work be it the consequential decision making to keep things fresh even after consecutive playthroughs or the wonderful storytelling the game depicted throughout the game.
Divinity Original Sin 2 is a sequel yet set centuries apart from the first making it an approachable game to anyone just starting out or wished to see what made the game definitive. Characters are a mixed bag of goodies whether it’s playing with the six origin characters from the Red Prince who is both a lizard and a noble or Lohse whom is possessed by a demon. Custom-made characters are also available to play as from the lizards, humans, elves, and dwarves or to give the game more flavor, the undead of said races. Each origin character or custom one can play any role be it a fighter, a wizard or simply any of the 14 build presets while also being allowed to branch into other styles to keep things unique. And if that wasn’t enough grab a Pet Pal talent if you ever want to know what a cow’s moo means or what the last crab you just killed said on its final breath as you cooked it on the pot. Setting up a mixed bag of adventurers with different races, traits and tags like jester, outlaw or scholar also score different dialogue opportunities which is never a bad thing… ever!
Decisions are absolute and decides how you tackle a quest-line or two. Anger a magister and you get to fight them ‘til they stopped breathing. Plundering their corpses however is always fun and rewarding when some pretty sweet loots are there for the taking. Accidentally stole bread? Better get your weapons ready as everyone is seriously pissed off at everything including bread. Tackling a quest also has different outcomes and approaches, be it killing the quest giver to save someone else in the chopping board or saving your own hide as one gets the blade. It’s one of those game that makes you want to read and assess situations rather than skipping some brilliantly written dialogue because you can’t be bothered with a quick chat.
Storytelling is made using picturesque quality of a storybook and narrated beautifully that both captures and entertains the player in the fantasy world within Rivellon. In which the living beings within the realm possess an energy known as source and thus being called Sourcerers which has powers to cast spells and enhance combat abilities. When Lucian who is known as the Divine died before the start of the game, the Veil between the Void and Rivellon weakened which spawned monstrous creatures that invades the land.
As the player who just woken up with chains and puny rags, we soon realize we’re in the ship headed straight to Fort Joy and unlike its name it’s not all fun and games as it’s a fortress built to contain and keep sourcerers in line. Moments later we get interrupted with uninvited guests known as the Voidwoken that destroyed the ship yet miraculously get drifted towards the shores of the fort… convenient isn’t it? Plan an escape or live your life in chains. Time to carve your own unique adventure because the decision is yours.
Tactical RPGs were never my cup of tea but the game makes an interesting twist when there are tons of approaches you can do whether it’s going towards a fight or pleading for your life. Even before combat starts, the tactics are already set in motion. Separate each character and sneak around to place them on key locations in the area. You can secure an advantage for yourself or maybe summon a thing or two to aide you before combat even starts. Once it does commence, there are still a couple of interesting things to make the game fun and exciting whether it’s using spells of different alignments to score a combo. (Oil and fire anyone?) Or taking advantage of the already placed environmental hazards. When you can take on endless possibilities for skill customization, it’s not right to lock you in and Larian Studios thought the same. Respec your characters in order to take on a new build or optimize it once you learned the ropes at no additional cost!
Everything is shiny and I don’t hate it! As an RPG fanatic, it’s not enough to have one rarity to rule them all when you can have all six! Ranging from Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, Legendary and Unique in which getting higher rarities give more traits and bonuses to gear and at times a tied-in skill to make hoarding better and better. Crafting potions, skillbooks and even equipment is there for you to dig deeper in the world. Reading books scattered in the world lets you learn recipes to make them and gathering materials in the land of Rivellon become as easy as using the search button or highlighting them in the visible area.
Graphics and the level design just stands out in every way. Areas are compact and full of things to catch your attention be it a troll in a bridge asking for toll fees which is honestly just brilliant! Or the undead sailor who’s willing to sail you to the other side but with a catch! How about a chained winter dragon that needs no other introduction? Every place, every cave, every dungeon or every sewer stands out and makes everything simply glorious to make you walk towards every area until nothing is left unturned. But the musical style doesn’t fall short either which gives the vibe of a true fantasy world from top to bottom. Initial loading times however are longer than I wanted them but as soon as the game boots up to the world it makes for a pleasing experience. Warping from one location to the other is done in an instant and the only thing stopping me from strolling the world is the few seconds of auto-saves in certain areas.
With all of that being said, it’s not fair to have the game for yourself when you can play the game with a friend in couch co-op via split-screen and have your own separate adventures if you wish or group up to tackle harder fights. But unless “said” friend doesn’t exist in the real world, there’s always the people over the internet to keep you from playing alone. Arena mode is also there to keep your toes from going numb as you battle with up to three other people controlling four characters with specific abilities already pre-determined. If you’re still that hard to please though, there are a couple of modes made specifically to a wide variety of player levels from the casual-friendly story mode, explorer mode that gives a slightly higher challenge, the classic mode and the tactician mode to keep the hardcore players pleased.
This is a game that is hard to pass up for just about anyone unless of course you’re someone who’d rather shoot some people in the arse with a shotgun while crazily running around in the open. So if you’re someone who enjoys a good story or wishing to explore the world under a bucket helmet and puny rags then hop on over the next ship to Fort Joy!