Near twenty hours into Divinity Original Sin and I had yet to complete the first major quest that was laid before me. This game is a time-sink, but the most rewarding time-sink since Skyrim.
To put numbers into perspective that last two-time sinks that I played were Borderlands 2, which I sank 115 hours on to completion, and Skyrim, which took up 98 hours to finish. Divinity Original Sin clocked in at 43 hours before I even hit my first new town. Needless to say, the game is massive beyond words.
A game of this magnitude would be impressive from a large studio, but the fact that it came out of Kickstarter is to be commended. The developers had a huge vision and they nailed everything they set out to accomplish with Original Sin thanks in part to its supporters that helped fund it.
This is a classic PC RPG that most closely resembles the legendary Baldurs Gate series in its overall scope and story. But don’t think this is some simple throw back to a series that came out before many of our readers were even born, it’s some much more. Divinity Original Sin also takes some of the best aspects of modern-day role-playing games and merges these two almost completely different genres into one.
It allows for an immense amount of freedom such as in Skyrim. Here, you can go wherever you want and accomplish quests in any order you see fit. While to a player like myself who often complains about the linearity of games, many may be turned off by the self perceived difficulty level of Divinity Original Sin. But that’s just the thing, you see the game isn’t wildly difficult, instead it’s so open that you will often wander into an area that is well above your current level making you feel as if the game is cheating you (It isn’t).
I personally love this, as you learn where you can and can’t go, the game forcing you to level up in natural ways before tackling a new area. You aren’t told, go here first, then grab this stone to open up this area, then this gate magically opens after so and so. To put it simply, Divinity Original Sin doesn’t insult your intelligence and expects you to be smart enough to adapt to new situations.
On top of that the game offers a staggering amount of depth to the gameplay and narrative experience. You are given control of a two person party at the games outset and will usually control one as your lead, but you will more than likely switch back and forth as NPCs can react differently to either a male or female. What’s nice is that these characters do offer some basic class distinctions during setup, but they can become whatever class best suits your play-style during the course of your adventure. You aren’t stuck with the classes you picked when starting out and can adapt to the play style that best suits you.
They will also interact with each other during in-game conversations. These conversations aren’t just throwaway dialogue like in so many other games, but instead your characters have certain traits that will make them independent of each other. So much so that your A.I. partner may disagree with an action you are taking which may trigger a rock-paper-scissors mini-game. If you lose the game your partner will not only agree/disagree, but will change aspects of the story. You may lose out on important plot segments and this gives the game a unique flavor that begs for several replays to get the full story.
Quests are another aspect of Divinity Original Sin that is handled in a way I haven’t seen in many, many years. You will not find any exclamation point icons above the heads of any quest giver in the game. You are going to have to actively talk to every person in town to find out what’s going on and what quests may be available at any given time. This means that odds are you are going to miss a number of side quests throughout the course of play. Original Sin wants you to be a part of the world, a part of something larger than yourself by handling things as you might do in real life. It’s also important to note that there aren’t any special NPCs. What I mean is that every single character in the game can be killed, even those that hand out quests and sell items.
All of theses things would already go above and beyond 90% of the AAA games on the market, but Original Sin does one better and adds and incredible co-op campaign. Because the game has two characters a friend can jump in a control the other player. This adds an entire new level of play as they will be able to go their own way and do their own thing. They will even be able to argue with you on certain choices, just as in single-player so prepare to lose some friendships along the way. But don’t think that you are locked into only two players, oh no. Original Sin let’s you recruit two additional characters to your party and outfit them to your liking. they will even level up right alongside you. You can even let them die or dismiss one if they begin to annoy you and recruit another. It’s simply fantastic.
“But what about the core gameplay,” I hear you yell through your monitors. Well, like Baldurs it is top notch. While you do get to run around the world that’s rendered in full 3D, in a manner most similar to Diablo 3, the battles are a strictly turned based affair. Don’t think that this somehow turns into a hex-based bore fest as Original Sin uses turn-based combat to great effect. You will have time to lay out an actual strategy instead of the “See enemy/Mash attack” style of battles. Positioning is of utmost importance as well as having the best spells at the ready for the varied encounters.
You can think of it a little like Pokemon in that certain spells and weapons work better than others with the games varied enemies. Accidentally blow up an oil barrel and light the field of play on fire? Well, bust out your rain spell to quickly douse out the flames. Likewise, if some burning elementals bear down on your party you can blow up a water barrel to weaken them. Better yet, create a puddle of water under the feet of some Orcs and have one of your party members electrify it, stunning everyone that’s standing in it, including your own party. Se some gnarly skeletons up ahead, switch your Knight from his sword to a club to deal crushing damage instead. You can essentially play the same encounter in dozens of different ways, even choosing to sneak by and not engage in combat.
Enemies will also react to your personal play-style by using their inventory and abilities against you. They will move and take better positions, heal each other when they are in trouble, and generally fight with some decent A.I. You won’t be able to simply run up to a baddie and hack-and-slash it to death, unless you are looking to get your self killed.
Divinity Original Sin has more content in the full release than most games have in their core experience and additional DLC packs combined. It’s incredible to see the developers give you an entire game so robust that the thought of additional content never even crosses your mind, even if the team has already added additional content for those that crave more. While the game doesn’t revolutionize the genre, it does bring it back into the gaming scene in a major way. In fact, many players may think that Divinity Original Sin is something altogether new and original.
Oh, and if after you spend hundreds of hours on the game and think you’ve seen everything it has to offer, the developers have done you one better and included a complete toolkit to allow players to create all new adventures. This essentially means that you could play Divinity Original Sin for the next few years without getting sick of it. To be honest, if you are a fan of classic RPG’s this is something you will most likely be doing.
In conclusion, Divinity Original Sin is an amazing game that manages to merge the brilliant PC RPG’s of old and infuse it with many modern-day elements. It’s not a perfect game, but it sure has a lot less bugs and glitches that plagued Skyrim and critics showered that game with needless praise. I can’t recommend Divinity Original Sin enough and I just hope that other publications also take note of what I hope doesn’t end up as a hidden gem for the PC