Divinity: Original Sin Review (PC)
The Divinity franchise has been around for some time, but it’s never truly became a house hold name. With various spikes and drops in quality from across the years, the franchise has never truly imposed itself upon the masses. Divinity has earned itself a rather cult following however, but its latest installment, Original Sin, could be the game to truly make a impact…at least on the RPG fan base.
Divinity: Original Sin is one of the many success stories of Kickstarter. After going over it’s goal, and garnering a lot of attention, the game went through early access and finally hit retail release. Larian Studios made it quite clear that Original sin was a ambitious project, made by RPG fans, for RPG fans. Their ambition is easily measurable in the sheer amount of content and personal touches burnt into the core of Original Sin.
In terms of role playing games, the genre has been going in the wrong direction of late. Action has began to take over the core elements that traditional RPG games are so heavy on. Original Sin feels distinctly old school from the off, and that is nothing short of glorious. Having the ability to roll a character is such a welcomed feature. The option to select each stat, trait and role is liberating to say the least. Players aren’t restricted to fulfilling a set class with all the expected skills, instead they are given the freedom of choice.
Original Sin has a interesting variation on the party system. Players are given two characters to customize and mould how they say fit, these two characters are bound together for the entire game. Both characters act as the main protagonists as they jointly venture through the world. There’s a number of points within the game where the two character can discuss matters at hand. These discussions can depend on various stats and actions the respective character has taken through the game. It’s a neat dynamic that works especially well in Original Sin’s full online co-op experience.
The trend of old school mechanics bleeds into the core combat of Original Sin. Turn based combat, fueled by action points, makes for some truly intense battles. Every action is dependent on how many action points the character has at the ready. Using action points well is the key to victory, strategy becomes a must. Planning how to make the most of each action point is where the game enters it’s true depth. One mistake or waste of action points can lead to a swift defeat.
The combat offers a truly intriguing mechanic that gives each battle it’s own dimension, especially in co-op. Spells and skill can be combined to create powerful combos, this expands the scope of each battle, halting any sense of repetition from sitting in. The true joys of the combat come in the shape of using the environment to your advantage. Spells and skills can be used to interaction with the environment, creating opportunities to cause heavy damage to the enemy. Setting alight oils, dislodging boulders are just some of the nifty tricks available at the players finger tips.
The interaction with environment isn’t exclusive to combat. There’s a number of situations in which using spells and skills on the surroundings can aid players in their exploration. Be it a puzzle, a hidden area, or just a simple short cut, these little interactions give the world a touch of life. The world itself is a character, full of curiosities and wonders. The world is huge and populated with some truly fascinating NPCs. The adventures to be had all feel like they have a purpose, be it to make the player laugh or give them that next step up in the various stories dotted around the game. At no point will the player find themselves disengaged or disinterested, there’s literally something to do at every point of the game.
While the core gameplay, and all it’s mechanics, are solid, it’s Original Sin’s charm that shines through. There’s a sense of awareness to the game and it’s writing, it know it’s market and it knows how to engage them. Humor is provided in vast amounts, making each quest and interaction with NPCs enjoyable and satisfying, rather than just a means to gain a quest. It’s not uncommon to spend 45 minutes in a new area, purely talking to people. The world has so much charm and character that the players time never feels wasted.
Original Sin’s production values are pretty slick. The visuals are vibrant and reflect the tones of the game nicely. Character modes and environments are packed with detail consistent with the world. When the spells are flying, the visuals take on a new life. Explosives colours burst into life, the audio sings proudly, it all feeds into the end experience.
The size and scale of Original Sin is something to marvel at. Creativity, charm, a immersive experience, all with a strong focus on traditional RPG values. The only issues to be found are minor quality of life problems such as inventory management and a rigid fast travel system. The main plot may be a little bit ropey, but the ‘side quests’ within the game offer a number of interesting short stories. Huge in scale, and hugely enjoyable to play though alone, or with a friend. Divinity: Original Sin is one of the best games of the year so far, easily worth the time of anyone looking for a true RPG experience.