As stated in other reviews and articles I’ve written, I’m a big fan of the classic dungeon crawler RPGs. Games like Baldur’s Gate, Ice Wind Dale, Diablo, and plenty of others are just a few of my favorites. That feeling of running through adventures and stories; it genuinely feels like the developers had taken some of my favorite fantasy novels and brought them to life. Epic story, adventure, and action, it was all there. I’m not alone in this either, as the last few years have seen a resurgence for the love of these sorts games in the form of remasters of the classics and brand new adventures like Pillars of Eternity, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and Divinity: Original Sin. Divinity stood out among them, as it toted a cooperative experience and combat more akin to the feel of tabletop RPGs than action. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was pretty excited to sit down and get some hands-on time with Divinity: Original Sin II.
Before I could get started, I had to create a character, and already Original Sin 2 has improved over the already stellar first game. The options have expanded to more classes, backgrounds, races, and customization options. New races include Lizard and Undead, and both are excellent additions. Undead in particular is particularly interesting, since Undead isn’t a unique race, but an option for all the playable races.
Rather than just one Undead option, you can be an Undead Lizard or a Dwarf, making the character look like a walking skeleton of that specific race. It’s a unique approach to Undead that I hadn’t seen done before; one that makes a lot of sense. I ended up choosing one of the pre-generated characters since I could easily have spent all of my limited time in character creation and wanted to play more of the game.
The way that the game controls and feels hasn’t changed a whole lot, but feels like a more solid experience from the first one. The biggest notable feature in the gameplay is the increase from 2 players to 4, since every character gets conversation options, not just the one that initiated the conversation, it can lead to some crazy moments. Original Sin 2 isn’t kidding around in their efforts to bringing tabletop gaming to the digital realm. Important decisions could split the party and change the outcome because of it. Or everyone could rally together in a common cause and impact the story that way. It’s an impressive system and I look forward to exploring it further!
The impactful decisions start right away as I made my way through a burning and sinking ship, where I made the decision NOT to return to the burning sinking ship of doom and destruction to check for survivors. The result, besides being put on the press “Naughty List”, was losing some of my companion choices, because well… they died. I completed a few combat encounters and thus ended my time with the single-player portion of the game. It should be noted that this game takes place a few centuries before the events of the first game, so having played the first one isn’t necessary.
The game looks amazing too! There’s only so much detail you can put in a game with this pulled out perspective, but they did a phenomenal job flushing everything out. The world feels full of possibility and characters look distinct. This is all important as these are the same assets available in GM Mode and makes those custom adventures amazing looking.
Being a big tabletop RPG fan, I was very intrigued by the new GM Mode included in the game. Using the game’s engine and system, GM Mode allows players to run their own campaigns, just as they would with games like Dungeons & Dragons or Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Using provided tools and assets and the option to import your own content like custom maps, character art, etc, players are put in a position to run their own stories for their friends.
The amount of customization available is insane. Want a pool of lava in the middle of your boss fight? Put it in! Have an idea for a crazy weapon to give your players? Put it in! Setting up scenarios and encounters for players is limited by one’s own imagination as the GM is in direct control of everything NPC’s do. With my short amount of time checking it out, I barely scraped the surface of what is capable. This by itself could have easily been it’s own product, but its there, in full, for everyone who buys the game.
I had a great time with Divinity: Original Sin II while I was at PAX and I’m really looking forward to the full experience Divinity: Original Sin II has to offer, especially with friends in both the cooperative campaign and GM Mode. If this at all sounds awesome to you, the game is already available to purchase!
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For more information on Divinity: Original Sin 2, check out the official website.