Divinity: Original Sin Review
Welcome to Larian Studios new Kickstater funded isometric RPG Divinity: Original Sin. Original Sin is the latest RPG in the Divinity franchise and is a prequel to the original Divine Divinity. Divinity: Original Sin has become Larian Studios most successful game to date not only by raising over 1 million dollars in crowd funding but also since release it has also become Larian's fastest selling game.
Once again we go back to Rivellon with all its intriguing secrets and equally wacky wonders.
it doesn’t seem that long ago since I was flying around as a dragon with a jet pack, wooing undead princesses and trying to take over the world
Indeed it doesn’t seem that long ago since I was flying around as a dragon with a jet pack, wooing undead princesses and trying to take over the world. This time however we return to Rivellon in a more traditional sense in the form of a top down isometric RPG. Traditional not being a bad thing mind you, as Larian have taken every old school mechanic which they have then spruced up with some modern day flavour and some Larian magic to boot.
As you start the game you'll enter the character creation menu. In Original Sin you start off with a party of two. There's plenty of customization to be had in character creation in terms of stats, skills and abilities. However there’s not an astounding amount of cosmetic customization when it comes the the character model appearances. You'll be given plenty of pre existing classes to choose from all of which are great starter builds but the option is there for you to change anything and everything you wish to create your own unique build.
Graphically Original Sin is a treat, the graphical fidelity of the game is both beautiful and stable.
Everything from spell effects to the detail on rock faces is great to look at. One complaint I do have is the character models. I certainly think they could have been done to a higher standard. One thing that did stand out was the character animations especially during combat. Spell animations in-particular are a favourite of mine. It's rare to find a RPG with spell animations that look and feel authentic. When you cast a bolt of lighting it really does look, sound and feel like your character is harnessing the power of the lighting through their body and unleashing out onto an unfortunate foe.
Speaking of things sounding right: both sound effects and the musical score hit the mark.
The games soundtrack in-particular is a fantastic listen, something that the Divinity series has become known for over the years and original sin once again brings forth a great orchestral score. While we are on the subject of sound something that was a huge disappointment for me was that the games dialogue is not fully voiced. Certain portions of the game are voiced and for the most part are done to a listen-able standard but I certainly feel that it was a big misstep for the title.
Point and click combat has become very repetitive and it's something I feel now hinders the genre more than it helps.
Lets move on to what is in my opinion not only the foundation of the game but also its shining feature, the combat. Over the years I have grown very weary of the traditional way of designing isometric RPG's, that being they all have real time Diablo style combat. Point and click combat has become very repetitive and it's something I feel now hinders the genre more than it helps. Thankfully thanks the the re-emergence of games like XCOM, tactical turn based combat is back in a major way and the turn based combat in Original Sin is nothing short of brilliant.
Movement, attacking, spells and other actions all require action points to preform in combat. Your character gains a certain amount of AP at the start of each turn depending on their individual stats, You can also save unused action points for the next turn. Combat is very tactical and a huge number of factors come into play including enemy type, strengths, weaknesses, distance, timing and more. On top of this you don't have to have all your party will you at the same time so if you spot an enemy cohort you can actually engage in combat with half of you party and then sneak the other half around the back, there by flanking the enemy thus getting not only the drop on them but also combat bonuses too.
the crown jewel of combat is the environmental factors and the ability turn the tide of a battle just by manipulating the battlefield.
By far the crown jewel of combat is the environmental factors and the ability turn the tide of a battle just by manipulating the battlefield. Everything can be used and combined for example shoot a arrow and burst open an oil barrel, then use a fire spell to set the landscape on fire. Not only does the environment help you win battles but in tougher fights it becomes essential to use everything from poison gas clouds to lighting charged pools of water. One thing I personally like about the environmental aspect of combat is that the enemy AI will use things against you. Setting traps can backfire, you can be caught off-guard by a stray lighting bolt while your entire party is standing in water. Not only does the environment help both you and your enemies but because of the way the mechanic is designed, things can escalate to utter chaos destroying both you and your enemy.
Outside of combat, the world of Rivellon is once again colourful and filled with diverse environments.
Exploration is simple and straight forward although I would have liked the run speed to be faster. There’s plenty of secrets to find across the land including chests, secret caves, puzzles and more. Original Sin's world is packed full of characters and events to get involved in, there is no shortage of things to be doing.
Speaking of no shortage of things, there’s tons of loot to be had in the game. Loot is one of the reasons we all love RPG's so much, getting all the different items and pieces of equipment. While the loot system in Original Sin is nothing new, they have put a good number of items into the game and with the crafting system on top of that so you'll be spending plenty of time sorting that inventory space out.
Levelling in Original Sin is pretty straightforward, you have attributes to upgrade such as strength, dexterity etc. You also have skills to level up such as lockpicking and class specific things such pyrotechnic for mages. Lastly in levelling you have traits, traits give a variety of effects an a example of this is the pet pal trait which allows that character the ability to converse with animals. Traits can have both helpful and harmful effects as some higher level traits may require you to sacrifice something to have.
Finally I want to talk about the story.
Larian have always been good storytellers and Original Sin is no different. The quality of the writing is good and there is plenty of quest content to do throughout the game. One thing Larian is renowned for is their sense of humour when it comes to their games and writing. Original Sin is packed with quips, references and jolly good humour. Even if it doesn't have your side's splitting, it will give you a laugh at least a few times.
Overall Larian has produced a real gem with Original Sin and a fitting addition to the Divinity franchise.
While I would have liked better character models, more voice acting and some changes here and there, it has to be said that whether your an avid RPG player or not, Divinity Original Sin is a game not only worth owning but worth playing.