Divinity: Original Sin Review

Divinity: Original Sin; the game you never knew you needed.

Divinity: Original Sin; the game you never knew you needed.

“A man with many friends is a man with many cheeses!”

I hear faintly in the distance, an all familiar phrase echoing from the local market in the town of Cyseal. My primary party member, a mage specializing in ice/water spells, aptly named Elsa after Disney’s Frozen (a guilty pleasure of mine) continues to dig up graves in the north of the city with humorous epitaphs on the gravestones such as ‘RIP In Peace’ and ‘Here lies Ana Matopia; whoosh, bam, splat and she was gone’.

Suddenly an evil cackle comes out of one of the graves I’m robbing and a small hunched over skeleton with a bomb bigger than its body emerges out of the ground. “Shit!” I thought to myself as I tried to figure out the best course of action to take to avoid my entire squad being blown to fantasy-esque smithereens.

The premise of Divinity: Original Sin is that youre a ‘Source Hunter’ commissioned to the land of Rivellon to help with a seemingly simple murder inquiry for a local official in the town of Cyseal. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is something much larger afoot. ‘Sourcery’; the cheesily-named evil magic in the land of Rivellon is evidently behind a bigger issue but without spoiling too much of the plot, expect to battle humans and monsters alike, some traditional, some a lot more unique than is commonly seen in other video games and expect to visit different lands and dimensions in order to conquer the Sourcery and save the land of Rivellon.

Divinity: Original Sin throws you in at the deep end.

There’s no guide or helpful hints for how to best utilize the character options available to you, there’s a small tutorial dungeon which teaches you the very basics of combat and the game mechanics but apart from that, you’re on your own. It’s a much needed refreshing take on video games in general, as the majority of games in this day and age are far too focused on holding your hand and escorting you through even the simplest of tasks.

An example of Divinity: Original Sin going against this increasingly frustrating trend is as soon as you reach the first city by the name of Cyseal, you hear commotion and chatter coming from the harbour. As you reach the source of the gaggle of people, it becomes apparent one of the ships in the harbour has caught on fire.

Without the game telling you, this is one of the first minor quests in the game; if you have a character with a rain spell, you’re able to put out the fire, gaining reputation and experience for your starting duo. If you don’t, you have no option but to keep walking. Even though it’s a simple and maybe to some fairly obvious solution, managing to solve it yourself is a satisfying feeling.

Larian have managed to create an incredibly immersive universe in Divinity: Original Sin.

It’s safe to say it also looks absolutely beautiful. From the bustling marketplace in Cyseal, to the torrential rain in the graveyards near the lighthouse, to the snowy plains in Hiberheim, every turn will leave you amazed and enthralled in the detail and depth to the game and world Larian have constructed alike. One of the strongest points in the game also is the humour; there are plenty of quips, jokes and references which will leave you chuckling to yourself as you prepare to incinerate a group of zombies in a fiery blaze.

At the same time however, Divinity: Original Sin has a steep learning curve in regards to the combat; if you’re fairly new to turn based combat video games, like I was, it may take you a while to get the hang of things (but trust me, the patience is worth it!). Larian crafted the environment and combat scenarios in such a way that you’re nearly always able to gain an elemental advantage as long as you make use of the surroundings; for example, a cluster of rabid dogs standing around in wet ground aren’t going to survive very long when you use an electrical spell to fry the ground beneath their feet. The same goes for orcs just coincidentally loitering around some stacked barrels of oil; a quick arrow to the barrels and a fire charge to the ground will swiftly dispense of them in a fairly warm fashion.

Sound quality and immersion is always an important feature.

And make no mistake, Divinity: Original Sin definitely doesn’t fall short in this department. Featuring a soundtrack composed by Russian/Belgian composer Kirill Pokrovsky, having previously worked on other Larian games such as Divine Divinity and Divinity: Dragon Commander. The shuffling of nearby foes you’ve yet to uncover, the shouts and cries from the harbour, the wails and screams from the creatures you exterminate; all create an immersive environment which leaves you satisfied.

The fashion in which Divinity: Original Sin came to be is an interesting tale too.

A lot of projects with seemingly infinite potential are on the crowd funding website Kickstarter, however few actually manage to receive the funding they desire and therefore few projects actually succeed. Divinity: Original Sin is one of those few however; receiving just over $1 million in pledges against their goal of $400,000, it enabled Larian Studios to create the masterpiece we’re playing today. A lot of the Kickstarter backing pledges included rewards such as naming an NPC, creating some lines of dialogue for the game etc. This meant a lot of the humour and clever dialogue in the game was created by the fans, for the fans.

Larian have genuinely created a game with infinite potential.

One of the key components in the game is the RPG Editor you receive when you purchase it; this is the exact same editor Larian used to create the entire game in their studios, which means anyone with enough time, talent and dedication can create absolutely anything they desire within the Divinity Engine.

Valve is a prime example of a company whose games have an enormous collection of User Generated Content, as their games all use the Source Engine which is very friendly for fans looking to create their own unique quests, maps and gamemodes within their games. Left 4 Dead 2, Half-Life 2 and Portal 2 are three of the most popular Valve games with a big UGC community. Another obvious example is Minecraft, where most of the long-lasting appeal for it comes from the various mods and plugins you can install, all user created.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a perfect video game, although Divinity: Original Sin comes damn close.

One of the drawbacks is the seemingly prehistoric inventory management system; repeatedly having to check if your characters are overburdened with items, making sure the specific character in your party has the item you need to use (e.g. you have to use the character with the shovel in their inventory to be able to dig up graves rather than automatically passing it across). And, while the visuals and interface look nice, it could definitely be more functional in regards to filtering and sorting the items and locating the equipment you’re looking for. Divinity: Original Sin also has a fairly lackluster crafting system when compared with other cRPG’s such as Skyrim. It’s definitely something Larian can build on for the future.

Co-op in Divinity: Original Sin is also definitely worth a look at.

Co-op allows one of you to explore one avenue of one of the plentiful quests while the other explores another, effectively progressing through non-combat quests at double the speed. With combat quests however it’s always recommended to tackle them as a party of four unless you fancy a real challenge, because even without the enemies becoming tougher the more people you play with, the combat itself is far from easy, anyway.

Larian Studios have promised to continue development in regards to updates, patches and DLC for Divinity: Original Sin for ‘quite some time’, according to Larian boss Swen Vincke. He confirmed they will continue to improve the engine, add features and build on the framework in preparation for their next title. He also said it’s unlikely Larian’s next game will be crowd-funded like Divinity: Original Sin, as he believes the crowd-funding pool is limited and should only be used by those who really need it.

Divinity: Original Sin is one of the few and far between games which engrosses me so much I’m genuinely unable to stop playing.

Taking inspiration from the classic cRPG’s such as Planescape Torment and Baldur’s Gate and obviously the original Divinity games, Divinity: Original Sin is a very welcome addition to the currently lackluster modern isometric CRPG genre. For players young and inexperienced to older, wiser, veteran gamers, Divinity: Original Sin promises to entertain and keep you ensnared in the trap of lusting for more when you’re unable to play.

Divinity: Original Sin; the game you never knew you needed.

Divinity: Original Sin Review

Divinity: Original Sin; the game you never knew you needed.

What Our Ratings Mean

About the author

Ford James

I'm a 19 year old guy who enjoys playing video games and making YouTube videos.

Divinity: Original Sin Review

Cosmic reviews Larian Studio's new kickstarter funded RPG Divinity Original Sin.

Cosmic reviews Larian Studio's new kickstarter funded RPG Divinity Original Sin.

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.

Cosmic reviews Larian Studio's new kickstarter funded RPG Divinity Original Sin.

Divinity: Original Sin Review

Cosmic reviews Larian Studio's new kickstarter funded RPG Divinity Original Sin.

What Our Ratings Mean

About the author

Cosmic Engine

Video game critic, Youtuber and Lover of tea. Youtube.com/thecosmicengine Twitch.tv/cosmicengine