Difference  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Difference  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How Much of an Improvement is Divinity: Original Sin 2 Over the First Game? https://www.gameskinny.com/qoe98/how-much-of-an-improvement-is-divinity-original-sin-2-over-the-first-game https://www.gameskinny.com/qoe98/how-much-of-an-improvement-is-divinity-original-sin-2-over-the-first-game Sun, 30 Oct 2016 10:54:18 -0400 Stefano Bonacchi

Larian Studios is a Belgian development studio that created the Divinity franchise -- a series of RPGs that take a lot from earlier classics such as Baldur's Gate and Diablo. 

The series started back in 2002 with Divine Divinity, but it was pretty obscure back then and didn't become well-known until later -- when its most recent installment, Divinity: Original Sin, brought it some fame. And pretty soon, the upcoming Divinity: Original Sin 2 will hope to enthrall even more RPG fans. 

Divinity: Original Sin was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, came out in 2014, and is technically a prequel to Divine Divinity. It is set at a time of conflict between the Sourcerors -- evil and corrupted magicians who use a power called "the source" -- and an order of Mages and Knights, who devote their lives to eliminating the Sourcerors.

Such order will go on to become the Divine order mentioned in the backstory of Divine Divinity, and the main characters of Original Sin are part of it.

So where does Divinity: Original Sin 2 stand on the timeline and what is it bringing to the table?

More Story and More Depth

For starters, Original Sin 2 will be flipping the narrative point-of-view around, as it's played from the perspective of a party of Sourcerors. Thus far the series has asked players to either fight against these Sourcerors or claimed that they were evil and corrupt, so this is a very welcome change which might make for interesting developments to the background lore of the world of Rivellon.

Original Sin 2 also increased the customization aspect of character creation by allowing players to choose 1 out of 4 possible races -- dwarves, lizardmen, humans, or elves -- with each having its own strenghts and weaknesses. While this may not sound groundbreaking, it does add to what the previous installment offered in terms of classes, allowing for a nice amount of variety that accommodates more play styles.

Another interesting addition is "Origin Stories" -- questlines that are specific for each possible origin which you chose through your character background during creation. These backstories that you get to explore will further differentiate each and every possible character you could create, and make them feel more fleshed out. If the origins are well-written and different enough from each other, this is bound to be a good addition.

Better Balancing and Strategic Mechanics

The game also divides fighting and social skills into different skill trees. While leveling up, you do not have to choose between being a good fighter and a good talker, because you'll receive skill points for both trees separately. The goal of this is arguably to have characters be more well-rounded and capable of success in as many situations as possible, combat related or not. 

The combat system has also been refined and upgraded for the upcoming sequel. First of all, your defensive capabilities are now divided into Physical and magical armor, making it harder to just resist everything and creating the need to strategize about which defense to increase and when.

New to this game is an on-screen indicator that shows an enemy's visual range, which allows properly sneaky players to avoid encounters that would have led to battle with Original Sin 1's game mechanics.

Statistics were revamped as well. A new statistic, Memory, was added in -- which will be of vital importance to casters, because it determines the amount of spells they are able to use in combat. The spells that are combat-ready can be changed at any time outside of battle. 

These various additions contribute to making the game more about planning than before. In fact, each character's action points have been reduced too, making the combat more strategic and deep.

PvP and the Brawl Arena

The biggest change between Original Sin and Original Sin 2 has to do with the online component of the game. In the upcoming sequel, you can play with up to 4 friends in co-op, instead of only 2 like in the previous game. And more importantly, a PvP mode has been introduced where players can fight each other in a special Arena.

The game has been overall revamped and given some quality-of-life enchancements. The overhaul for this sequel runs the gamut from minor things like the GUI, to a better graphics engine that allows for much finer details and smoother animations overall. These, like the many gameplay changes, are only scratching the surface of what's different and new about Divinity: Original Sin 2.

All in all, Divinity: Original Sin 2 looks like it will give us harder battles, and many more things to do than its predecessor. I would consider it an improvement upon everything Original Sin offered.

What do you think? Has enough changed between the two games? Has too much changed? Will you be picking up the game when it leaves Early Access and launches on Steam? Let me know in the comments!

Why do tough games like Dark Souls still exist despite the niche audience? https://www.gameskinny.com/zodai/why-do-tough-games-like-dark-souls-still-exist-despite-the-niche-audience https://www.gameskinny.com/zodai/why-do-tough-games-like-dark-souls-still-exist-despite-the-niche-audience Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05:55:48 -0500 shox_reboot

Despite what some fans may want to argue, the gaming industry is first and foremost a business. Your favorite company? Yeah, they do care about you to a degree but they need to rake in profits at the same time. The fewer copies of games sold, the more trouble the developers are going to be in.

In order to keep copies selling consistently, appealing to mass market is the safer way to go. After all, the larger the consumer base the higher chance the game will do well.

Casuals--(not really)

The reason why games like the Call of Duty series remain popular despite there being (arguably) better choices out there offering a more immersive/realistic first person shooter experience is that they offer the path of least resistance to someone new to the game. The kill streaks, the time to kill, the way the map is laid out...it all comes together so that even the most average player on the battlefield can feel rewarded. 

These sorts of games have the term 'casual' coined to it. While I personally dislike the term since it's got a negative aspect to it--at least in the gaming world, it is true in the sense that these games don't ask too much of the player and so is more accessible to a larger portion of the player base, especially since these games are less time-consuming. 

The way most modern games are, they're designed to appeal to everyone

How then, do games like Dark Souls manage to stay relevant despite being the polar opposite of what I just described?

These games ask a lot of their players: they're difficult, require many more hours of play to master and place a barrier between the player and the reward if they fail to complete the task that is required of them. 

The game's difficulty is notorious for discouraging new people from giving it a try. One of the most common fears they have is their experience will be ruined if they get stuck at a certain point, preventing further advancement. 

This is a legitimate concern. After all, paying full retail price for a game means you're entitled to the full experience...so when a game prevents you from getting it because of its difficulty level, it makes sense that it is a turn off for some. 

Take Bloodborne's latest DLC for example. Many players were put off by the spike in difficulty, especially those who were working on a New Game +. The first boss battle is one of the toughest out of any game available right now and there are some Bloodborne players out there who've simply given up on the DLC. 

Despite this notoriety, it is precisely the approach the Dark Souls series takes with its difficulty that sets it apart from the rest.

what makes the Dark Souls games so different is that it trusts the player to figure things out their own

Yes, some people are attracted to the series for the difficulty and it's easy to see why: the way most modern games are, they're designed to appeal to everyone. That includes gamers of all ages and so games have adjusted their complexity accordingly.

Who else misses this? You know...back when you didn't have the same cookie-cutter build that other priest had?

A simpler game also requires fewer hours invested to achieve some form of satisfaction as well. We've seen games like World of Warcraft 'dumbed down' over the years (particularly with the talent system), health bars removed from first person shooters, emerging MOBAs removing the last hitting mechanic entirely...the list goes on. All of this is done for the aforementioned reasons. Honestly? It's not too bad in the grand scope of things since it allows people with less time to invest in their hobby to jump right in.

While I dislike how easy games are getting, I don't outright hate it. After all, the more people who pick up video games and realize they're more than what they used to be the better.

But... This leaves the players who want a genuine challenge feeling unsatisfied at the end of the day.

Sure, there are difficulty settings but at that point, it's nothing more than making the game difficult for the sake of being difficult. It's only a few games that managed to enhance gameplay with difficulty settings, instead of making it needlessly frustrating. 

The Witcher 3's Death March difficulty comes recommended by almost everyone since it makes you approach combat more thoughtfully, much like a Witcher should. The combat is enhanced as a result while not making you want to gouge your eyes out.

There is a common misconception that the Dark Souls series is just that, a difficult game that was made for the sake of being difficult.

This is not true.

The series uses its difficulty in a way to enhance the player's experience. The game doesn't hold your hand or go out of its way to explain everything to you. In that way, what makes the Dark Souls games so different is that it trusts the player to figure things out their own, something that newer games forget to do. If a boss trounces you, it doesn't give you helpful hints or reveal an obvious weak point. It allows you to make your own mistakes until you finally figure out what to do.

In regards to the story, the game never outright tells you everything, leaving you to piece the clues together and even then your interpretation of the story will probably be different to someone else since there are certain things that can be easily missed by the player.

It's all rather refreshing and adds to the experience since the player is in for just that with the Dark Souls series: An experience.

Only the players who understood the significance of a certain item were allowed to access this ending to Bloodborne

If a game is guiding you through everything, explaining everything, offering you little resistance, then it is less of an experience and more of you just being another passenger along for the ride. Which is more valuable? An experience or the opportunity to bear witness?

That is the reason why the Dark Souls series has grown from being a niche hit to what it is today. 

While the series has gradually become more accessible to new players, it has been unrelenting in its difficulty. It doesn't worry about the mass market appeal, instead focusing on giving the player the experience that only a Dark Souls game can offer and it is that much more successful for it.