I am a huge fan of RPGs. As a kid I would find a new RPG and play it for months, exploring every inch of the game. Over time, I branched out from RPGs. As life grew hectic, I found myself unable to devote hundreds of hours to a single game and instead played much smaller experiences. Larian Studios released Divinity: Original Sin back in 2014 and the game immediately consumed my life. Happily, Larian Studios has released a sequel to the game, aptly named Divinity: Original Sin 2, and once again I find myself getting lost all over again.
The world of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a beautiful one. The attention to detail that Larian Studios has paid here is wonderful. Zooming into the game’s world allows all the little details shine through. Character models and the game-world look amazing, especially compared to the original game. Visuals can vary between bright and cheerful to dark and grim. Effects such as exploding barrels of oil and the freezing hail strikes all look amazing. Every little detail is lovingly crafted and cared for in this game and it shows.
While Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a sweeping adventure of fantasy and intrigue, it is also as much about the small NPCs you meet on the road or the notes you find hidden throughout the world. The world of Rivellon is alive in this game and being able to explore such a living world is a treat. Original CRPG classics such as Baldur’s Gate had amazing worlds to explore with stories that lived on long past the end of the game and Divinity: Original Sin 2 stands toe to toe with these legends. For anyone who pays any sort of attention to RPGs, it would be a terrible mistake to miss this game.
The writing in this game is amazing. From conversations with important political figures to the lowliest dungeon-dwelling rat, each and every NPC is a treat to talk to. At times I would find myself completely aghast at an idea an NPC had or laughing like mad at a wisecrack made by a party member. While the original game had issues with tone at some points with the overabundance of witty humour, Divinity: Original Sin 2 has fixed that. The story this time knows when to be sombre and reverent while also knowing the perfect moments to throw in a light hearted comment. Obviously, the main quests in the game are all written with an astounding level of quality that really helps sell the idea that you are on this grand adventure about gods, divinity, and humanity. What is truly impressive is when the game extends the amazing writing to the rest of the world. Large side stories and history can be completely missed by the player yet Larian Studios still took the time to make these stories just as well written as the main plot. Sometimes, the child you decided to play hide and seek with will lead you to an ancient knight, living a cursed existence and impaled on a spear thrust into the wall. Other times, you will simply talk to a crab about how it is truly the strongest wizard in the game and will rule the world.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 doesn’t stand alone in having a well-written story. Many other games have such amazing writing. What helps this game stand apart from the rest is how well that story is implemented in this world. Never once did I feel like story and world are separate in this game. This is due to the immense freedom Larian Studios gives players. If I decided that I wanted to kill an NPC because I didn’t like the tone of their voice, there’s no chance of the character surviving with one health and getting up again. One time, I killed an NPC for a companion only to find out that they had information that could have helped me on my main adventure. It’s amazing that Larian Studios allows moments like this to happen. They never put their foot down and say, “we can’t do that”. There are entire stories in this game that can be locked away simply due to who you have in your party or what you say in conversation.
Most games provide an element of freedom but Divinity: Original Sin 2 provides this freedom through all elements of the game. This truly shines through in how combat is treated. With such an interactive world, it’s a joy to face tough combat scenarios. Laying down oil with your wizard’s spell so that your rogue can ignite it with a flaming arrow is already great. But what happens when you transform your opponent into a chicken and then teleport them into the fire? Divinity: Original Sin 2 gives you the freedom to find out.
Usually, in RPGs like this, I have no problem lowering the difficulty for tougher fights. Usually, it’s because I haven’t devoted enough time to the combat system to be able to overcome the challenge. In this game, I found myself welcoming the challenge as I never felt like I was cheated because I didn’t know how to get the largest numbers. Instead, if I lost a fight, I came back to it with renewed determination and an eye for inventive solutions that I didn’t think of the first time around.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 isn’t without bugs and faults. Sometimes an NPC would just stop talking or wouldn’t have anything to say to me. The first time one of my party members was polymorphed into a chicken they just stood still for their turn in combat. I was unable to do anything and was forced to re-load the whole combat scenario. None of these bugs were truly game breaking and with the constant quick saving I was doing, none of them impeded me.
At the end of the day, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is obviously inspired by the classics that came before it. The game reminds us of times gone by when it comes to RPG games. However, it’s more than a callback to the greats. It has become one of them. With so much freedom to do what I want and such a detailed world to explore, I want to keep coming back, with every run bringing with it things that I missed before. This game has cemented itself as a classic RPG.