“What’s a corpse doing here alone?”
“What, did you expect it to have an entourage?!”
A band of heroes is trapped in the entrance porch of a prison, the ceiling is slowly descending, in a minute there will be nothing left of them but a pile of bone dust with sand stained red underneath. A dwarf and a gnome managed to avoid the portcullis dropping behind the party. To help aid their friends they climb to the roof to disable the trap’s mechanism. They pry off roof tiles and find cogs, their first thought is to urinate on the whirling metal. The party below feel drips of warm liquid dropping on their heads. Finally the dwarf releases an almighty blow with his hammer and destroys the trap from above. Dungeons and Dragons, as I have said previously, is the ultimate in ‘do what you want’ gaming. Logic isn’t dictated by a programmer, using a door as a shield or starting a city-wide fire are completely sensible options in a world where you make the choices. For years I’ve craved this kind of logic in a game and finally I have found the best example yet in the form of Divinity Original Sin.
The Divinity games have been around for a while now and have stretched across many genres. Recently though, Larian, the studio behind Original Sin, took to Kickstarter to get funding for their latest release, then after a long period of Steam Early Access we now have the final release of the game to play on PC.
Divinity Original Sin is not for the faint of heart, this is a truly deep and complex RPG. At first the character creator looks quite simple, you’re picking the looks of your adventurers and scrolling through the multitude of classes. Then you realise that is just the surface, you then have the feats and abilities and points to share out. You can make some quick choices and let the computer auto choose for you or you can potentially create a broken character from the get go with mismatched abilities and points.
You control 2 characters at first, which means your initial choice should ideally balance the two, I chose a ranger with high dexterity and strength with an intelligent mage for backup. The pair went off for adventure starting on a beach with the hope of solving a murder. Very quickly I lost track of the plot and started falling deeper and deeper into the trap of not knowing where I was going and falling into random adventures miles away from my goal.
And that’s where we hit my only real gripe with this game, I had little clue what I was doing or where I was going the vast majority of the time. The game is a fairly standard affair for anyone who has played a game like Baulder’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights, click to move and when in combat its turn based action point spending fun. I found my way to the main city near by and started hunting for a contact, much time had passed and I realised that the game had done away with classic ‘Big Exclamation Mark’ on the map style gameplay, you needed to read signs, you need to ask questions and most of all; you need to pay attention.
Divinity Original Sin takes no prisoners when it comes to its difficulty, this isn’t a pick up and play game, this is a game that requires you to read everything on-screen; whether it’s a tip, a conversation or an item description. On one hand this is good for immersion, but after playing for a number of hours I found myself only skim reading and missing great reams of text about a potential adventure I could go off on.
The reason I brought up D&D at the start is because this game takes everything from it. If you have a fire you need to put out then just use a rain spell near by. If you have an ice familiar with you, let an enemy kill it and then they will slip on the pieces of ice, if you then melt that ice with a fire spell you can then use lightning to shock nearby enemies thus doing more damage. The game, on occasions, allows you to think outside of the traditional gaming box and try something different, sure it doesn’t always work but when it does it really feels good.
The turn based combat is amazingly strong and rather than with most turn based games it manages to maintain flow and momentum keeping you looking for that next scrap. Each character has a set number of Action Points and movement and your different attacks all take up a set amount, if you want to do one of your strongest attacks you may have to save up your Action Points for a couple of turns. This kind of freedom means that you can really get tension but also enjoyment out of most brawls. Having the party with you gives extra tactical challenge as you try to encourage flanking, attack mixes and just staying alive.
The soundtrack to this game is a thing of beauty, it hits all of your traditional RPG musical needs but also brings some new epic sounds to the party. The graphics in this game have the potential to look amazing but, be warned, this game is brutal on your machine. For a game that looks perspectively simple it has the potential to ask a lot of your gaming rig and leave it wanting. On the lowest settings, which I chose so I could enjoy silky smooth frame rate, the game still looks great but don’t be surprised if the frame rate drops during big effects sections of the game.
With a real open feel to the game and a depth that very few RPG’s are willing to strive for you can easily get your money’s worth from this game. There is multiplayer available but for the sake of not having a chaotic evil weirdo in the party I just stuck with single player. For £30 you can’t go wrong with Divinity Original Sin, this game is everything a pen and paper role player could want from their PC games, depth, fun, logic and faithfulness to its source, Divinity Original Sin has the potential to rekindle many true RPG fans feelings to the genre.