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Divinity: Original Sin – First Impressions

by Kyle Hanson

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Whether or not you enjoy Divinity: Original Sin will come down to what you expect out of the game. Divinity: Original Sin sold itself on Kickstarter as “an old-school cRPG with new ideas and modern execution”. It is intended to bring back the classic PC RPG style in a new way, and it does so in a near perfect way. So if you want to experience a classic PC RPG then it will hit all the right buttons and become one of your favorite games of the year. However, if you are looking for a more casual, or simple experience then you will likely come away frustrated.

At any point you can have four characters in your party, each with their own stats and inventory

The best way to figure out whether or not you will enjoy Divinity: Original Sin is to simply look at the party system. At any point you can have four characters in your party, each with their own stats and inventory. You will level them up, and choose special skills and abilities, all separate from each other and totally on your own. There is little to no tutorial for how to level your character up, or even what types of characters to create at the beginning of the game.

In my relatively short time with the game I have already had to restart once due to poor class choices at the beginning. I had tried to play the game as I usually do in RPGs, as a hand-to-hand fighter. Unfortunately my party ended up lacking enough ranged capability, and I was getting destroyed in every encounter. This is the sort of RPG that Divinity: Original Sin is, one where you can fail.

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In terms of what you will do with those characters, it is all classic RPG stuff. You go on quests as you hunt down evil sorcerers, or sourcerers in the world of Cyseal. Combat is turn-based, using an “action points” system to determine what moves you can pull off. Strategy is key, and actually ends up being a major decider in who wins battles. Saving up your points, and unleashing a stream of attacks from all four of your characters is a satisfying feeling not found in many games.

Multiplayer doesn’t just throw two parties together, you actually take charge of one of the other player’s main characters

Outside of combat there is a very cool dialogue system where all of your characters can converse amongst themselves. In my current playthrough my two main characters are huge fans of each other. They spend most of their conversations throwing praise around and talking about how great the other one is at everything they do. However, they both constantly disagree with Madora, the brawler of the group.

This conversation system also functions in Divinity: Original Sin’s fantastic multiplayer mode. Multiplayer doesn’t just throw two parties together, you actually take charge of one of the other player’s main characters. You can then argue and debate the actions the group will take, resulting is some fun arguments that must be settled with the game’s rock, paper, scissors mini-game.

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Ultimately how much fun you have with Divinity: Original Sin will come down to what you bring to the game. You can and will fail, you will definitely have no idea what to do next, and sometimes you will get really angry at what the game is doing. In the end though, it is presenting a style of game that hasn’t been around for a while, so if it is a style that you enjoy and want more of then you’d better dive in.

I’m still working my way through the world of Cyseal, so expect a full review later on.

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