Divinity : Original Sin 2 - Critique
Some rats will never hear right. The other day, I met one at the top of a flight of stairs, and the latter asked me if the crucified zombie creatures just below us were dangerous, to which I replied by l affirmative. But this rascal imagined that I was lying in my own interest, and decided to attack them ... before ending up toasted by the lightning bolts that spurted from their mouths. I warned you little guy. I, who had always imagined that conversing with animals would open the doors of deep wisdom, I was forced to admit that such interactions in Divinity: Original Sin 2 proved above all that they were as stupid as us.
Such moments are among the main reasons that make me love the new adventure of Larian Studios so much. This is one of the most brilliant RPGs released in years, especially if you are a fan of the "old-fashioned" isometric approach adopted by the inescapable Baldur's Gate which helped define this genre at the beginning of 90s. But unlike Obsidian's (excellent) Pillars of Eternity, applied and inspired copying is not the main objective here. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a masterpiece where excellence shines at all levels, whether it is its wide possibilities in terms of character choice, its rewarding combat system or all these small interactions, such as my discussion with the rodent, who make his world giving pride of place to Fantasy as fantastic as credible.
Do not imagine that it all comes down to conversations with rodents. It is above all a great adventure, filled with high-fantasy quirks that affect the world in which you evolve, and which rests less on Tolkian absolutes than on the darker and more nuanced morality that makes the universes of Dragon Age and Game of Thrones so attractive. Original Sin 2 has important claims about marginalization and exclusion, choosing to focus on the characters known as "wizards of the Source", enslaved by the rest of the world through magic necklaces which the protects from their unique abilities. If you discover the saga, no need to worry about the universe portrayed by the first part released in 2014. This sequel takes place centuries later, the context of the time and the characters of Divinity: Original Sin entered the legend, and this new adventure brilliantly develops its own intrigue.
The narrative itself alternates in a remarkable way serious and light moments, a delicate balance which was sometimes lacking in the first Divinity: Original Sin. It is also extremely rich, from descriptions of the narrator to the most personalized responses of specific races or fully dubbed characters. This quality also extends to side quests, which are distinguished not only by their writing, but also by the way they are discovered. As with many other things in this world, Original Sin 2 encourages you to experiment and look for them in the strangest places, since they do not appear as a yellow exclamation mark above a NPCs. Sometimes you will come across the ghost of a knight impaled for centuries playing hide and seek with the child you clicked on out of curiosity.
Not to spoil anything, Original Sin 2 is as graphically sumptuous as any other game of its caliber. Everything on the screen shows the extreme attention to detail and placement, from the delicate arrangement of the vegetation on a sandy beach to the animations of a Winter dragon recognizing after being released from its chains . The title is also magnificent, offering particular importance to the little stories of objects and NPCs, when other games of the genre use them for purely "decorative" purposes. Talking to a random character can allow you to discover touching stories, which, if they have no impact on the plot, are nonetheless particularly moving and enriching. Animals, as mentioned above, often offer you a completely different view of events if you have the Pet Friend ability to talk to them. One of the best moments offered by Original Sin 2 is to search the surroundings for these little wonders.
Other RPGs do this too, but Original Sin 2 manages to stand out thanks to its well-written intrigue taking place in a living world that offers you impressive freedom and flexibility. It's not enough to argue or fight to end most conflicts: instead, the game allows you to use unconventional tactics like teleport spells to bypass puzzles and excessive NPCs. You play a character whose powers affect the world around him, but you have the pleasant feeling that the world imagined by Larian is not there only to respond to your whims. Sometimes, an NPC playing a key role in one of the long-term side quests can for example die during a chance meeting if we do not intervene quickly enough, which will prevent you from knowing the sequence of events until what you start over (or reload) a game.
Few modern games are brave enough to block major content like this based on your decisions or those of your partners, and this approach gives these choices crucial importance. Even more impressive, creative solutions and disastrous interactions like these never hinder your ability to complete the main quest, which implies that Larian has thought about all the possible consequences flowing from the approach you choose to complete a quest. All this greatly contributes to making this world realistic and credible.
In reality, this degree of freedom can even cause friction if you play in cooperative mode (up to 4 players), especially knowing that your acolytes can - as in real life - choose to flee or go about their business, and thus completely changing the way you run your business. NPCs essential to the completion of certain quests can die while you sell your junk in town. Different players can collect the various pieces of cursed armor that is of interest only when worn by a single player, and the bonuses it offers become useless if you cannot agree to it. topic. And, of course, it sometimes happens that they refuse to lend you a hand during a fight, which makes your victory even more hypothetical than when you select the (already very demanding) normal mode.
Among the many interesting things that Original Sin 2 offers, the arrival of the "Game Master" mode which allows you to create personalized scenarios in real time with your friends (like the Dungeon Master during a paper game / Dungeons and Dragons pencil), which turns out to be particularly fun and increases the replayability of the title once the main story is finished. I did find, however, that the unpredictable nature of the standard cooperative campaign mode also transcribes the unique approach that makes Dungeons and Dragons so much fun, although, as with any game that requires a cohesive and coordinated team to be successful, you will get more out of this mode. co-op by playing with friends you trust, rather than random gamblers in the game lobby.
The strengths of Original Sin 2's very free approach are revealed from the character creation screen. You can choose to play one of the five races - human, elf, undead, lizard and dwarf - and select your class from a dizzying number of predefined models like the Sorcerer or the Metamorph, knowing that the latter allows you to change towering critters into chickens, or turning their arms into tentacles. A little too eccentric for your taste? The good news is that Original Sin 2 adopts an open class system, so you can become something different depending on the spells you learn and the points you assign to your character. And these are not simple cosmetic choices: the racial tensions and the innate skills of the heroes allow each character to differentiate themselves from the others, and creating a team made up of a member of each race demonstrates the usefulness of the diversity. Elven NPCs will no longer be more willing to come to your aid or accede to your requests if you have one of their representatives on your team, and the mere presence of an undead may seriously irritate certain NPCs who will then respond curtly to the other characters.
You can create fully personalized characters if you wish, but I find that Original Sin 2 is fully appreciated when you choose one of the six pre-designed "Origin" characters who take advantage of their own story. Quite simply because each of them benefits from a wide range of personalized dialogue options (and therefore fully doubled responses when interacting with NPCs). Take Sebille: a dangerous elf who wishes to take revenge on the lizard who enslaved her and forced her to commit unspeakable acts. She engraves the names of her victims on her arms and - like any good elf evolving in a dark-fantasy universe - can also chew the members of her victims to learn more about the past life of their unhappy owners. Next comes Lohse, an unhappy soul whose body is subjected to the worst ill-treatment by demons and spirits, which pushes it to fart the lead during the most untimely moments. My favorite is undoubtedly Fane, an undead scholar several thousand years old (who expresses himself strangely with a decidedly non-Skeletoresque diction). The clouds of gas that can kill others in your troop absolutely do not bother him - quite the contrary, since he is treated by swallowing poison and inhaling these toxic swirls. He can also pick locks using his bony fingers. But these skills come at a price: when he struts around without a helmet or magic mask, Fane can terrify key NPCs and push them to attack him ... or to escape.
The "Origin" characters that you do not choose can become your potential companions. But their respective goals and ambitions can create tension, and it's sometimes fun (and terrifying) to see them come into conflict. Take the example of Sebille. The Red Prince, a lizard who hunts down "Dreamers" whose visions can allow him to better protect his empire, finally finds one of their representatives near a beach. But it turns out that Sebille also wants to chat with this Dreamer. I authorize him to do so, and this last slices the throat of the unfortunate to the great anger of the Red Prince. It turns out that I could have avoided this carnage by refusing to comply with Sebille's request. Similar events can even have devastating consequences if you don't make regular backups, but I appreciate the fact that they force you to make careful decisions when it comes to choosing who to entrust a quest with.
Better still, these kinds of pleasures are not limited only to the countryside. Original Sin 2 also offers an Arena mode that allows you to face other players in PvP at any time.
It certainly happened to me to note some small bugs, but they were minor problems, like NPCs refusing to speak to me or puzzles that cannot be solved without reloading a game. These little annoyances perfectly symbolize the overall functioning of Original Sin 2, so much so that I sometimes asked if it was a bug or if I had to lift a curse first to be able to tackle it. Either way, Larian quickly posted effective fixes to address these issues.