Divinity: Original Sin review - classic turn-based RPG worth a sin
Fans of RPG games certainly have nothing to complain about in recent years - the video game market is drowning in the flood of new productions focusing on the development of the hero, casting powerful spells and fighting dragons guarding vaults bursting at the seams. What's more, more great hits are on the way and will appear on our discs in a few weeks or months. And although the epic adventures we experience while playing the role of Geralt or Dovahkiin can totally absorb them, they have nothing to do with those we experienced in the golden age of classic erpegs. Studio Larian in 2002, when creating the first installment of the series - Divine Divinity - only took the first steps in the industry, but the end result turned out to be surprisingly successful. The production, combining arcade combat like Diablo and the level of openness of the world close to Baldur's Gate, was very warmly received by all fans of the genre, giving the creators the motivation to continue working on the world of Rivellon. After a few years of break, we have the opportunity to be there again.
Although the action of the new Divinity takes place in the same universe, the whole thing takes place long before the events of the first part. Playing the role of two heroes - members of the mighty Order of Source Hunters - we set off to an unknown seaside town to investigate the mysterious murder of a local councilor. As it happens in games of this type, the seemingly uncomplicated matter quickly turns into a much larger plot, the unraveling of which also falls on our shoulders. Looking for more clues, we come across newer and newer clues that ultimately lead us to the trail of a much more serious problem. So we move forward, visiting more spooky tombs, wandering through endless caves, tearing through deserts or even visiting other dimensions. All this to fulfill not only the duty of every Source Hunter but also their destiny.
In addition to the missions closely related to the main plot, our two heroes can also engage in a multitude of side activities. There are a lot of additional tasks, and although most of them only come down to bringing an item to the right person, I did all of them with pleasure. Satisfaction with a completed task - even a trivial one like defeating a crazy snowman - is enormous, especially if you need to solve a complicated rebus to complete it. The puzzles in Divinity: Original Sin can get under your skin from the very beginning . Although with some of them my Source Hunter had to become a Single Pixel Hunter for several dozen minutes, when I finally managed to solve the whole thing, the feeling of frustration quickly gave way to immense pride. Hiding tiny switches behind the bushes that open the door at the other end of the map is a manifestation of pure sadism on the part of the developers, but it should be remembered that the best games of this genre were built on such elements.
If it happens that we are not able to cope with a given puzzle on our own, or we are simply bored with playing alone, we can invite our friends to play together. Although I was initially quite negative about the cooperation mode, it turned out that thanks to the game for two, the title gains a completely new face . It is undoubtedly influenced by the double dialogue system - each of the main characters has an opinion on a given topic, and when he does not agree with his companion, he resolves the conflict with the help of a reliable "paper, rock, scissors".
While in the case of playing alone, it requires proper empathy and sometimes the first symptoms of schizophrenia, it works really well in cooperation and turns any opportunity for dialogue into great fun. Our comrades also quite often throw in their opinions, although this particular element is not particularly successful . Their stories and imposed personalities at the very end of the game turn blushes, but most of the time they throw numb clichés and it's hard to shake the impression that their lines have been written on your knee. Were it not for the fact that they can be useful in combat, my duo of Hunters would most likely travel only among themselves.
Exactly, a fight. After all, it is not just a conversation that a person lives on, so our proteges willingly reach for their weapons in the breaks between subsequent dialogues. Unlike the previous parts of the series, Divinity: Original Sin offers players a fully turn-based combat mode. And not just any, because it puts a very strong emphasis on strategy, character positioning and the ability to properly use the environment and the reaction between individual elements. Although I have not realized it so far, it is probably this element that I miss the most in contemporary productions. The need to plan a fight in Divinity really captivated me, and devising the right spell combinations to maximize damage is surprisingly much fun and makes each fight a completely different experience. If we add a really high level of difficulty to the battles, we get one of the most interesting and engaging systems, which gains even additional points during demanding boss fights.
During these clashes, however, the greatest drawback of Divinity is revealed - the camera work, which makes it very difficult to target enemies, and a clumsy interface . Although everything looks perfect at first glance, after prolonged use of the title, I cursed the creators for the trouble they did in this matter at least a dozen times. The camera often unexpectedly changes its position, and the characters we try to hit jump in a rather random way - this often leads to a situation in which we click right next to the beast, and our hero, instead of dealing a fatal blow, simply starts running towards the enemy. Hundreds of times during the game I also "skipped" my turn due to holding the key too long or accidentally pressing the spacebar twice. The lack of any safeguards in this regard often causes a lot of frustration and ruins all the moves that we managed to plan during the fight. As if that was not enough, the game does not allow you to quickly cancel the dialogues you have started, so when you accidentally click on any of the characters you have to wiggle the mouse furiously across the screen. In fact, these are minor inconveniences to which I was able to get used to after some time, although I must admit that even after nearly 50 hours of play, I still cannot get over the fact that these problems were not noticed during the tests.
Equally surprisingly - although in this case in the most positive sense - the game presents itself from the audiovisual side. Throughout the game, of course, we watch the action from an isometric projection. The locations we visit are extremely detailed and look equally effective even in very close-ups. The sight of undulating, single blades of grass, butterflies sitting on flowers or even the red gilt splashing with blows, are just some of the many details that build a world full of stunning views, at which I just had to stop at times.
The wonderfully composed soundtrack also helps in enjoying the picturesque landscape. It fits perfectly with the events on the screen and perfectly builds the mood of the adventures. Although I listened to it for several dozen hours, I never had enough of it. Compared to the previous parts, some of the songs sound strangely familiar, but considering how high the level of the compositions by Kirył Pokrowski has always been constant, it is difficult to make any accusation about it.
Despite some minor flaws, the game looks really great and I can honestly recommend it to anyone who has missed this type of gameplay. Support for the modding community is an additional promise that even after completing the official campaign, the item will still have a lot to offer fans.
However, I must admit that out of the four great erpegs founded on Kickstarter (apart from Divinity, I mean Torment: Tides of Numenera , Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2 ), I waited for Original Sin with the least enthusiasm. The time spent traversing Rivellon turned out to be wildly successful, making Larian's title arguably the best isometric RPG since Baldur's Gate II . If this is the future of this forgotten species, we are in for some great times.