I first learned of Divinity: Original Sin when it was released, but I’ve been playing another game at that time, and I wasn’t keen on spending money on something that I didn’t know much about. Then the positive reviews poured in, and my gaming friends started mentioning it more and more often, so I added it to my wishlist, but of course, I had plenty of other games to play… But in the end I craved for some old-style cRPG, so the game got its chance. And I tell you, it didn’t waste it for sure.
Divinity: Original Sin greeted me with beautiful music. The graphics, even though vivid and colorful, didn’t fall into the “cute” department, promising classical fantasy, and character creation process only repeated that promise. To my surprise, the choice of the classes was much wider than the standard warrior-rogue-mage-cleric setup. I was also surprised with the game asking me to create two main characters: a male and a female. I happily made a warrior and a witch, named them Kamira and Veelk after the characters from my novel just for a bit of a giggle, and I set out for the adventure.
The introductory story sparked my curiosity, though it wasn’t particularly original: a pair of the source hunters gets sent to a seaside town with a mission of solving a mysterious murder, but when they arrive, it turns out there’s more at play. The undead besiege the town, and orcs keep raiding it from the sea…
The controls turned out to be easy enough, and the turn-based combat allowed a lot of time to get used to it. The game mechanics are quite intuitive and self-explanatory, though at the same time they offer a plethora of options when it comes to skills being used, so it pays off to get an idea of what is what and then… restart the game. I didn’t and even though I found my initial choices good enough, I’ll definitely have a second play through with even more thought over skill sets for my characters and companions. The magic is rich and useful, and it offers a lot of innovative environmental interaction (heed my advice and NEVER use a fire spell if you’re standing in a cloud of poison…), which brings the battle to a whole new level: let one mage call the rain, the other freeze the puddles and get your breath back watching your enemies slipping on the icy surfaces.
Battles aside, the game offers quite extensive crafting system, though producing items might get a bit tedious at times with the repetitious drag and drop routines. Also, as the game progresses, it’s becoming difficult to make something worthwhile, and the game doesn’t match the excitement of finding Rathian’s Ruby in Monster Hunter for that one piece of armor or finally having enough dragon scales for a full set in Skyrim. It’s still fun though.
As for the story itself, Divinity: Original doesn’t offer too many surprises or shocking plot twists, and some things will become obvious to seasoned gamers (and readers for that matter), but it’s executed in a skillful way, and offers some humor along the way that smooths the cliches and adds to the positive feeling of living through an exciting adventure (as opposed to oh-so-deadly-serious overly dark stories). It also amused me that the two main character often tease each other or joke. The world is interesting enough, with a bit of unique flavor to the known tropes, and discovering its secrets gives a lot of satisfaction, and even if the game itself is somewhat linear, it offers enough choice for the player to have a feeling of freedom.
The game is also text-rich, with multiple dialogue options and backstory for the characters and a lot of world-building, which many times turn out not only interesting, but also relevant to plot (unlike what I’ve seen in another highly praised game, Pillars of Eternity), and each of the NPCs we can recruit to help us in our quest has their own personal storyline that we get to uncover as the game progresses. Personally, I found them quite rewarding.
All in all, the game was very entertaining, and its rich world definitely got some creative juices flowing. With the Enhanced Edition out, I look forward to playing it again, and I keep my fingers crossed that Divinity: Original Sin 2, which is being developed, will run on my laptop.
- Story: Very High
- Immersion: Very High
- Inspiration: Very High
- Relaxation factor: Very High
- Procrastination risk: Very High
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.