Sunday, July 6, 2014

Divinity Original Sin Review

Now I must admit, I wasn't part of the original Kickstarter on this one. As it was launched around the time I was suffering from a now common affliction called Kickstarter fatigue. 

In hindsight, that was a mistake. 

I'm about 12 hours in and enjoying myself immensely. The game is a breath of fresh air in a genre that seems to be obsessed with chasing wide open world and often forgetting to put anything interesting in them. In Divinity every part of the gameplay map servers some kind of purpose. From providing place to find a secret to an interesting spot for one of the games tactical turn based encounters.

And it are these encounters that are the highlight of the game for me. Taking the rich tactical options of games like Baldurs Gate and more recently the original Dragon Age and putting them in a X-Com like framework with actions costing a set number of points. Unspent points carry over to the next round adding an even deeper level of strategy where some spells and abilities require you to save some points from the previous turn. That's on top of an already very varied menu of tactical options.

I'm playing as a Ranger and Cleric. Which gives me access to a number of archery abilities, tens of special arrow heads from standard exploding and poisoning to steam and smoke screens. On the Cleric I get healing, buffs and the ability to cast a number of offensive spells. You're never at a loss for options.

Apart from the two "main" characters you can swap additional characters in and out of your party. Supplementing your two mains. Just for the combat, Divinity: Original Sin is worth the price of admission.

That doesn't mean other areas are underdeveloped, graphically the game looks better than most most higher budget commercial games and those graphics are backed up by some great sound effects, okay voice acting and the usual suite of fantasy music. Again, the battle music is the standout here which is good because some of the battles tend to last in the tens of minutes.

The story so far has been a bit slow going, taking me through a traditional murder investigation plot while funnelling me from area to area. While the game is essentially non-linear it's the enemies levels which in practice gate you from certain areas. There is simply no way your level 3 guys will be taking out that mob of level 5 Orcs without either a lot of luck or patience. Better try again when you've levelled up a bit. But the setup of the story is promising and I will certainly be playing more of it to see where it goes.

All in all, I recommend you pick this one up if you're a fan of classic RPG's and tactical battles. Those of you looking for an open world RPG or a more MMO like experience will not find what you're looking for here.