(Rating System: There are five categories that are each receive a rating of one through five with one being the lowest possible score and five being the highest possible score. At the end, the scores of each of the five sections are compiled together to create an overall score for the game.)
Ultima, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Diablo, Fallout… these are all games that I’ve seen compared to Divinity: Original Sin. I have varying levels of experience with each of the above games but I can definitely say that Divinity: Original Sin is a great, new addition to that genre of role-playing video game. It has turn-based, tactical team combat with decisions that have real (in-game) consequences based on the choices that you make. The game is very interactive and the world is very reactive to what you do. It has a single player mode and a unique co-op mode, if you’ve got a friend you want to play the game with. If you are a fan of tactical RPGs, you need to give this game a shot because it won’t disappoint.
Fun Factor (Score: 5/5)
This is a no-brainer, I really, really enjoy this game. I had been looking for a co-op game that I could play with some friends of mine. I saw Divinity: Original Sin and decided to give it a shot. I told a good friend of mine about it and he purchased the game as well. We immediately created a co-op campaign and started scheduling time to play it together.
At the beginning of the campaign (single player or co-op), you create two characters. Although the game has a ‘classless’ system, there are several archetypes that you can choose from: Battlemage, Cleric, Enchanter, Fighter, Knight, Ranger, Rogue, Shadowblade, Wayfarer, Witch, and Wizard. You can modify the appearance, attributes, skills, and talents of the character when you start. I chose to play a Wizard and my buddy chose to play a Knight.
After character creation we were quickly drawn into the game. I specifically enjoyed two things in the beginning: the game was easy to learn and easy to get into. There isn’t a long and complicated tutorial on how to play the game that has little or no bearing on the primary story line. We were immediately thrust into the main story line and quickly picked up how to play.
There are so many aspects to this game that I love. The game has a very reactive and living environment. If you cast a freeze spell on water it can turn in to ice. If players or NPCs walk over that ice, they can slip and fall. If you cast a fireball on the ice it will melt it. Characters can be lit on fire, but that fire can be put out with rain. There is so much strategy when interacting with the environment that it is very fun and thought-provoking in combat.
There is a deep and epic story that unfolds as you play the game. This isn’t just some ‘go here and do this mission for experience’ game. I’ve noticed that quests (for lack of a better term) sometimes appear to be very simple and balloon into a much bigger plot line. My friend and I are very engaged in following up with leads and trying to find out exactly what is happening in the storyline.
The classless character creation system is very enjoyable and really lets you play the type of character that you want to play. I’m playing a fairly traditional pyromancer (aka Fire Wizard). My friend is playing a very non-conventional Knight/Hydrosophist. He essentially is a tank that summons ice elementals and also casts water-based spells.
And finally, the co-op portion of the game is really, really fun. You can have between two and four characters in your group (but only two players maximum). The way my friend and I play is he controls two and I control two. We each have a primary character (that we created) and a secondary character (that we found in-game). We play our characters how we want and it has different results in different scenarios. The play is very unique, rewarding, and a huge part of the game in my humble opinion.
Control and Gameplay (Score: 5/5)
My general rule of thumb is if I’m having trouble playing a game, other people will too. This game is extremely easy to pick up and learn. I didn’t make any modifications to the controls of the game what-so-ever. If you’re familiar with this type of tactical roleplaying game, you’ll have an even easier time picking it up.
The only thing that I noticed that might be slightly different with regards to control and gameplay is the point-to-click movement. The further away your mouse is from your characters the faster they will run. The closer the mouse is to your character the slower they will run, even slowing down to a walk. I’ve heard some people that are used to Diablo point-to-click movements complain about this. They want their movement to be at maximum speed no matter what. In all honesty, I consider this feature an improvement because there were certain situations where my friend and I wanted the ability to slowly walk up and check an area out. It’s a completely minor issue (in my opinion) that I’ve heard a few people voice concerns over since you can’t currently change that feature.
Graphics (Score: 5/5)
The graphics for the game are pretty polished and should remind most players of Diablo. The game strikes a pretty good balance of graphical clarity with performance. The game looks nice and plays really well without an extremely beefy computer to run it on. It is very comparable to other games within its genre.
If I had one knock on the graphics it would be that there aren’t too many character appearance customization options. That may or may not be big for many people. I personally am not a fan of having thousands of shades of color for skin color, hair color, eye color, or being able to change exactly how my nose is shaped or how sharp my jawline is. I think there is a happy medium between being able to customize your character quickly and efficiently without providing ridiculous amounts of options. This game is a tad light on the overall character appearance customization.
Sound (Score: 5/5)
The sound to the game is very enjoyable. The musical score is pleasant to listen to and the sound effects are really fun. I especially enjoyed when I was in combat using a power and some unintended consequence happens. Your Wizard casts a fireball which accidentally ignites the puddle of oil on the ground next to your target, which then explodes and accidentally destroys the barrel of poisonous gas next to it, causing another chain reaction (you get the idea). I had plenty of moments where my audible fireball boom was much, much larger than intended. My friend and I always started laughing when that happened.
There is a mix of text dialogue and audible dialogue in the game as well. I remember a particular battle versus some undead. The undead king, queen, and minions were talking the entire fight. My friend and I were blown away with the dialogue they were having while we were fighting them. It is extremely rare to see that in a video game and a very pleasant surprise to players that love the roleplaying aspect of games (which I do).
If you are playing co-op with a friend, I highly suggest some sort of voice communication program like Mumble, Ventrilo, Teamspeak, etc. There are many situations where you will be working on a challenge or puzzle that this will be extremely helpful with. The game does have in-game chat (typing) but not an in-game voice chat. And honestly, that is completely fine with me because most in-game voice chats are inferior to dedicated programs like Mumble, Ventrilo, or Teamspeak.
Replayability (Score: 4/5)
The only knock I would have on the game would be replayability. The game is extremely fun and the characters can be customized in pretty unique ways with their attributes, skills, and talents. You can also put together different party configurations which can change how you play the game. Do you want your group to have a traditional tank, healer, melee DPS, and ranged DPS feel? Or do you want four wizards nuking everyone to death? Or do you want four hybrid characters with completely unique setups for each? All of that does lend to the replayability to the game.
However, the story line will be very similar for all campaigns from what I’ve seen. Yes, you can choose to help or hinder certain factions in the game. Your choices do matter to an extent. But I contemplated playing another campaign with a different friend of mine and I think that I would not find it nearly enjoyable as the first time of playing the game. A lot of the joy is trying to figure out the puzzles and different mysteries in the game. Knowing the answer to many of them would take away some of my enjoyment with the game.
I’m definitely not implying there is no replayability in the game, because there is. I particularly would be interested in trying different class combinations and seeing how they play out and affect the difficulty of the game. There is even a game designer toolkit where you can create your own adventures if you are so inclined. But I definitely feel that to keep players encouraged over the long term, the developers will have to add additional campaign add-ons that allow players to continue to discover a deep and epic story that is such a huge part of the game’s charm.
Conclusion (Overall Score: 24/25)
If you are a fan of single player (or co-op multiplayer) RPGs, tactical turn-based combat, highly interactive and reactive worlds, and games that have choices with consequences, you owe it to yourself to checkout Divinity: Original Sin. The game is a ton of fun and one of the best PC RPGs for 2014. At $39.99, it carries a cheaper price tag than other top-shelf games but it absolutely gives your the experience of a more expensive RPG. If you’re a fan of Ultima, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Diablo, or Fallout, you need to play this game. You won’t be disappointed.
(This review is the author’s opinion and only the author’s opinion. I do not use other reviews to influence how I review, nor am I being paid or compensated for this review. If I was paid or compensated in any way, I will tell you…)