The GrownGaming Divinity: Original Sin 2 review; should you buy it now, wait, or avoid it?
Captured and forced to wear a collar that suppresses your “Source” powers, you awake on a ship sent to Fort Joy, where you will be cured of your affliction. Sourcerers are blamed for the Voidwoken, monsters of The Void, who are attracted to “Source”. Hunted down by the Divine Order, who is set to cure Rivellon of the threat posed by these Sourcerers. A Sourcerer like you. This is Divinity: Original Sin 2, the sequel to 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin by Larian Studios.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an isometric RPG with tactical turn-based combat featuring cooperative and singleplayer gameplay. The biggest changes from its predecessor involve lots of choice and consequences in regards to your origin story and how that affects gameplay. This sequel also features a Game Master mode, inspired by tabletop RPGs like Dungeon & Dragons. While in Game Master mode you can control every aspect of the game itself. Allowing you to create your own adventures with your friends like a Dungeon Master would in Dungeon & Dragons.
The story in Divinity: Original Sin 2 takes places many generations after Original Sin. The Divine is dead and The Void is everywhere. You play as a Sourcerer, wielders of forbidden magic called “Source”. The complete opposite from the first game, where you played as Source Hunters on a quest to rid Rivellon of “Source”. As a Sourcerer, you must set out on a journey to become Godwoken, champion of the gods, to help stop The Void from destroying everything in its path.
You’ll start the game by creating your own character or if you so choose too, pick a predetermined character with an already created background story and set voice acting. These predetermined characters can also join your party during the beginning stages of the game as well. If you would like to create your own character you’ll have a range of races to choose from such as Human, Elf, Dwarf, Lizard, and the Undead. Playing as an Undead is a bit more challenging, NPC characters will react badly to you or even attack you thinking you are a monster. Also take note that for the Undead, poison skills and items heal you and health skills and items will harm you. Once you have picked your desired race, you’ll have a choice of one of the fourteen preset classes such as the Battlemage, Cleric, Conjurer, Enchanter, Fighter, Inquisitor, Knight, Metamorph, Ranger, Rogue, Shadowblade, Wayfarer, Witch, and Wizard. But don’t worry, this game allows you to totally re-spec your character during the game and mix and match any of the ten skills, even if you picked a preset class. The skills include Aerotheurge (air), Geomancer (earth), Huntsman (ranger), Hydrosophist (water), Necromancer, Polymorph, Pyrokinetic (fire), Scoundrel (rogue), Summoning, and Warfare (fighter).
Just as you would expect from a turn-based RPG, the combat happens with each character (even enemies) taking their own turn, based on an initiative score on who will go first and in what order. When it is you and your parties turn in the combat cycle, you have a limited amount of action points that can be spent on moving, using a skill, and/or using an item. There are skills that can increase your action points or you can choose to skip your turn saving your points for next time. But keep in mind that at any time you can only have a maximum amount of six points to spend. This is where the tactical aspect of the game comes in. Planning out what you will do with each of your characters during their turn phase. For the most part, the combat is familiar to those who played the first game. The only difference is the fact that they limited the action points to six total and added a new resource called “Source”. Some of your skills will require a “Source” point to use that skill. These Source Skills can be very powerful and shouldn’t be used haphazardly.
Another change they made to the combat system is the armor. In Divinity: Original Sin 2 you have two types of armor; Magic, and Physical, protecting against those attacks. Each piece of your armor equipment will give you points in each of these types, with the amount determined by whether the armor is heavy, medium or light. Heavy armor will gain you lots of Physical armor points but less Magic points, and light armor gives lots of Magic points but less Physical, with Medium somewhere between the two leaning towards Physical. The same system is in effect for enemies too; they have a set amount of Physical and Magic armor that you have to widdle away before you even touch their health points. For example: Say you have a skill that will damage the enemy for X amount of damage and applies Bleed for X amount of damage over time. Sounds great, but then there is that little notion in the skill’s description saying Bleed resisted by Physical Armor. So, until the enemy has zero Physical Armor points, the bleeding effect will not happen. At first, this system can be daunting, but once you understand how it works with hands-on play, it gets easier to understand. This system adds another layer of resources to manage during combat and adds to the overall challenge of the game.
The elemental system from the original game is still here as well. Combine poison with fire and you get explosions. Mix water with electricity and you get shocking pools of water. And the developers expanded on this as well, allowing you to make cursed versions of the elements, for example, Necrofire which does more damage and doesn’t get put out as easily like normal fire does. Also, they added blood as a surface element that can be used for or against you. Add all this with the “Source” skills and you have one hell of a playground during combat.
Outside of combat, you are met with exploration and open world freedom. I know what you are thinking, an open world in a turn-based RPG. Well, it works for the most part. There are still areas of the huge map that are blocked off and kind of guides you away till you are the right level for that section. But there are also areas that you can explore that are way outside of your current level. The developers tried their best to make Divinity: Original Sin 2 as non-linear as possible. Even rewarding you for thinking outside the box and approaching quests off the beaten path. Though this open worldness can lead to confusion on where to go next. Often times I would find my self, wondering what quests I could do at my current level. God forbid if I tried to do a quest two levels higher then my party’s current level, that quest would become very hard to complete. This, in turn, would lead me walking all over the place trying to find areas or quests I could complete at my level. I understand what Larian Studios was trying to accomplish here, but at times I just wish they would put a recommended level number next to the quests in your quest log.
As for Graphics, Sounds, and Voice Acting, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a major improvement over its predecessor. The graphics are top notch and looks damn good for an isometric RPG. The sound effects are improved and with far fewer bugs compared to the first game. The music fits the atmosphere of the game and is beautiful to listen to as you explore the world of Rivellon. And the voice actors all did an amazing job with the thousands of lines of dialog they had to recite.
My journey has finally come to a close with this epic RPG, and it is an epic RPG. I’d even go as far as saying one of the best in its class. Larian Studios has made one hell of a game here. A sequel to an already awesome RPG. If you haven’t played Divinity: Original Sin, I highly recommend playing that game first before diving into its sequel. Not only will you better understand the story, but you will also appreciate the awesome combat and elemental combination system and the improvements they made to them in this game. But even if you don’t play the original, Divinity: Original Sin 2 will provide over eighty hours of entertainment. Yes, this game is long but well worth the journey.
My only gripes with this game are the quest log. It can get confusing on what quests you can accomplish at your current party level. I also want to point out that I didn’t really come across any major game breaking bugs or noticeable ones at that. There were talks of performance issues and bugs during launch, but Larian Studios has fixed most of them since then.
If you are looking for an epic journey filled with a good story and interesting characters, along with an amazing combat system, I couldn’t recommend Divinity Original Sin 2 enough. It rightfully is one of the best RPGs in the last five years if not one of the greatest of all time.
Final Verdict: BUY