A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Commentary, featured, Reviews |

Divinity: Original Sin is the latest game in the Divinity franchise, setting itself up as a prequel to the previous titles. You play as a pair of Source Hunters and it’s your job to save the world, I think. I haven’t been paying attention to the story very well so don’t expect a lot of that in this write-up. I’m going to focus on the gameplay—the glorious, bloody gameplay.

The important thing you need to know about Original Sin is that it’s like a modern version of Baldur’s Gate. Combat is turn-based with an action point (AP) system similar to classic Fallout. Actions such as attacking and spellcasting cost points. The more points you have, the more actions you can do per turn.

What makes Original Sin’s combat stand out is how it plays around with elemental and status effects. For example, you can drop oil on your foes to cause Slow, reducing their AP, then light that oil on fire, causing Burning, a damage-over-time effect. Fire plus poison causes explosions in this game, so poisoning a target that’s on fire often yields impressive results. The variety of things that you can do removes the act of simply hitting the other guy repeatedly until he dies. Crowd control abilities such as knockdowns and stuns are also present, contributing further to the large amount of options that you have when you fight.

Those options are not there without a reason. Divinity: Original Sin is a tough game. Your foes have the same options as you do and they’re not shy about using them. They’ll knock you down after you’re stunned, burning and bleeding. You’ll need every advantage you have, especially when the game starts throwing environmental hazards on top of everything else you have to deal with.

Don’t let the difficulty turn you away though. In fact, I’ll argue that it’s what makes the game fun. Since you know that one wrong move can send you reaching for your last save, each turn becomes an exercise on planning and execution. You start thinking about positioning, efficiency and maximization, all for the sake of controlling the battlefield and emerging on top. And when it’s finally over you get a sense of accomplishment because you know you earned that victory.

The game features a deep character creation system. You can specify stats, abilities, spells, proficiencies and traits. Class templates are available for instant play but you can customize them at will. A word of warning: begin with the end in mind when you customize and assign points as you level up. A character that isn’t well planned out is going to find it difficult to get through the later levels, especially when you run into foes with higher resistances.

The last good thing that I’m going to mention is the music. The game has beautiful music, particularly with the piano pieces. I don’t have enough experience with describing music so pardon me for not saying a lot here. Let’s just say that I’m still hearing some of the tunes in my head as I type this. Maybe I’m playing the game too much.

Okay, so enough of what’s good. What’s bad about this game is that it could’ve used a bit more polishing. Inventory management is bad. If you don’t take the time to manage it early it’s going to be a mess later on. You might want to read up on crafting because not only is there a ton of it in this game, it’s also one of the best ways to organize your stuff. If you don’t need what you made then you can make money out of it. And that’s something you can never have too much of.

I’m deliberately leaving a lot out because I don’t want to spoil anything else. Overall, Divinity: Original Sin is a game for the die-hard Baldur’s Gate fans. It’s for players who want a solid Dungeons & Dragons gaming experience. It’s turn-based, fantasy RPG goodness for the modern gamer. Go play it already.