Divinity: Original Sin - Stripped
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Divinity: Original Sin by Larian Studios is a game that I have mixed feelings on. I simultaneously love it, and hate it. The game’s story I enjoyed. It isn’t anything to go crazy over, but it’s enough to keep you invested. The characters feel real and I enjoyed having them along for the ride. The combat system is made for well thought out and tactical play, which can be a very fun thing, or an extremely frustrating one depending on what kind of player you are.
Visually, Divinity looks great. Level design, armor, creatures, I have nothing but praise for them all. I found the game to very visually appealing. There is all kinds of detail crammed into every nook and cranny. I have no complaints on that end.
The game’s characters felt real. The voice acting was well done and kept me immersed in whatever part of the story or side quest I was focused on. There isn’t any kind of dramatic development or character arcs but you don't really need them in this game. I found them to be satisfactory.
The story was decent. Like the characters it kept me engaged. I always wanted to know how it ended. There are several pieces of it that don’t seem to make sense, but it’s not such a glaring absurdity that it ruined the game for me. Side quests can take place over a long time, starting in Cyseal and not finishing until the last act. It definitely helps keep you engaged as you don’t want to miss anything that could be important.
Some of the side quests are easily derailed by aggressive players. There were a few that I realized I ruined by being the crazed murder hobo my D&D DM knows I am. After the first one you start to realize you need to be more cautious about who you kill, and when.
I have a love/hate relationship with the combat in the game. I’d wager that I was just playing inefficiently, but it seemed that the difficulty of it varied way too much. It felt like there was a difficulty slider that was automatically being adjusted by a cruel jester. I went from breezing through fights, critting a pack of skellies and one shotting half of them turn one, to pulling out my hair wondering how I’m supposed to win in a battle with 8 spiders that have triple my AP on my fastest character. I found that there is no casually strolling around when you haven’t cleared an area. You have to be alert, quicksaving and thinking about tactical positioning.
I will say that because of how difficult some fights were, it felt especially rewarding when I finally won them. The fight with Baron of Bones in Cyseal I wasn’t even able to beat without cheesing him through a chokepoint. Your party composition really matters unlike several other RPGs. Looking back, I feel I would have breezed by several more fights taking two fighters, rather than two mages. Some enemies have enough mobility and initiative to move first, get across the map and hit you twice, executing your mages turn one. It’s great to have those spells, but only if you can cast them. My two handed fighter was able to get up close and personal, and dish out more damage than even the mages.
I did play on Tactician mode so the difficulty was higher but I’m sure it still applies on Classic as well. If you absolutely suck at tactical RPGs there is an Explorer Mode that is truly an easy mode. It’s a great option for someone who is just looking for the RP side of the RPG. Saving frequently is imperative as some fights I could only win with great early positioning and a free attack from stealth.
Divinity has the ability to be played Co-op. It’s a fantastic draw for the game. I played a good bit of the story through with my brother. You can both control two characters. Playing with two makes initiating combat easier as you can simultaneously cast before combat officially starts, getting off two big spells instead of one. Make sure whoever you play with is willing to work together to formulate combat plans though. Getting off combos is very important, and if you have two of your characters seemingly playing against you, it’ll make you go crazy.
If you thought about trying to understand the crafting system, think again. It doesn’t really make sense. I wouldn’t even invest much time in it. There are tables of the combinations you can easily google search that will tell you what you need to know at a glance. The only time I bothered with the crafting was just to do some small upgrades to legendary gear I found out in the wild, or on a merchant.
Economy wise, steal everything and you will always have enough money. I ended the game with almost 100k gold. I never really hesitated to buy anything I wanted either. As long as you take everything that’s valuable and sell the rest there is no reason you won’t have gold.
A huge part of Divinity is the puzzles and intrigue. There are almost enough puzzles to even classify it as a puzzle game. Yes there are obvious answers to some of them, but a lot of the puzzles in this game require you to remember some book from 3 hours earlier that you read, or realize there is a compass on that staircase at the front of the room. Some of the quests and puzzles aren’t due to difficulty, it could just be that you are missing information. Several quests require you to talk to, or buy an item from someone way out of the way that you wouldn’t realize has anything to do with it.
There were puzzles I really enjoyed, and some that drove me mad, resorting to the Wiki that I hate having to use. Larian also confused an overuse of traps with fun to solve puzzles. Towards the end of the game you better hope you have a high perception character, because it’s basically a minefield everywhere. I became a quicksaving fiend just due to characters blowing up on the regular. In hindsight I could have allocated more points to perception but come on, fuck that right?
Divinity is full of fun, flavorful items found around rooms that tie in to different things in the game. The world is fun to actually engage in. Reading the books, notes, and really looking around the rooms at the design is rewarded heavily.
Overall, while I did get frustrated a good bit by this game It was a whole lot of fun. I managed to get a solid 90 hours out of the campaign. I had fun and am very excited for the sequel which I have heard much more praise for.
BNG gives Divinity: Original Sin a 7/10!