Jesse Sacdaddy Shinn
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition - Stripped
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Divinity: Original Sin 2 has gotten rave reviews since its release in September of 2017. The game is rated as the 5th best RPG on Metacritic of all time, only trumped by legends like Skyrim, Mass Effect 2, and Baldur’s Gate 2. Is the rating justified? Is Original Sin 2 really a masterpiece to compete with the best? In a short answer, yes.
Larian has really produced a masterpiece with this game. Original Sin was a fantastic Tactical RPG that kept me entertained for hours. Issues that I had with the game, things that ground my gears like extreme overuse of traps were addressed. The story is an amazing step up, the characters are inviting and weave into the story seamlessly, the puzzles make more sense, and the combat actually rewards tactical thought without cheese.
The characters in Original Sin 2 are leaps and bounds better than your source hunters in the first Original Sin. Instead of only having the blank slate option of your nameless source hunter, you can choose from one of six origin stories which fit into the games main storyline. The characters are all unique, fully voice acted when used as companions, and have unique opinions and dialogue that correspond to the events of the game.
The game allows you to keep four of the origin stories with you through the majority of the game assuming you play out one of them. To see the other two you’re going to need another playthrough which is awesome for a lone wolves playthrough. This keeps the games replayability so much higher. You are also privy to different information throughout the game depending on which origin you chose. You don’t always get every tidbit of information on interactions your companions have with NPCs throughout the game. The narrator will describe a scene as it appears to you as an onlooker, and not as the character within the conversation. Choosing a new origin for a new playthrough will provide you with new insight into the story you didn’t have previously.
Larian made the decision to stop coating every dungeon floor in traps. The traps make more sense and are no longer copy-pasted across every texture in the game. They can be tactically used to your advantage, avoided, and actually add to the fights rather than annoying you. Granted, there are avid defenders of traps in the first game but I felt their application within Original Sin 2 was more thought out, and provided a better experience.
Combat feels great. It’s truly the tactical jump I wanted from the Original. Highground bonuses to damage with Huntsman, and the range increases from having highground makes learning how to position pre-combat feel rewarding. As a whole, the game’s combat system feels more cohesive and gives a stronger feeling of tactical thought rather than the feeling of “cheese” you felt forced into from the first game.
Original Sin 2’s skill spread is quite a bit different from the first. It rewards you for branching out. There is no reason to only have skills from one tree. There is a large amount of flexibility within the game. It also gives you a chance to respec after act 1 infinitely in case you ever want to try something new. There is no reason to limit yourself as hard as you needed to in the first. Branch out, and try new skills within different trees, there really is no reason not to.
Using your surroundings is incredibly important. Understanding what interactions different abilities and elements have with each other, what barrels are around you, and how your opponents are likely to play is important. Quicksaving needs to be rampant if it’s your first playthrough, you’re going to get crushed the first time on quite a few battles. Due to the difficulty level of the fights, you’re going to need to make sure you are watching the area around you. You’ll start to know a fight is coming when you get a nice area with several high ground spots, especially ones where you have to cross a field to get to them. Especially if you decide to play on tactician.
The level design is fantastic. Many battlefields are designed to be tough, while still giving you a change to set up prior to engagement. The design has surpassed the first Original Sin in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. The combat can still be incredibly frustrating. There are some seriously hard fights, especially around the last act of the game, Arx.
Gear is more important than ever. Due to the way crowd control has changed, you need to be able to break through either Magic or Physical armor to use corresponding CC, as well as keep well armored to avoid getting CC'd to death. One of my only gripes about the game is that it truly rewards keeping an all magic damage, or all physical damage party. Crowd controlling your enemies relies on you being able to break through an armor type. The easiest way to do that is to keep a consistent damage type so you’re not having to break through twice as much armor to CC and damage their vitality. While it’s not completely necessary, it would have made things easier for me to focus on either magic or physical damage.
I found the puzzles and hidden secrets to be a lot more rewarding in this iteration. As long as you read the books, and listen carefully to NPC conversations you can work your way through most of the puzzles. There are several secrets that are determined by your Wits stat that can make you miss several pieces of quests and dig sites if they aren’t quite high enough. Considering Wits isn’t all too important early in the game it can be frustrating to learn you missed something due to it.
The game’s story is great. For players of Divine Divinity and Divinity: Original Sin there is an amazing amount of lore you’re rewarded for knowing. Callbacks to the other games, and a continuation of quite a bit of it. Your origin character decides how closely you relate to the main premise of the game. Fane and Ifan are going to relate most closely with the central theme. Now I did only play the Definitive Edition, so I can’t speak towards people's feelings on Classic, but the story had a nice flow. I always knew what I should be working towards. The side quests and main work well together. There wasn’t a time where I felt the story was dragging. It keeps you engaged and constantly wanting more the entire time.
When choosing your first origin, I would recommend staying away from Fane, without spoiling anything I will say that I felt his origin gave away a little too much mystery of the story too early. I would recommend picking Ifan, Red Prince, or Lohse for your first playthrough. Ifan would be my top choice as a first playthrough. His story meshes amazingly well with the central theme and keeps more of the stories mystery than playing as Fane. Definitely keep the Skelly in your party though.
The game is beautiful. It’s a massive step up from the first Original Sin. The world is incredibly detailed. It feels real and beautiful. You can talk to all the animals with pet pal, giving you insight into areas, or just more dialogue to help flesh out the world. Sir Lora is a great little addition as well. His dialogue kept me laughing the whole game. He’s a wonderful little companion if you decide to buy him. I definitely would.
There are so many reasons why Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition is now one of my favorite games of all time. It’s tough to compete with the best, and Larian has shown that they belong at the top of the heavyweight division. Playing Original Sin 2 for over 100 hours on a single campaign has been some of the most fun I’ve had in an RPG in a long time and I can’t believe I waited this long to actually play it.
BNG gives Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition 9.5/10!