Let me start right off by saying that Divinity: Original Sin is unlike any Kickstarter game that I have ever personally played before and I mean that in the best way possible. Throughout my experience with the game, I never once caught myself thinking, “Yeah, this works well…for a Kickstarter game.” Divinity: Original Sin is, thankfully, a high-quality product in all aspects and deserves to be judged among the upper-echelon of isometric RPG greatness, from Ultima to Baldur’s Gate.
Divinity: Original Sin begins humbly, like most similar games, with you creating your party of two Source Hunters, a type of vigilante tracked with hunting and killing evil-doers. While tracking a small group of mages, you stumble into a vast, detailed, and intricately designed world with seemingly endless things to do and see. From single player, to cooperative multiplayer, to an eventual toolkit, the future is quite bright for a game that is already built on such a solid foundation.
AESTHETICS = 8
Divinity: Original Sin is a perfect example of how to maximize resources in creative ways. Due to the fact that the game is mostly played from a zoomed-out perspective, there is no need to provide extreme detail on most objects in the world. This means that while the visuals on a specific, in-depth basis may leave a bit to be desired, when combined together it creates a very appealing package. The slightly exaggerated and bright visuals may not appeal to everyone, but they fit stylistically and with the witty sense of humor that the game exhumes throughout.
Every environment in the game is teeming with life and detail. Brooks possess appropriate levels of babbling waters, ambient noise is placed perfectly, items and objects react to your actions with great realism, and the particle effects from abilities and spells is a sight to behold. I never felt like I was clicking through an empty shell of a game, like a lot of Kickstarter projects end up representing, but instead a finely crafted world ripe for exploration. Lighting oil spills and electrifying pools of water never gets old.
One overlooked aspect of a lot of RPGs is the menu navigation. Luckily, Divinity: Original Sin uses menus that are both attractive and intuitive.
GAMEPLAY = 9
Let it be known, that turn-based gaming is far from dead. In the past several years turn-based strategy games have valiantly held the banner for the oft forsaken sub-genre and Divinity: Original Sin should rightly claim its place among the top of the pack. The combat system manages to fluidly position itself both within the game’s real-time environment, and a semi-instanced turn-based combat scenario. This would be best explained in more detail.
When happening upon a group of enemies, if they do not notice you, you are free to sneak around or try to land a surprise attack in order to begin combat. Keep in mind though, that this isn’t a hybrid system such as Baldur’s Gate or other Bioware titles, but a true turn-based system. This means that characters act according to turn orders and can only expend abilities that they possess the action points to use each turn. Want to run up and hit your enemy? Then you need to have enough points to both approach them, as well as attack. Does your mage plan on laying out some oil, then setting it on fire? This would require using two costly abilities and could span two turns.
The intricate system not only creates far more interesting encounters, but it also allows for more difficult enemies in general. Creatures will react to the abilities that you use, utilize items in their inventory, and generally simulate an actual opponent thinking about what to do next. You can’t just run over and hack an enemy two or three times to kill it like a lot of top-down RPGs; you have to think and plan out your attacks and explore options within the environment itself.
The game also boasts a robust crafting system and tons of quests already implemented in the core game itself. Character creation has a solid amount of customization choices and each of the starting classes are surprisingly unique, ranging from your standard Knight, to a Battlemage, Wizard, Cleric, or Ranger. Each class is played and leveled up in totally different ways, lending great replayability and diversity to the game as a whole. Each time you level up you’re prompted to nudge your character down whatever path you like, subtly molding them into your ideal hero.