INNOVATION = 7
Just when you think you’ve seen absolutely everything a genre has to offer, games like Divinity: Original Sin come along. While it’s far from a reinvention of what an isometric RPG can be, it improves on several aspects that will now feel like expected inclusions. For starters, the combat is so fluid and well-executed; it makes the repetitive mouse clicking of other games feel mindless and lazy. More importantly though, is the game’s approach to roleplaying and dialogue.
In most games like this, you simply observe the story progress around you, or maybe select some dialogue choices for your main hero. In Divinity: Original Sin, you’re actually controlling at least two main protagonists at all times in single player, and having them act and speak independently. This allows you to roleplay each character how you see fit, whether that means agreements or disagreement, which can create highly entertaining conversations. Add in the fact that the game can be played cooperatively with each player controlling their respective characters in and out of combat, and the options are even greater. Most quests have multiple solutions and other than the fact that there is an overarching main goal at hand, the path to get there is ripe with opportunities for improvisation. At the end of the day, if you’ve played a game in this genre before, you know what to expect. It’s far from a massive revelation, but it toys around with the formula enough to keep things interesting.
POLISH = 8
Since my time with the game was spent primarily with the near-release beta version, the game wasn’t quite complete yet. A few lingering bugs remained and the overall performance was lower than expected, but early access is early access. The game has already come a long way from alpha last year, so its future seems quite bright. All of the in-game systems work incredibly well and the world is overflowing with content and life from the moment you first step on the shores of the starting area. Few Kickstarter games have or will ever match the level of polish and quality seen in Divinity: Original Sin, but it’s still not quite to its full potential.
LONGEVITY = 9
Divinity: Original Sin was developed, from the start, to be much more than a one-off adventure. With so many class choices available and the lure of cooperative play ever present, will surely keep things interesting for multiple playthroughs. Once those facets of the game lose their luster though, the developers have stated the intention for continued content, on top of the fact that the toolkit will lead to innovative and creative additions by other players.
VALUE = 8
Several dozen hours of content per playthrough, combined with multiplayer, and player-generated content mean this game has a lot of bang for your buck, especially where isometric RPGs are concerned. You won’t have to run the same areas over and over to get your money’s worth in play time, and you can keep coming back for more. The $40 price tag isn’t cheap, but the game provides so much at such a high quality, that it’s hard not to recommend it. Kickstarter games can seldom claim to rival their big-budget counterparts, but the experience and history of the development team really shines through in their latest endeavor – it’s worth the entry fee for all fans of the genre, but maybe a bit pricey for the merely curious.
Divinity: Original Sin is able to both channel the roots of its old-school RPG ancestors such as Ultima and Baldur’s Gate, while also improving the genre as a whole in the process. From start to finish, Divinity: Original Sin is an incredible experience that is full of deep and engaging roleplaying. The true turn-based combat is a breath of fresh air in an industry obsessed with quick satisfaction and it brings you back to a time of tactics and thought. The roleplaying potential presented in quests and dialogue options puts Divinity: Original Sin decidedly above its peers in most aspects, but leaves room for improvement down the line. Larian Studios is on a strong path to returning their long-running franchise to the spotlight, for fans both new and old.