Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a turn based fantasy RPG developed and published by Larian Studios that came out on the 14th of September 2017, as the sequel to Divinity: Original Sin. The game can be played either alone, or with a co-op party up to three other players.
When you start a new game, you can choose to play as a custom character, or as one of the game’s optional party members, each with their own interesting stories. You can choose from a bunch of different character types. For example, you can play as an undead character, which causes most characters to attack you if they realize you’re a skeleton. It also makes poison heal you, but damages you if you heal through regular means. You can even use your bony fingers as an infinite supply of lockpicks, which is really silly, but very useful, and amusing nonetheless.
The game gives you freedom to walk around, learning about and exploring the game world, completing quests, and trading with people. Through use of certain skills, you might even receive quests from animals or other unlikely sources! Completing quests nets you rewards of money, experience points, and sometimes equipment and items.
Upon starting a fight, gameplay becomes turn based, where you have all your skills and powers on a hotbar, usable with the mouse or number keys. In combat, by default you have four “action points”, that determine what you can do in a turn. There are many different strategies you can employ in and out of combat, using your skills and magic to efficiently win an encounter. For example, if you have the right abilities, you could start a downpour to cover the ground in water, and then freeze it. Or electrify it. Or spread poison through it.
You can do heaps if you have a bit of creativity, and this is one of my favourite parts about the game: freedom. You have so much freedom to do whatever you want. All elemental damage can apply various other effects as well, running on ice might cause you to slip, being covered in water prevents you from being set on fire, electricity can stun, and cause enemy OR player turns to be skipped. It all works very well together, and the game gives you plenty of freedom to play exactly how you want to. I find myself constantly creating new characters, just to test out different classes, to try other abilities.
After the first act, the game gives you the ability to completely rearrange your character’s stats, and to change your appearance. If you play a lot, then want something different, you can easily play the game with any set of skills.
There are often multiple ways to complete a quest, or get past an obstacle. For example, your first major objective in the first act is to escape a place called Fort Joy. You can complete this goal in many ways, one of which is simply to kill every single person running the place. Quite effective. Another part of the game requires you to find a certain item to get past an obstacle, but by being careful, and having the right abilities, you can get past it anyway.
You can sometimes even complete parts of a quest before you get that quest. For example, there’s a guy you get asked to rescue by a few people. You can just find him without getting the quest, and complete it anyway.
The only time the game lacks options is when you customise the physical appearance of your character, in which there are rather few settings. You don’t see your character that close-up very often, so it isn’t a huge deal, but it’s one of the few negative things I have to say.
There are a variety of mods available for the game, and more are being made all the time. Some of which add vast amounts of content (like more character creation options), and some add really nice, yet simple fixes and changes to the game. One mod I like a lot is one that prevents consumable items from being automatically added to the hotbar when you pick them up. A small change, but extremely convenient.
Freedom, freedom, freedom. If you want to play the game completely solo, having no party members, it’s viable. Can be tricky, but viable. Through use of the “Lone Wolf” talent, you start with more health and a few other stats, you also get six action points per turn instead of four, and using one free point towards one of your stats gives you two points into that stat. Having more than one extra party member nullifies any bonuses from Lone Wolf. If you play the game with a friend, having two characters with Lone Wolf is the most fun way to play in my opinion, having two powerful characters instead of four solid characters is great. It makes your inventory and equipment more manageable too, and there is a lot more loot to go around.
Speaking of your inventory, one of the only bad things about the game is managing inventory, mainly when playing with other people. Checking the stats and equipment of other player controlled characters isn’t easy. And the inventory system is slightly clunky in general.
In summary, the game is amazing. With a long history with these sort of games, Larian Stuidos really nailed this one. I have played many, many hours of the game, and I’m only about 25% in and showing no signs of stopping. There are many interesting characters and lore aspects to the game, which I find genuinely interesting. A lot of times in games I find myself thinking that something is cool, and that’s it. In Divinity 2 I find myself talking to everyone I can, to learn about more lore. It’s a fantastic game, and it’s basically exactly what I want from a game like this.