Should I be excited about… Divinity: Original Sin (PC)
Have you been pining for an isometric RPG? I wouldn’t blame you if you were, we’re not exactly swimming in new releases of them lately. Sure there’s a few big hitters that have been announced to arrive in the coming months (and years) but they’re not out yet, but what if you want something now? Look no further, as Divinity Original Sin has you covered.
As mentioned, Divinity is an isometric RPG where you take a squad of two main characters and up to two additional characters around a huge, bustling world to fight off great evils and so forth. The fights take place in a turn based fashion, allowing you to spend time mulling over strategies before making your move, those of you looking for a faster paced game may want to look elsewhere (not that the gameplay is particularly slow, it just won’t fuel the needs of an action junky).
The battle system is deep enough to warrant some interest. As the genre of game suggests, each character has to wait their turn to take actions, every action requires a certain number of action points – running takes 1 action point per hex, attacking takes 4 action points per swing etc. Extra points can be hoarded every round to aid in the next round but unless you forgoe a whole round they rarely come to anything. Outside of the basic actions, each class has powerful skills or spells that wouldn’t go amiss outside of an action RPG, for example the knight can charge through enemies, the mage can launch fireballs or use gravity to pick enemies up and fling them around. The effects and trajectories you can plan out using these skills and spells make positioning an incredibly important factor in winning or losing a battle, something I’ve yet to see to such an extent in any other RPG like this. All in all the battle system is pretty tight and enjoyable.
Divinity is a gorgeous game, there’s no denying that. As far as isometric RPGs go it’s got beautiful vibrant colours that help to accentuate a beautifully vibrant world, the incredible yet subtle ambient sounds and music throughout only help to bring the whole experience to life. This all feels quite refreshing considering it’s such a combat-centric game.
A really interesting point that needs to be raised is with the main characters you create. Over the course of the game these two main characters development their own personalities unique to each other through the choices made during conversations. These conversations feel fairly jarring to the whole experience at first as they are often between the two created characters, and you are the one choosing what they say to each other. Maybe it’s just me but it just feels a bit weird to be selecting conversation choices as a response to choices you selected earlier. It feels like you really have to get your mind set on the thought of role playing as each individual character to understand what they’d say and why, rather than playing as some sort of powerful being peering at two pawns behind a digital screen way up in digital heaven. Regardless of all that, once you do get used to it, it does seem like a nice way to develop out characters and to promote player attachment to them.
The companions you pick up along the way evoke similar actions too, as they will often butt in to conversations to share their opinions on how things should go. In my experience here however, my only companion was a paladin that hated magic, even though one of my characters was a mage… she got thoroughly chastised every time she spoke up. I’m actually surprised she didn’t just leave.
In the end, Divinity Original Sin is a pretty great RPG that’s worthy of your time, and it’s still got a long way to go as it’s still in early development phase. The only real bad thing I could say about it is that the developers look like they’re tip toeing their way through these early days of release – every where you look in the menus there is a reminder that this is an alpha build, or that that thing over there is a placeholder. Heck even before you launch the game proper there’s a warning that this game is still in alpha. I really wish I could just give the collective development team a pat on the back and a reassuring nod. You’re doing good guys, your game is decent, loosen up a little bit.