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The folks at PCGamesN have published a an in-depth preview of Divinity: Original Sin II, based on no less than six hours of hands-on gameplay. I'm particularly interested in the game's reactivity and its origin system, so that's what our customary quote is going to concern, but I can't recommend the full piece enough:
Pre-built characters? What do you mean? Like Geralt in The Witcher?
Almost. While you are free to create any character you want in Original Sin 2, you can select from a set of pre-built heroes, too. During our hands-on there were four to choose from, and Larian promise there will be more to come, too.
Pre-built characters are really interesting. You still have a great deal of choice - their appearance and class are entirely up to you - but they have pre-defined personalities for you to role-play. Each has a special tag which provides them with unique dialogue options, and these help build the character’s personal quirks through some really great writing.
The biggest element they add, though, are origin stories.
Origin stories? Like getting bitten by a radioactive spider?
Kinda, but with less spandex. Each hero has a history that affects them during the game. This comes in the form of a unique mission path to follow in addition to the main and side quests within the world.
Let’s take Sebille as an example. She’s an elf who has escaped from slavery, and is now looking for violent vengeance. On her arm is a tattooed list of targets, and throughout the game you’ll be hunting these people down. With each kill you can cross off a name using your ink needle. Basically, she’s Arya Stark.
Each character is radically different thanks to their origin. Sebille, despite her hard life, is also a bit of a prankster (when playing as her, the first thing I had her do was try and push a character off a dock into the sea). This is a huge contrast to The Red Prince, a crimson-skinned lizard who has been exiled from a life of nobility. He’s pretty pissed about this, naturally. But that’s small-fry compared to Lohse, a human who’s struggling with the fact that she’s possessed by a demon. When playing as her, occasionally the demon will take over and replace all your dialogue options with delightful things like “Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!” It can lead to some very tense, sometimes bloody situations.
These origins make pre-built heroes significantly more interesting than the create-you-own ‘generic’ characters. As a generic you miss out on both unique personality-based dialogue and special origin quests. However, you don’t have to go without on these characters entirely. The pre-built heroes you don’t choose are placed into the game as NPCs, and they can be recruited into your party should you find them. As with the last game, you have complete control over all party members, so you’ll be able to play with every hero even if you don’t choose them as your main.