Divinity: Original Sin Reviews, Part 2

Another batch of reviews for Divinity: Original Sin II has popped up since we last checked, and these ones are even more glowing than the previous, already highly positive ones. If ten or even five years ago someone had told me that in 2017 all the major publications will be raving about a turn-based isometric cRPG that's overwhelmingly open without being open-world, and has no qualms about locking you out of content or giving you a right thrashing if you just rush into combat unprepared, I would have called that person insane. Yet here we are. What else is there to say? Check out the reviews:

Eurogamer Essential:

The ability to build your own combat style is key element of Original Sin, and the strategic opportunities it offers is basically a game in itself. But mixing classes is a tricky balancing act, and if you get it wrong and spread yourself thinly, you could be in trouble. Combat can be fiercely challenging, especially if you're a couple of levels below your opponents. Put it this way, I played the game on the "Explorer" mode, because I like RPGs to be more about characters and choices than raw challenge, but I still hit a couple of bumps along the road. One battle I fought in a place called the Blackpits took over an hour, as the game sent wave after wave of oily blobs after me, wreathing the whole area in hellish necrofire that will be burned into my mind for the rest of my life.

Still, the merits of Larian's creative choices outweigh the flaws. I like sniffing out my own solutions to problems, and of all the fights I got myself into, only perhaps ten percent of them were unpleasantly difficult. Partly it's about learning to use the tools available to you effectively, to provide your characters with plenty of skills, to use summons and disabling spells to mitigate the numbers of a larger force. To remember to cast Spirit Vision when you're at what seems like a dead end. Perhaps the biggest challenge in Divinity is not necromancer cults or cryptic puzzles, but learning to experiment with all the available systems.

There's such a wide range of influences visible in Larian's work. Ultima and XCOM are the obvious ones, but there are other moments, such as when you're breaking into a house or searching for a hidden hatch to the basement, that the game suddenly feels more like Thief or Dishonored. The game foremost in my mind while playing, however, was The Witcher 3.

This isn't because of the setting or Divinity's similar ponderings over morality. It's because I thought it would be many years before I played another RPG that was even close to being that rich with choice and charisma. Original Sin 2 has made me question that belief, and I don't think I could give it a higher accolade.

PC Gamer 92/100:

Original Sin 2’s main quest calls to mind Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, both being races to godhood. The world’s a mess, you see, with monstrous beasties rampaging wherever there’s source magic. And you just so happen you be a sourcerer with a divine calling, born with the ability to wield this powerful magic, talk to the dead and feast on souls. So of course you’ve been hauled off to jail by the corrupt Magisters—the game’s fanatical villains—ostensibly to stop you from ruining the world. What starts off as mission to escape prison spirals into an quest involving gods competing for survival and an evil poised to swallow up the world.

What could have been your typical, high-stakes fantasy quest is elevated by strong writing and voice acting that effortlessly jumps between whimsical and brutally grim. It can be surprisingly touching, too. As tempting as it can be to play the evil arsehole in a game that offers this much freedom, there are a lot of heartfelt moments that you’ll only see if you’re not an arse. That’s why I keep Lohse around. Out of my three companions, she’s the good cop, talking to people like a thoughtful human being instead of an evil undead necromancer.

Larian has also subverted the party dynamic quite a bit. Companions not only assist you while undertaking their own personal quests, they are ultimately your competition, each the chosen hero for their respective divine sponsor. This has an even greater impact in co-op, with each player capable of screwing over their three allies. While you’re shopping or fighting, they might be growing in power, waiting to betray you.


And it’s that intimidating, ambitious scope, that dedication to player freedom, that makes Divinity: Original Sin 2 so impressive. There isn’t another RPG that lets you do so much. Larian promised a lot, and it has absolutely followed through, crafting a singular game that juggles a bounty of complex, immersive systems, and never drops them.

IGN 9.6/10:

Divinity: Original Sin 2 may have been designed in the spirit of decades-old RPGs like Baldur’s Gate 2, but that legacy serves only as a foundation for the expansive game Larian has built on top of it. Few other RPGs allow such a wide range of flexibility while also supporting rewarding combat and a powerful story, all in a world that feels alive in the ways it reacts to you and goes about its business without you. It's a rare RPG that I’ll want to play through again and again, driven by the feeling that so many fascinating and surprising paths remain undiscovered, some of which might lead to different outcomes for the NPCs I’ve grown to care about – even the rats. When that happens, you're experiencing something worth remembering, and Divinity: Original Sin 2 will be remembered as one of the greats.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun Recommended:

There is some tension between the generosity with which everything from character creation to the handling of NPC deaths (no plot armour here; you can kill ’em all without breaking the game) allows freedom of approach, and yet every player is moving toward a conclusion that is mostly set in place. You are, whether you want to be or not, a very special person and no matter how much the game allows you to wriggle on the hook, you can’t escape your destiny.

And I should restate that on the whole the game gives you a lot of wriggle room. From the second act onwards you’re given plenty of flexibility to respec and switch around character builds, so you can approach quests with a full set of options rather than locking yourself into a particular playstyle.

That said, because freedom and flexibility define the game so strongly I do find the occasional restrictions frustrating. Source points, which are at the heart of the story and power the most dramatic and devastating abilities in the game, sometimes seem too scarce, but then with the right skillset they’re too readily available to feel special. And there are times that I’ve missed out on a branch in a side-story because it was obscured by some illogical logic rather than intelligently obscure.

It’s no surprise that a construction as vast and complex as this would have some balance issues, and even though I found my interest in the story waning toward the end, I’m already planning to restart a game I’ve just spent sixty hours playing. Maybe next time I’ll actually feel like a hero come the final curtain. Whatever the case, the destination doesn’t really matter – it’s about the journey, and all those little stories that happen along the way. From its origin stories to its brief emergent narratives, few games let you take part in better tales than this one.

Windows Central 5/5:

Cooperative multiplayer makes a return appearance in Original Sins 2, except this time, it's vastly improved. Instead of being limited to two players, you can now band together with three other friends for a total of four players working together at once.

In addition, Game Master Mode, a mode in which you can create custom dungeons and other areas, was implemented. This effectively allows you to create an infinite amount of adventures for you and your friends to play. With the Game Master Mode, the only limit to the sheer longevity of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is your own creativity. These can all be downloaded from the Steam Workshop.


Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a polished, well-designed RPG, and through its phenomenal mechanics, astounding art, sound design and fantastic writing, it is sure to revolutionize the modern RPG genre

Hooked Gamers 9.8/10

Divinity: Original Sin 2 takes what the last game did, and juices it up to levels beyond what the doctor recommends. By maximizing its strengths, and finding new ways to improve on weaknesses, it knocks down barriers and locked doors alike in a power move to rush towards one of my favorite games of the year. Though it does have its flaws in the form of small technical glitches, and one really annoying one where sometimes my characters would stop moving as a party unless I manually did it myself, this is an imperfect gem that manages even in imperfection to put some of my favorite RPGs to shame. Well done Larian Studios, well done!