Divinity: Original Sin Previews

E3-based previews of Larian Studios' Divinity: Original Sin continue to trickle onto the Internet, so I'm going to go ahead and start this latest round-up off with a detailed report on Gamercast:
Divinity: Original Sin is a proper RPG, and you won't find yourself on a quest for Kobold candles; there are no simple and repetitive fetching quests, because after all, everyone knows that performing arduous tasks is just not fun. Instead Original Sin is promised to be full of complex quests that branch at any given minute and make you feel like an actual hero or villain, not simply a glorified messenger.

Contrary to their previous games, Original Sin features turn-based combat and is fuelled by action points that determine a players ability to move, attack, and even equip items and use skills. To add a bit of variation, in combat your most useful weapon is not some fancy sword or magic, but your environment; barrels of oil can be split open and set alight, water can be turned to ice, you can even make it rain to your advantage, however your enemy will also use the environment against you, so if you do not act fast you may well find yourself in a sticky situation.

Then we move to Kotaku:
Players have, basically, three options. One is to set an AI personality for the partner not being played. If the AI is, say, hostile or aggressive, then the partner will tend toward those lines and actions. Another is to turn off party interaction, and have only the player-controlled character make all the decisions solo. And the last is to have one player choose lines and reactions for both characters.

An AI- or human-controlled partner could make the game interesting in ways a player does not necessarily intend or expect. The two characters can disagree: about the tone to take, about an action, about whether or not to kill someone... when they disagree, the system basically conducts a behind-the-scenes roll to see whose opinion wins. In the scene we were shown, that had the effect of killing off a more-or-less innocent NPC who probably could have been quite helpful down the line.

And we'll finish things off at Examiner:
(Other characters in your group will also react and change based upon your behavior and depending on how the relationship between the main characters changes, it can change the ending for the game,) Walgrave explains.

None of these features are particularly new to role playing games; RPGs as old as Planescape: Torment, another classic PC RPG, and recent games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic use them. But it's still nice to see Larian is putting in the effort to make sure they are in their game. Another nice touch is that NPCs (non-player characters) will be given more than commonplace AI (artificial intelligence) you know, the kind that dictates they give you quests, sell you stuff, and stand idly around while you rob them blind in their own home.