Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition Review
key review info
- Game: Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition is basically the definition of an RPG, in a world where we’ve supposedly been playing RPG games forever.
There used to be a time when playing RPG games meant using a dedicated board, a dungeon master, and a lot of imagination. Translating that type of scenario into something real would have seemed impossible a few decades ago, but that’s no longer the case.
It’s clear that the developers of really good RPGs have had that experience in their childhood, and they know exactly what they want to recreate. Searching to relive a childhood experience almost never ends on a high note because we end up disappointed in the result. We can’t feel the same way because we’re not kids anymore.
But what developers and studios are trying to do is to take those ideas and concepts and bring them to an entirely different medium. It’s not going to be the same because we’re different now, but it also means that it can be better. A game is a much more flexible environment and allows for much more variation, especially in the hand of the right people.
Here enters Larian Studios, makers of RPG games that will last for a long time, and that are not shaping a generation of new players. In fact, I’m not going to be surprised if in 20 years Divinity: Original Sin II will be looked upon just like we’re looking back now at the games of our youth.
Divinity: Original Sin II was initially released back in September 2017. It was good back then, but with such a massive scale game there is a lot of room for problems. And since Larian Studios don’t seem to be able to do things like any other company, they took their time and fixed pretty much everything, added new content, and generally improving the game to such a degree that a new Definitive Edition was released.
I have to admit that I’m not up to speed with all the lore and background information in Divinity: Original Sin II, mostly because I only played the first game in the series for a short while. It’s the kind of game that packs more than one book, making somewhat difficult to pick it up mid-scene.
It’s like being dropped in the middle of the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. In this, you don’t have a clue who is everyone, why there are talking skeletons that seem to be immortal beings, who are the Magisters, and generally what the hell is happening.
Like most grand stories, this one too follows the ying-yang balance of the universe, meaning that good has a little evil and evil is not that bad as you would think. The characters also follow the same path, and not everyone is black and white, which only makes things way more interesting.
Long story short, you take on the role of a famous sorcerer, in a land called Rivellon, that was captured and is being taken to a prison-island called Fort Joy. Your kind is using something called the Source for their magic, but it also attracts something called the Void, which might be considered evil.
You learn early one that someone called the Lucian or the Divine was the only once keeping the darkness at bay, but he’s dead. This prompted the return of the Void in the world, or so it seems at least. In route to Fort Joy, your ship is attacked, and you wind up on a beach, and you start to make your way inland. I’m not going to go any further into details as it would spoil the story, but this being a true RPG you have to keep in mind that not everyone is who it seems at first glance.
All characters have complex backstories and their own goals and wants. The same is true for your party, and as long as your following a road that allows them to reach their goals as well, you’re going to have friends.
Describing the gameplay for Divinity: Original Sin II might be impossible. I’m pretty sure that I will most definitely forget something, so I’m not going to try to cover too much detail. In broad terms, it’s a real-time RPG with the turn-based combat system. Basically, you’re moving in real time, but the combat takes place in turns.
This allows users to make smart choices, to employ various strategies, and to call upon skills, spells, and other items from the inventory. Did an enemy just set you on fire? Well, it might the time to use that bucket of water that you’ve been carrying half of the game. You get the idea.
But let’s back up a little bit. Players can choose from a selection of heroes, with variously different backgrounds. They can choose to distribute the points, or they can decide on a preset. No matter what you go with, there is an interesting option that might not be evident from the start. You don’t’ have to play in a party; you can go in it alone.
As you can imagine, if you do choose to have a party then you’ll have a lot more options for fighting, an increased inventory, and various avenues for quests that would otherwise be more obscured. Furthermore, depending on the difficulty you choose at the beginning, you can either explore the story and have minimum interaction with the inventory, crafting, and so on, or you can go all in and micromanage everything. It’s literally your choice.
Another aspect that way more important than people give credit for is the ability to kill essential characters. No one is really safe, as long as you can keep your own in a fight. It’s the trademark of a true RPG experience.
The only thing that I didn’t like, and which is always a drag, is the overcrowding of the inventory. I tend to pick up everything because it’s not clear what’s useful and what’s not. I end up carrying the most ridiculous stuff only to have to micromanage the inventory. And then I’m sorry about an item that I threw away, even though it was probably worthless. But I have no way of knowing that.
As for the combat itself, surprisingly, it’s not the most attractive aspect of the game, even though it might seem that way. Or at least it’s not for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, and the turn-based mechanic works great. But I love the interactions with the world and solving the quests more than anything else. And let's not forget that it's probably the only game with such high-single player content,
Finally, I have to mention the Game Master mode that allows other users and yourself to create brand new adventures in the land of Rivellon. I haven’t used it, but I understand that it’s quite well designed.
Graphics and sound
As soon as you open the game, you will notice the most meticulous attention to detail you’ve ever seen. I can think of just a handful of games that even approach this kind of level of craftsmanship. In fact, it’s so unique that I’m confident you can immediately tell what game it is with just a glance.
It’s obvious that it was built with the PC in mind, and that is obvious in every aspect, whether it’s the resolution of the textures, lighting, and model quality. The perfect blend between the background levels and the 3D animation helps set the mood and the general tone.
And then we have the Audio component, which is just spot on. Most of the critical discussions are accompanies by a narrator that explains what the character or the NPC is expressing. The closest comparison would be a book or a text-based game. It’s a fantastic addition, and sometimes it leaves me the impression that I’m listening to an audiobook.
The is so much content, both regarding content and text, that it’s mind-boggling that they’ve managed to integrate all of this is such a coherent manner. It’s also understandable why they needed a Definity Edition to dot the Is and cross the Ts.
- Solid RPG mechanics
- Great turn-based combat
- Varied quests
- Interesting story and lore
- Inventory can become a little bit cluttered
Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition is so complex that I think everyone will find something to like, whether it’s combat or an exciting story. The best thing I can say about it is that if I’m asked what I liked about it, I can’t pinpoint something. It’s the complete experience and the feeling of joy that it left behind.