Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition has come to consoles and fans of isometric role-playing games are in for a treat! With the latest chapter in the popular Divinity series, developer Larian Studios does not disappoint and continues to prove why they are the current masters of the genre. Build your character from scratch or select from six different premade characters if you like. Each character can also be recruited to your team of four creating a different experience every playthrough. Grab a controller and say goodbye to the real world.
Back when I gamed on PC, isometric RPGs like Baldur’s Gate kept me glued to my screen for days on end, but it takes a certain type of gamer to enjoy this genre. A control freak like myself will instantly enjoy the ability to give detailed instructions to each character every turn. Like a digital Dungeons & Dragons campaign, these games usually give the player total control of how they interact with the world. Do you want to be evil and kill everyone? Go for it. Does your hero only care about themselves? That’s fine, you don’t even have to have a team, go solo instead. This level of detail is brought to unheard of levels in the Divinity series and Original Sin II goes even farther.
Original Sin II is a conversion of the mouse and keyboard PC game released last year. The console Definitive Edition provides all content to date and even owners of the PC version got a free update to include the content. Don’t let the sequel effect scare you away. Players inexperienced with iso RPGs or who have never played the first games in the series can still get in on this action. The game does a fantastic job of introducing players to the systems and providing tutorials. Original Sin II is as complicated as you make it. With the ability to build characters and then play the story any way you want, if it’s your first time, have fun with it.
Original Sin II is an experience. With over 100 hours of quests and side stories to pursue, there is no way to do everything. Your moral choices affect what quests open up and it is possible to kill a quest line by choosing to attack the evil entity asking for your assistance. Saving is key, and I cannot stress this enough. Quick save before ANY encounter you are unsure of. Many times I have reloaded after a 30 minute battle that did not go the way I wanted it to, just to go back and try a different approach. Every encounter has various options depending on your allegiances to a certain group or person. Even conversing with different party members can result in different outcomes. It is mind numbing to think of the time Larian Studios invested in creating so many paths for us to enjoy.
Unlike other fantasy games that have the standard tropes of requiring a tank, a healer, and some dps, Original Sin II goes a different route. Your characters can be sculpted to any role and learn from any of the various spell trees. Trying to master one will only lead to defeat and a well rounded group will have each character gain the ability to cast the most powerful and useful spells and skills. Yes, we have the usual HP (hit points) but Original Sin II uses an interesting system of physical and magical armor points. These must be depleted before HP is effected and also controls the chances of status effects taking hold. Gear is king and players should always look for the most gain to these stats over anything else. Keeping these armor ratings topped off in combat is also imperative.
The same system applies to your enemies, so focusing on either physical or magical damage to an opponent is the best way to get them to a point where you can damage their hit points. Once these armors are depleted you can also focus on “crowd control” or spells that take the enemy out of a round or more of combat. Spells and skills can produce effects like knockdown, shock, frozen, and hell, you can even turn them into a chicken. Since Original Sin II is a turn based game in combat, any spells that add an extra controllable entity, or summoned character is always a good choice. I particularly love the Summoning spells for this. Creating a totem or incarnate that will add an extra turn to your team that can quickly put you ahead in the numbers game.
As fulfilling as combat is in Original Sin II, the story is also fantastic. Without any big spoilers I will try to fill you in. Your character escapes a magic prison on an island only to find they are the chosen Godwoken. Using magical “Source”, beings like yourself are hunted by Magisters, or “Magic Cops” as I call them. Once on the mainland the story ramps up and players must build their power in preparation of becoming a god. Only one of your party can ascend though, will it be your created character or one of your party members? That is entirely up to you. Will you be a kind or evil god? Or just plain indifferent? The choices you make will determine this.
Graphically Original Sin II is incredible. Every little detail is visible in 4k if you have a system to support it. Details on armor changes as you equip new finds. Spells get more and more intense and visually astounding. Elements are a huge part of combat and the effects of spells on the ground are beautiful. Every electrical shock and bubble of the poison pool is right there. Enemies are as varied as they are dangerous and very well designed. Audio is some of the best of any game I have ever played. Not since The Witcher 3 have I seen so much voice acting. Every character has recorded dialog. It. Is. Massive. Music is a perfect background addition to every scene; from exciting combat music, to ominous symphonic songs, and tranquil harmonies to compliment every area.
The world of Rivellon is huge. If I could quit my job and spend the next few years playing Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition, I would. It is an addictive experience in every aspect. From the customization of your team and the impressive combat, to the thousands of outcomes in the story, it never gets old. I have spent hours, yes hours, just tweaking gear, sorting items, and crafting things. I even purchased Spider-man but have yet to touch it because of the grip this game has had on me, and likely will continue to for the coming months. At over 60 hours in I see no end in sight, and that’s a good thing, because I never want this game to end. The scope of Original Sin II may be overwhelming to some players, but don’t let that turn you away. If you enjoy fantasy or role-playing games, you cannot miss this game. Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition has set the bar for isometric RPGs and I don’t expect we will see anything nearly as good for a very long time.