The first Divinity: Original Sin is something I covered three years ago and still have incredibly fond memories of. I never got around to playing the Enhanced Edition version, though, and since the ending was allegedly reworked (whatever that means), I’m coming into Original Sin 2 feeling like a total newcomer. I don’t remember the characters, the mechanics are taking some time to get used to, and I’m kind of wondering why the buttons are so horribly small. Still, thus far it’s had almost all of the charm of the first, though it hurts a little to play through a Larian game that doesn’t have a Kirill Pokrovsky soundtrack. Which isn’t to say that the music is bad. It’s just one of those weird things that takes some getting used to.
This is really overwhelming at first
Given how many amazing games are similarly intimidating early on, it’s not an indictment to say that everything about Original Sin 2 is incredibly overwhelming right off the bat, but I can definitely see how a more mainstream gamer could be turned off by the complexity of it all. There are so many hotkeys and things that don’t do what you expect (I’ve pulled out my weapons in front of people on multiple occasions because of a random assumption that the tab key highlights items that can be interacted with—it most certainly doesn’t) that it takes time to settle in.
When I first started playing, I repeatedly right-clicked doors and attacked via the resulting menu in order to smash them down (always a personal favorite), only to later realize that you can hold down a key—though I still don’t remember which one it is—and click to attack instead. It’s not faster per se, but it’s definitely less of a hassle, and that’ll make a big difference given how many doors I expect to smash.
I’m playing a pre-made character
Normally I opt for custom characters without fail, but when there were several pre-made characters with their own back stories that promised to provide a deeper experience, I couldn’t resist. I picked former elf slave Sebille, who has a tattoo that allows her master to control her with a song. Now she’s on a quest to murder said master to free herself. I went in and customized her somewhat to give her a focus on melee and summoning (she could turn a corpse into an ally right off the bat) in addition to changing her appearance somewhat, which really helps the pre-made characters avoid feeling like you’re playing through someone else’s story rather than your own. There are several other pre-made characters, as well, and they actually play a bit of a role in the story. I’ve already recruited three of them as party members (this isn’t required—merely an option given to you), which is cool.
All the fun stuff returns
One of the things I loved about the first Original Sin (the original Original Sin?) is how much freedom it gave you. That’s one of the things I love about Arcanum, too, as well as several other older cRPGs. Part of the reason why I never went back to play the Enhanced Edition was that some of the fun things I discovered were patched out, and I imagine they won’t work with Original Sin 2 either, but the amount of freedom on display here is still virtually unrivaled. In the video above, I steal something and then get stopped. If I let her check my bags, she’ll know that I stole from her, so I try to talk my way out of it and fail horribly. Then I load a quicksave, steal again, only this time I wander off and drop the item. Then when she later stops me, I have nothing to hide. In what other game is something like this possible?
And of course, playing with elements is still a major factor here. Combinations of water, electricity, fire, etcetera. In the video above, I have a party member with a water staff attack the ground to put out the fire (which I started for the purpose of demonstration, naturally). Then I start another fire and use one of Sebille’s special attacks that clears most hazardous conditions. I expect to obtain tons of other abilities over the course of the game with similarly fun uses, of course.
Oh yeah, and candlesticks appear to still be indestructible, so I’ve started picking them up. If you saw my review of the first game, you’ll know that I grabbed a ton of them and began using them as a cage so that I could fight tougher enemies without them being able to hit me. It’s a super cheap tactic, and I love it. We’ll have to see if it continues to work in this game, though things are definitely looking good right now.