Divinity – Original Sin 2: Progress Log #3

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

I’ve officially reached the point of obsession with this game where everything becomes “I’ll take a break as soon as I get to [place] and [do thing],” and the specific points mentioned are always pushed back and replaced with new ones. This is one of those “look up and realize that it’s 2 AM” games. I even got so caught up playing that I ran out of time to write about what I was doing and had to post something else for the day yesterday (thankfully I had a few pre-written things saved for such an occurrence). That said, I don’t think that I like this quite as much as the first Original Sin. I’ve run into situations where I accessed areas out of order and had people reference things I wasn’t aware of yet, and there are all kinds of little bugs I’ve run into like animation turning off and an ally skating around. Persuasion feels weirdly arbitrary compared to the rock-paper-scissors approach the first game had, too, and the twisty-turny area design and (slightly) less stylized visuals have made it much easier to get lost. It’s still leagues above most games, of course, and complaining about such things while admitting that it’s sucking up almost all of my free time is probably reaching a bit, but there are definitely a few rough edges here.

Some miscellaneous gameplay stuff

Using telekinesis to move items on top of vents to get rid of hazardous material feels familiar, so I’m almost positive that this was used a few times in the first Original Sin. Again, it’s been three years and I only played through that game a single time.

Learning new skills, on the other hand, doesn’t really feel familiar. Learning skills through skill books is one of the things I’m 100% sure returns (after all, I remember killing a whole bunch of random people to grab skill books without having to pay for them), but going into the skill menu and choosing your equipped skills? Not so much. You can swap these skills out pretty much at will, and you don’t need to rest or anything vaguely Dungeons & Dragons-y like that before you can use it. Swap it in, find a spot for it on your hotbar (or have it automatically added if there’s a free spot there), and boom, that skill’s immediately available. Talk about user-friendly.

Lastly, there’s some tricky stuff that I’ve run into during one or two dungeons. Invisible platforms, trapped chests, riddles, and all manner of weirdness like that. It really speaks to the amount of effort put into the game that Larian didn’t center everything around the game’s (great) mechanics, instead messing around with puzzles and various little wrinkles that vary gameplay up a bit.

Quests can have time limits? I think?

There’s no day/night cycle in this game, and it would have been absurd to meaningfully implement one on top of all of the other mechanics at play. Still, this gave me the impression that time was effectively frozen like in so many other games, so when a character I saved offered to take me in his boat and told me not to take too long, I rolled my eyes a bit and didn’t take him seriously. Then I came back later and both him and the boat were actually gone. I haven’t seen this kind of thing in any other quest, but the lack of a tutorial prompt explaining that hey, this guy isn’t kidding around about not taking too long was a bit irritating. Now I have no idea where he was going to take me and hate that I missed out on some content.

I decided to assassinate the high judge

Everything about this guy and his corrupt town guard dudes screams “good intentions gone horribly awry,” so I decided to liberate him from the shackles of this mortal coil by stabbing him repeatedly. Backstabs in particular are proving to be my best weapon in fights, and I think I could steamroll most enemies if I had insisted on all of my characters being rogues rather than a more varied mix of mages and such.

Half of the reason I’m posting this is to explain combat, though, which is definitely different than that in the first game. Now everyone has physical and magical shields that have to be worn down before you can get to their health, and this adds some depth to the strategy. For example, having a magic-user attack with wands will wear down an enemy’s magic shield, but that might mean that following that up by attacking that enemy with a physical attack isn’t a good use of your action points; you only need to wear down one of their shields to do damage to their health with further attacks of that type, while the other type will have to first wear down the corresponding shield. That means that it’s usually best to have physical units focus on enemies with weak physical shields and magical units focus on enemies with weak magical shields rather than having everyone gang up on a single unit.

Pre-fight preparation makes a difference

You know, I really expected using candles as a cage to be more important to my combat strategies than anything else, but I honestly haven’t been cheesing combat at all. Instead, it’s been all about sneaking around and setting things up in an ideal way before fights begin, moving barrels around as needed and revealing one unit at a time so that they can all get a cheap strike in before officially joining the fight.

Getting ranged attackers to high ground can be especially important since attacks do more damage when they come from high ground (and conversely, less damage when they come from low ground). Most of the time, though, sneaking around is most useful for striking an especially annoying enemy early, removing them from the fight almost entirely so that you can focus on everyone else. The biggest annoyance in the fight that I’m preparing for in the video above is the mage wandering around on the platform right above where all my units are sneaking; she has teleport magic that can screw up my positioning, so setting up explosive barrels and having my rogue ready to backstab the living hell out of her gives me a lot of options.

I eventually moved the barrels down so that I could create a fire to wear down the magical shields of other units and focused on coming at her exclusively with physical attacks. Using the barrels on just her would have been a waste of resources.

[Click here to go to Divinity: Original Sin 2 log #2]
[Click here to go to Divinity: Original Sin 2 log #4]

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