Okay, I finally broke down and patched the game. Unpatched, the saving seems to have been wonky enough to increase save and load times significantly as you explore the game’s much larger second map. It started to get really ridiculous to the point of being virtually unplayable. Some new enemy skills have also begun to become more frequent, and I’m not going to sugarcoat this: they’re bad. They’re really, really bad and undermine a great deal of the game’s combat strategy.
Side effects of patching
First, though, let’s talk about how much better the loading times are after the patch. This was me trying to load a save before the patch:
Almost four and a half minutes to load. If you screw up and accidentally antagonize a group or get wiped out by enemies you’re outmatched by, that’s four and a half minutes of staring at a screen before you can try again. Here’s after the patch:
You know, a loading time of over a minute (on an SSD, no less) would be inexcusable in any other game, but I can roll with it here given how much of an improvement it is. It’s still a bit of a hassle and one of many ways the game doesn’t respect your time, though. I also noticed a little weirdness after the patch:
Thankfully, a few invisible dead enemies aren’t a big deal. At least they’re actually dead. I mean, the fight here is total BS where you’re set up to fail the first time you go through it. First you’re going up against Magisters (they’re strong, but I was confident I could take them out). Then these oil slime things start appearing, and they have the ability to leap ridiculous distances across the stage, spreading flammable oil all over. That makes it easy to kill them with fire, of course, but doing so screws you over because fire slime things show up after the oil ones are dealt with and all of the fire heals them. There are so many enemies in this fight that it takes forever to get to the point where you recognize that you’ve screwed yourself, and losing all of that progress is infuriating and not remotely entertaining.
Letting them work it out on their own
Honestly, I was so pissed off at the outright cheapness of this fight that I decided to trigger it and then run away (using a nearby hatch) while the Magisters and slimes fought each other. In Original Sin 2’s defense, you can absolutely do this:
That’s a video of a different fight than the one I’m talking about, but the basic principle is the same. Sitting around and letting enemies weaken each other is only slightly faster than when you actively participate, though, so I kept finding myself going to get a drink instead of, you know, actually playing the game.
Some of the fire slime things survived afterward, so I used one of Sebille’s skills that allows her to summon a giant bone spider (which is incredibly powerful), then kept popping up out of the hatch and having the summon take out an enemy until the area was finally safe to travel through. Talk about a low point.
And things are getting worse
If you’ve followed this site and my love-turned-spiraling-hate of the Fire Emblem series, you may already recognize that I love strategy in games and consider character positioning to be sacrosanct. There have to be rules that allow you to predict enemy movement for the strategy to actually mean anything, and while there have been some mages with a teleporting skill littered throughout the game, they’ve been rare enough to avoid undermining the strategic underpinnings. Then the slimes jumped across the map to hit my characters while still having enough points to attack a second time, and the strategy started to feel shaky. Then I set up a barricade to keep enemies from climbing ladders to reach me and some Magister abominations jumped up to attack anyway, and things felt even shakier.
I finally got to where I was going, only for an enemy character to literally have wings. I set up this whole big explosive trap, and she just flies off out of it the second combat starts. This is where the strategy of this game crumbles into nothingness. There’s no purpose to ranged characters if it’s impossible to protect them. There’s no value in blocking enemies if they can jump right past you. Now every character has to be able to take a ton of hits or else very likely die before they even get a turn in combat, and this isn’t okay anymore. Remember, I liked the combat in the opening tutorial-ish area a lot. These new skills and tediously long battles only serve to screw up something that worked perfectly fine and make it feel maddeningly arbitrary.
Oh, and the game autosaves as soon as combat starts, so if you instinctively hit the quickload button thinking it’ll take you to your last quicksave, you’ll sit through a long loading screen only to watch as the same thing happens again. Just terrible.
As if that fight with the flying enemy wasn’t annoying enough already, I also stumbled across a bug. If you summon the bone spider too close to an enemy, it simply won’t be able to attack unless it uses an action point to move away first. That single point is the difference between my spider attacking once (which is enough to almost take out the physical shield of most enemies right now) and twice (which is enough to definitely take out a physical shield, opening up enemies to statuses). That’s a huge thing to be robbed of because of some positioning awkwardness.
At least moving barrels is easy
I have three teleporter pyramids right now, and they’re all connected so that I can drop one anywhere and use either of the other two to get to the third. Or I can give one to my rogue who’s uniquely suited to stealthily creeping into enemy territory, then have the others teleport to her once trouble is behind rather than trying to sneak them all through individually. These things can also be used to cut down on the teleporting tedium I mentioned in the last progress log.
Far and away the best use I’ve found for them, however, is transporting heavy things. What I did was that I had Sebille grab a bunch of oil barrels until she was so overencumbered that she couldn’t even walk, then had her teleport to Lohse at the spot of the fight and drop them. After that, all it took was using her Telekinesis to move them around, and boom. The whole thing was much less of a hassle than it’d have been if I had to run back and forth, individually shuttling oil barrels.