Review – Divinity: Original Sin 2

Overview

Developer Larian Studios
Publisher Larian Studios
Genre RPG
Platforms PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch
Release Date Sept. 14, 2017

Sequel to Divinity: Original Sin, an incredible and classic RPG game, Divinity: Original Sin 2 promises to be even more groundbreaking and engaging than its older brother. It’s lovingly called by many of my friends “Dungeons and Dragons,” the game as you create your character, go on a grand quest, and can even bring friends along for the journey. There’s well-written lore, fleshed-out characters and classes, and a thoughtful, highly-interactive world to be found in Divinity: Original Sin 2. And, as a newbie to RPGs, it was also a perfect introduction to the world of fantasy RPGs that I literally can’t stop playing. 

Content Guide

Spiritual Content

There’s a lot of references to spiritual words and elements, like Bishops, etc. The whole point of Divinity 2 is to become akin to or practically a god. The lore concerns the lack of God in a world searching search for a god. You can be a witch, wizard, necromancer, or other forms of magic user.

Violence

Okay, so like you kill people. A lot. There’s a lot of blood, gore, corpses, violence, slashing and cutting. Lots of references to violence in several different ways. There’s torture, murder, mutilation, cannibalism, et cetera. However, because of the top-down view, you can get as close or stay as far from the violent graphics as you want. Some classes are far more gory, like the necromancer, but others hardly touch gore, like a wayfarer or enchanter. Even so, it’s not anything horrific or scarring. 

Language

There’s some swearing, but not constant or incredibly vulgar. 

Sexual Content

There’s the ability to romance other party members with text-based sex scenes and suggestions, but all of this is highly optional.

Alcohol/Drug Use

There’s alcohol and some natural drug substances. 

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is rated M for Mature.

Review

Divinity 2 comes with several pre-made characters, but you can also make your own and customize character builds like crazy.

In the year since I started dating my quite nerdy boyfriend, I’ve learned how to kick butt in Magic the Gathering, the basics of Dungeons and Dragons, how to play first-person shooters, and the wild world that is League of Legends. So, my fear of intense nerdiness is nonexistent at this point. And intense nerdiness is exactly what a game like Divinity: Original Sin 2 has on offer. After almost two weeks of a few of my friends playing Divinity 2 non-stop, I finally had to try it. While a younger Sydney would’ve been petrified of entering the world of such a lore-heavy, terminology-dense, and fantasy-soaked game, modern Sydney was ready to finally learn basic fantasy classes. 

Yes, this is a review of a fantasy RPG from someone who doesn’t usually play these sorts of games, but I wanted to—for the people who aren’t sure if they can learn it, for the girlfriends who don’t know if they can handle this level of nerdiness, and for the indie gamers who aren’t sure how to edge their way into the world of fantasy RPGs.

You start Divinity 2 on a ship and then in Fort Joy, then venturing all over the map.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a great place to embrace your inner fantasy nerd. The lore is well-written and dense yet approachable, the combat is turn-based and intense yet learnable, and the world is huge and daunting yet full of opportunity. There’s a lot on offer and I would highly recommend Divinity 2 as an entryway to fantasy RPGs or just high fantasy in general. If you’ve ever wanted to see how you’d like Dungeons and Dragons but lack the friend group or the guts to try, this is a great game to experiment with. It’s basically DnD the game, with its classes, character builds, skill points, turn-based combat, and party mechanics. You can even create your own campaigns and have up to four friends in your party in multiplayer, making it an even more DnD-style experience. 

My first thought when I started Divinity 2 is that it is HUGE. There are so many options, so many ways to play, so many ways to build your character and this is a lot to digest but also the beauty of the game. You can have four campaigns going and all four will feel and play radically different. I don’t know if it’s truly possible to get bored, as my friend with over 400 hours in the game can tell you. Every element of Divinity 2 has endless ways to play, beat, and progress through it. Even the tutorial, which is the most cut and dry part, I’ve played and seen played 50 different ways and there are still options I haven’t tried yet—in the tutorial! No matter your interests or playstyle, there is something here for you. There is so much on offer, so many choices, so much possibility; it’s as daunting as it wondrous.

The actual world of Divinity 2 is complex and incredibly immersive. The world of Rivellon truly comes alive with fully voice-acted dialogue, tons of interactability throughout the world, well-crafted graphics, and an approachable interface. All of this quickly sucks you in and within minutes I’m Fane the Undead Rogue and what do you mean classes start in a week? I’ve got to escape Fort Joy and the fire slug princess is trying to seduce my companion while I pickpocket her skill scrolls. 

The writing and fully voice-acted dialogue makes Rivellon feel like a real place while you play.

The story goes that some people have Source, which is this mega-powerful divine thing that people without Source are scared of because of lore and safety reasons. All of the characters you can build or choose from have Source, which is why they’re so cool and powerful. You can dive into all the details of how it works or you can just breathe fire and summon corpses cause you’re a Lizard Witch—it’s all really up to you.

There is an overarching story to Divinity 2, but you can pay as much or as little attention to it as you want, and, since both my friends with 200+ hours in Divinity 2 have never actually finished the game, I’d say it’s important but not *that* important. But, the story and world are great parts of Divinity. None of it feels cheap, campy, or convoluted, as many fantasy things can be. I found myself getting immersed in the world, having legitimate reactions to plot points, and loving the diversity of characters and dialogue on offer.

Even the creatures and classes avoid the classic campy fantasy pitfalls, with the different fantasy races and builds feeling fresh, unique, and interesting. I genuinely wanted to play all of them—the regal lizards with fire breath and sharp claws, the hated undead with lock-picking fingers and special interactions, the flesh-eating elves with their memory-discovery and magic, and even the basic humans with their abilities and storylines. Okay, I kinda always forget dwarves, but the rest are cool and maybe somebody can tell me why dwarves are cool too.  The builds, races, and skills just add more variety and depth to Divinity 2, crafting a truly endless, immersive, and personalized experience.

The combat is well-done and diverse, letting you use tons of different skills and the environment to play however you choose.

And that’s just the races—don’t even get me started on the almost 20 build-types, skills options, stat points, and the rest which you can customize and adapt throughout the game—crafting a unique and engaging playthrough. Some of them are definitely overpowered (looking at you, summoner) while others are hilarious (turning enemies into chickens, anyone?), but all give you different strengths and weaknesses that you bring to the battlefield and world at large. And I love it all. You can be wand-wielding enchanter or witch, bringing corpses back to life or raining down fire and hail from afar, you can keep your distance as a ranger or wayfarer, shooting arrows and working with elements, you can use brute strength as a knight or battlemage, using your weapons and muscles, and that’s just a few of them.

There’s so, so many options, and even within those classes, there’s customization and different skills that can radically change the gameplay for you. One of my friend’s friends sets the ground on fire, turns their opponents into chickens, and watches them run themselves to death; another summons all the elements and watches as all his summoned creatures fight for him; yet another is a classic knight with fancy weaponry, and I’ve been an elven ranger needing high ground and elemental arrows as well as an undead rogue crawling around in barrels and flipping for backstabs, among others. Becoming whoever you want, however you want, is the biggest strength and scariest part of Divinity 2.

Character builds have tons of options and allow you to have a million different kinds of experiences.

Caution: there is a rather high learning curve. Between all the terms, menus, mechanics, play-styles, and options—there’s a lot on offer but also a lot to learn and get used to. It can feel incredibly intimidating, especially if you’re like me and have never played a fantasy RPG before. But, if you take your time, maybe grab a friend to teach you the ropes, and let yourself slowly learn stuff, you’ll get the hang of it faster than you think.

You may start out horrified at the 15 menus and things to keep track of, but unlike an FPS, you’re not thrust head-first into life-threatening action. Divinity 2 lets you go at your own pace and learn on your own terms, never really rushing you or punishing you for not knowing what you’re doing. That’s not to say it isn’t challenging though- it can and will give you plenty of challenge as the game progresses or if you alter the game mode. The hardest game mode only lets you save once- which sounds insane, but for the learning among us, just pop it in Explorer or Story mode and find your place in the world of Rivellon. You won’t regret any of the time, energy, or brainpower you pour into Divinity 2

Divinity 2 lets you go full fantasy RPG nerd- handling skills, armor, inventory, and stats as you get stronger and move further through the world.

I’ve sunk 30 hours into Divinity 2 so far, and I’ve only scratched the surface. There’s so much I haven’t done, seen, or experienced yet and I know it’s almost impossible to truly see everything Divinity 2 has on offer. It’s $44.99 for the basic game but goes up to $89.99 for the ultimate package, with its own bonuses and extras, but for how expansive and well-crafted Divinity 2 is, I think those prices are fair for what they offer. Divinity 2 is also mod-friendly with an active community of modders and extras which add even more to the experience. I would highly recommend Divinity 2 and I totally get why all my nerdy gamer friends have sunk weeks worth of time into it. It’s a great place to start for those interested in the world of fantasy RPGs as well as befitting and challenging for the experienced player.

The Bottom Line

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an absolute masterpiece of fantasy RPG games and a great starting point for new nerds as well as a solid choice for long-time fantasy nerds. Want a break from reality? Try Rivellon.

 

9.5

Sydney Stoddard

In love with people, words, and justice, Sydney Stoddard is a jack-of-all-trades writer out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Sydney is an English major at UNLV, studying literature, writing, and storytelling. In her spare time, you can find her meeting friends, writing about anything and everything, managing websites and advocating for anti-trafficking organizations. You can check out more of her writing at: http://sydneystoddard.com

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