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Divinity: Original Sin Is The CRPG The World Needs

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It’s a bright, sunny day in the lands of Rivellon. Birds are chirping, soldiers are training in the town square, hordes of the ravenous shambling dead are hanging around right outside town and I’m running around in my boxers with a big damn axe and a desire to crush and poison things with earth magic. Welcome to the world of Divinity: Original Sin, but mind the cock posing for a portrait in the town market.

Why yes, my armory does come standard with the "evil overlord" look, why do you ask?

Original Sin is the newest entry in a series with quite a long history at this point, though it takes place many years before the recent Divinity 2 and just after Dragon Commander. Larian is a studio with a sense of humor, and it shines through in the dialogue, writing and general themes of the game. This is a world that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite it being a very serious game. By the time I encountered the zombie councilor and the bridge troll whose bridge had been destroyed, thus making him very, very depressed, I was in stitches, not unlike said zombie councilor. Also there’s a random named crawling zombie. His name is Rob. Rob Zombie. Clearly we are dealing with writers that think like 90s teenagers, and that’s the kind of writing I can get behind, much like the prostitute the entire party got behind in Silverglenn. Yes, the fine folks at Larian have even allowed you to (one-by-one) run train on a prostitute, assuming you have the gold for it. Already the awards announcers are prepping the Original Sin announcement speeches and award statues.

 

At the same time, Original Sin is a smart game. The mechanics are well designed, with combat feeling meaningful and weighty. The world is your exploding oyster, so break out your best elemental combinations and destroy it like the marauding band of heroes you are. Status effects are crucial to victory in Original Sin, and the number of available options would make the most obsessed debuff mage cream his expensive, enchanted pants. While enchanting is in the conversation, the number of crafting and enchanting options is the most robust I’ve seen in a recent RPG, with none of the hand-holding or recipes popping up on screen because you have the skill. You have to hunt, experiment and logic your way through crafting, which is the best kind of crafting system.

Shortly after this image was taken, my entire party was murdered by goblins hiding in totems.

The world is incredibly large and detailed for a top-down game. The beautiful, lush vistas are complemented by dank, dread-inducing dungeons and blasted plains and crags. This is a world where the artists were given all the artistic license to be bold and dramatic, and they ran with it like Usain Bolt in an Olympic final. Creature design takes many pages from other Larian works in the Divinity universe, but everything feels inspired and meaningful. Not one creature feels out of place in Larian’s zany-yet-serious fantasy romp. Though the world is often lacking in other magical races for playable characters, Larian makes humans interesting in Original Sin. You’ll find recalcitrant undead soldiers, angry researchers, crazed cultists, a hillbilly magic-fearing fighter companion, and many more oddities throughout. This game has a myriad of things, but dull moments are not among them.

 

For those fans of multi-player that have been shoved into a small isolation chamber off to the side in the party-based CRPG community, you may now rejoice for once. The game does offer co-op, and with about 5 hours in on that playthrough I can tell you it holds up very well. Indeed, it very much plays like a tabletop game with fancy graphics and a focused structure. The combat mechanics don’t feel stretched with the addition of a second player-controlled character, and quite honestly the dialogue system practically cries out for the co-op experience, especially with the rock, paper, scissors dialogue dispute resolution system.

Clearly the statue is suspicious, there's more cave on the other side.

So, if you have reached this point and are still asking yourself if you should buy the game, the answer is yes. Divinity: Original Sin is a great spiritual successor to the old Infinity Engine games with a new coat of paint and some great mechanics innovation. Larian has truly merged the greatest traits of the old with the best ideas of the new to create a game that delivers in all the right places. I’ve got 30 hours in right now, and I can’t see myself finishing my solo playthrough with less than another 40 under my belt. This isn’t counting any content from the Steam Workshop or my co-op playthrough. In my game library, Skyrim and Fallout have a new contender for the title of “Most Replayed Game”. Here’s hoping I can finish everything before Pillars of Eternity goes early access, or it’ll be like forcing me to choose between saving only one of two children in danger when I pick which one to play. Either way, I’m going to feel like I am sorely neglecting the other.
Divinity: Original Sin is out now on Steam, and is receiving a ton of developer and modder support.

About Whiskey Ginger

Whiskey Ginger is a scientist by day and comedy writer by night. Other than his passions for the nerdier things in life, he also writes for comedy sites dedicated to fraternity and postgrad humor. His parents just wish he'd write less dick jokes.

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