Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a massive, sprawling adventure but be prepared to spend a significant chunk of time managing your inventory and doing busy work.
Developer: Larian Studios
Initial release date: Sept. 14, 2017
Platforms: Windows PC [played], Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Price: Varies slightly by platform, $44.99 on Windows PC
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a computer role-playing game, or CRPG, which basically just means that it uses a top-down camera perspective and you can click a place on the ground to move the character. Like any RPG, players are going to be doing four main things: exploring, conversing, fighting and looting. It’s a tried and true formula that’s lasted decades. Another thing to note is that RPGs are notoriously long. Some games, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, can take over 100 hours to beat. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is no different.
The definitive edition of Divinity: Original Sin 2 released in August 2018 as a free update that added an easy story mode, dialogue changes and new fights. A complete list of changes can be found in a Neoseeker article. Most importantly, the definitive edition added a new companion character with Sir Lora, a talking squirrel of the Knights of Drey who rides an undead skeleton cat. He seemed to think that a giant acorn would destroy the world and is duty-bound to prevent it from happening.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is more like what I imagine a pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons game to be. I’ve never actually played Dungeons & Dragons, but I think I know the basics.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is no different, a basic story is set up about saving the world and being the chosen one, the player meets characters in a central hub area to accept quests and then engages in turn-based combat encounters that reward the player with increasingly powerful weapons and armor. There’s nothing surprising about Divinity: Original Sin 2 aside from some occasional wacky hijinks, but even then it’s what one would expect from playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends.
The comparison to Dungeons & Dragons is especially apt because there is a Gamemaster Mode that allows players to create their own custom campaigns.
When creating a character, players can choose between six preset origin stories or create a custom character and fill in their backstory themselves. Origin characters that were not chosen can be recruited as companions to make a party of four. Most of the origin story characters are fairly standard, such as a mercenary on a mission to assassinate an important leader and a dwarven pirate captain.
The only character of note is Fane, a member of a missing race of people called the eternals. Fane is searching for clues as to what might have happened to them. Being an eternal comes with a few funny caveats such as poison healing them and having to hide their face so other people don’t freak out at their skeleton-like appearance. His blasé attitude toward anything that happens around him provides a few chuckles every now and then.
The ship he’s sailing on is sinking? Oh well, he just has to wait until he reaches the floor of the ocean and then walk to land. Fane also has an immense amount of knowledge about the history of the world. Players hungry to absorb every bit of lore would be wise to have Fane along for the journey. However, whenever he would go off about some king that had been dead for 200 years, I had flashbacks to boring history classes. I just wanted to get to the fighting and sweet loot.
Speaking of loot, a great way to get stuff for free is to steal it. This turns out to be incredibly easy in Divinity: Original Sin 2. Just have one of your characters initiate a conversation with a merchant and have another character sneak behind them and steal whatever you want. How much you can steal from a person is determined by a character’s thievery skill. Every time you put a skill point in thievery after leveling up, you can steal items that are worth more. By hour 50 I could steal anything I could ever possibly want from anyone, assuming I could hide from other non-player characters.
Another legally grey area for acquiring vast sums of riches is by looting every box and container you come across. This lengthy and painstaking process takes forever and will have you squinting at the screen wondering if you can loot a linen sack tucked away behind some barrels. Enemies killed in combat will also drop some items.
If that all sounds like a good time, then you won’t have any regrets buying Divinity: Original Sin 2. If you’re still on the fence, I can only add that as someone who is not well versed with this specific subgenre of RPG, I mostly enjoyed the 50 hours I played of Divinity: Original Sin 2 when I had an abundance of free time and nothing else to occupy myself with.
I can’t say that I would’ve taken Divinity: Original Sin 2 over a Fallout or Horizon Zero Dawn (if the PC release actually went smoothly), but it certainly held my attention for a time. That’s a low bar, but I really think that for the right person, Divinity: Original Sin 2 could be game of the year material.