Divinity: Original Sin

My early impressions of Divinity: Original Sin (D:OS) is that this is the funnest tactical game I’ve played in years… in those few moments the game allows me to play. And I don’t mean that the game is crashing or anything – it’s just a few battles interspersed with long periods of fetch quests/running around town. Which is a real shame, because the combat is amazing.

Right from the start, I knew the D:OS battle system was for me, as it seemed to blend a whole bunch of mechanics from my favorite games. First, it’s character turn-based with a prominent display of upcoming turns, which reminded me of Final Fantasy Tactics or even FFX. Second, it uses Action Points just like with the old-school Fallout games. Third, speaking of Fallout, the movement system is non-grid based, as with Fallout Tactics. Finally, unused AP from the end of your turn is carried over to the next, providing additional tactical considerations.

DOS_Rope

Asking the serious questions.

 

What really takes the cake though, are the relatively novel innovations. For example, right from character creation I was able to learn the Teleport ability. Now, this is an offensive teleport whereby you drop someone (or something) from 20 ft in the air, but the sheer number of uses is extraordinary. In the beginning town, there was a joke about how a rope was preventing my character from reaching a treasure chest. Teleport it over to my area. Spellcaster hiding behind melee? Teleport him in front of your own. Considering how a main component of D:OS are environmental combos – shooting a lightning bolt into the water to electrify everyone standing inside – it is extremely convenient to be able to place people where you want them.

The other thing I appreciate? Spells have cooldowns. This prevents spellcasting from being too OP in combat itself (e.g. Teleport), while still giving you amusing out-of-combat options – aforementioned Teleport, casting a Rain spell on a boat on fire, etc. While this does affect game balance quite a bit in the sense that healing spells are effectively infinite, the sort of D&D/Baldur’s Gate style of resource management just means you can’t do fun things.

DOS_Loot

Oh, hey, an upgrade.

While I am enjoying my time thus far, D:OS does have some annoying design decisions. Inventory management is a righteous pain in the ass. The designers were very generous in the inventory slot department, for example, but they also went the Skyrim route of having nearly everything lootable, e.g. dishes, soap, individual gold pieces, etc. That’s on top of the baffling decision to make it so that inventory isn’t combined when selling things. Start a trade and realize you dumped the expensive goods on your mule partner? Can’t switch characters during a trade. Ooooookay… let me just manually shuffle items around and get right back into the dialog later.

As I mentioned, the pacing is weird too. There is a tutorial of sorts with enemies and traps and treasure. And then you are just kinda dumped into a city to investigate a homicide. The Witcher series has this exactly same issue, actually, but Witcher’s combat was awful so I enjoyed not having to slot through the nonsense. With D:OS, I’m hoping for fights.

In any case, this is fairly early on in the game, so I’m hopeful that things improve from here.

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Posted on March 21, 2017, in Impressions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good news for you then, once you get to about level 3 or so you can easily head out of the western gate of Cyseal and start sticking it to the undead. Then all you really need to do in town ever again is check vendors, turn in quests, craft shit, and steal everything of value that isn’t nailed down.

    There’s also this nice, spoiler lite area level guide on steam that shows you approximately what areas contain level appropriate stuff. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=635229367

    I also recommend looking into this crafting guide, http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=546088017 , if you want to bother with crafting at all. Because trying to get to grips with the system normally is a suckers game.

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    • I finally broke down last night after writing this post and looked online for “stuck in Cyseal,” so it’s good getting some extra confirmation that leaving the town is fine. I’m normally fine with experimenting on my own in these situations, but having the guards specifically call out my level made me nervous there would be some quest flag or another that needed to be tripped beforehand.

      I’ll check out the crafting guide later, because yeah, right now the system seems dumb as hell. Why are there 5 different types of shells I can consume, given that they all have the same stats? Hopefully I can find some answers.

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      • I think only the guard by the gate going out onto the beach says that, and he’s right. Going out there just after doing the tutorial bits is bloody suicide. You’re supposed to poke around Cyseal for a while finding quest hooks, companion characters, and getting a bit of xp before heading out into the world.

        As for the crafting… it kinda takes the same tack that GW2 crafting did where you’re supposed to experiment with combines to find out what works, and it has a lot of the same bloody problems. Takes forever to find them by yourself. Lots of recipes that aren’t particularly intuitive. Etc. Also worth noting that Blacksmithing is waaaay less valuable than Crafting skill, but only experience can really teach you that.

        Plus you can kinda fuck with your builds a bit if you invest too heavily into crafting, or any of the non-combat skills really. All you really need to a point or two invested into the skill because the rest can easily be made up with gear swaps, but that’s not particularly obvious.

        Crafting is the best source of consumables and gear upgrades though. Especially later in the game. Sadly, they can also make the game a bit too damn easy as well, especially on normal difficulty.

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  2. My main issue with the game was that the story/setting tries far too hard to be funny, generally failing, while also attempting to tell a serious story between all the meta-jokes. Hard to dig into an RPG when the whole story aspect doesn’t click for you.

    Combat was good, but IMO a little too gimmicky. If you find a powerful combo, it’s going to work 99% of the time. When it doesn’t, you are likely screwed.

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    • Definitely already experiencing the whole “trying to be funny” thing thus far. Some lands, some doesn’t. It’s not breaking my immersion yet – I’m sorta treating the game like Torchlight atm – but I can see where it would for others.

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      • I never finished it, but there was a particular point right after the first town that was especially immersion-destroying for me. Curious to see if the same happens to you when you reach it.

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  3. I bought this one to play couch co-op with someone else and it was too painful. It’s really cool that you can split up on one screen but visits to town were just an ordeal. So much looting, so much reading, and god forbid you accidentally attack an NPC or even a chicken. The whole town comes down on you.

    The game allowed so much it was actually overwhelming. We ended up putting it down after only a few hours of play but I may revisit it solo since you reminded me of the possibilities.

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