Divinity: Original Sin is one of those Kickstarter games that didn't come with stipulations and poor management like so many before it (and after). People got the game they paid for, and then some. I have reviewed my fair share of games funded through Kickstarter and the experience has been mixed. This is possibly my best experience while Citadels was the worst. Ever since Skyrim, developers seem to think dumbing down the RPG experience is a good thing, and that as long as your game appears to be good, that is enough to say it is finished. The genre has been heavily streamlined over the years but there are some diamonds in the rough. Divinity: Original Sin is one of these diamonds and it is by far one of the best RPGs I have played this last year.
In Divinity:Original Sin you take on the role of a young Source Hunter: your job is to rid the world of those who use the foulest of magics. When you embark on what should have been a routine murder investigation, you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a plot that will rattle the very fabric of time.
The story for Original Sin is pretty good, it can be classified as a fantasy epic, and I love it. It has a classic charm that gives you the feeling of wanting to know more. Everything about the game's story is mysterious and because it takes place in the Divinity universe, there is a lot of lore in the world to discover. The main story is also not the only one to be told. There are plenty of small and large side quests to undertake. The amount of content in the game is astounding when compared to other RPGs released in the last 5 years.
A feature that I was really impressed with was Co-Op. Yes a turn-based RPG that you can play with a friend or random bystander on the internet. What makes this feature so cool is the ability to “role play” your characters. There are many instances where the two main characters will converse with each other. Two people can give their own answers to enhance the part of playing the game with someone else. Some of the choices unlock new dialogue options so it is great to experience something so new to the gaming world.
There is a lot to the gameplay that makes Original Sin stand out among other RPGs. The fact I can customize the values of my stats when I create my character and every time he levels up is a feature that has disappeared over the years due to the streamlining of the genre. While it isn't an essential mechanic that should be in all RPGs, I have missed it. Visually speaking, you can make your characters look their roles as well, and it is awesome. The top-down perspective allows you to appreciate the time you spent on your character. As opposed to First-Person games.
The combat is turn-based while exploring is all in real time. Both of the gameplay styles work in tandem with each other and there aren't any glaring problems with them. What I mean by “glaring problems” is when you have a game that has two methods of playing, one method stands out as “this should be have been better developed”. Divinity: Original Sin was designed to have this specific way of playing, and it works so well.
Each character has AP to spend and you use it to move/attack/use skills. If you pass your turn, you can keep some of your AP. Managing your points while also minding what enemies are attacking is how this games becomes all about strategy. Every skill, every spell, and even every item has their own effect radius and method to their madness. Utilizing them to their best potential all depends on how the well the wielder has been developed. As you would expect, the beginning of the game is very tough for this reason. You will always seem to be hideously outnumbered and you lack the sustain or damage to last in long fights.
Grinding is something that is oddly absent in this game. I found it difficult to just troll around looking for creatures to kill. I felt like I was wasting time. I should have been working on quests but in every area I appeared to be under leveled. This is one of the few problems I have with Divinity: Original Sin. It lacks a direction when it comes to quests. Sure, you have a journal that chronicles what you have done, and what you need to do, but at the same time the descriptions are really vague. Quests eventually devolve into clinking onto every single NPC you find until the journal icon lights up. More often than not, I ended up getting more quests to complete than completing ones I already started.
Now this is not necessarily a bad thing. Making the player think and forcing them to explore is something that videogames need. There is a better way of going about it though. Solving a puzzle or mystery comes from the “Ah-HA” moment when you figure out where to go or what to do. There is no joy in wandering around aimlessly. Divinity: Original Sin has a lot of that with the side quests. You cannot just skip them either, you miss out on so much if you just focus on the main story arc.
This is a game I was really impressed with. It has a very slow start and a rough difficulty slope to overcome. But when you get passed all of that, it becomes one of the best games to play. The visuals are bright and diverse, the level design is great, the character development is spot on. There is a lot of fun to this game, and people need to know it exists. If you love hardcore RPGs, this game is certainly for you. I give Divinity: Original Sin for the PC a 9/10. You can get it on Steam now.