Larian Studios' long-running Divinity series finally has a console release for its most recent grand adventure.
Divinity: Original Sin II is the sequel to 2014's Original Sin and this Definitive Edition allows console gamers to enjoy it in all its intricate glory. For the unfamiliar, it's an overhead RPG that rewards exploration, critical thinking, smooth talking, and strategy. The latter is especially helpful within the turn-based tactical battles. You play as a gang of companions that consists of a combination of characters including the rogue elf Sebille, the lizard fighter The Red Prince, the human wayfarer Ifan Ben-Mezd, the human enchanter Lohse, the dwarf battlemage Beast, and the undead wizard Fane. The story begins with you being a prisoner on a ship as your character of choice. You soon end up on a prison island where you can meet some companions that will tag along on your quest to escape. From there, things get crazy so prepare for one memorable and unforgiving journey.
The most striking feature of Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition is just how open-ended it is. This is true with its gameplay, story progression, and almost everything about it. Nearly anything can be accomplished in multiple ways so the entire experience ends up being exceptionally immersive and highly rewarding. Even speaking to characters can result in either dishearteningly devastating or surprisingly delightful consequences. If you please someone enough through your decisions and conversational attributes, they may give you a cool item but if you piss them off, you might find yourself stuck in a brutal fight to the death. Each NPC and party member has a distinct personality which makes the world feel alive and authentic. It truly is a masterfully crafted RPG world.
To help flesh out its awe-inspiring world, the graphics are sharp and detailed. You can zoom in and out whenever you want so you can either view your surroundings or observe the characters up-close and personal. Divinity: Original Sin II's soundtrack is superb as well and feels right at home in its fantastical setting. Speaking of audio, the voice cast is phenomenal as the actors allow each character to shine in their own quirky way. Speaking of which, a lot of subject matter in Divinity: Original Sin 2 is quite dark yet there's plenty of humour that'll make you smile even while facing imminent death. This sort of levity makes the adventure all the more enjoyable.
Setting up your party is an engaging endeavour as you find yourself concentrating on improving every single intricacy of each character. Aside from levelling up (which doesn't actually happen that often), you can assign earned points to plenty of different attributes, optimize everyone's equipment, read books and such to learn new recipes and skills, craft items and equipment, and much more. This all comes together in the heat of battle. When it's one of your party members' turns, you move them to wherever you want them to go then select whichever action you want them to perform whether it's a skill, basic attack, item, etc. You only have a certain amount of Action Points that you can expend for each turn so maximizing each move is the key to success. It's satisfying stuff indeed.
Another area where Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition excels in is providing a vast assortment of secrets. Once, I noticed a crab running around that had the name Septa the Ineffable. Obviously, I killed it then found another crab elsewhere and he granted me an awesome shield for doing so. Wait, what? There are so many hidden areas and goodies to be uncovered which can lead to hours upon hours being spent merely wandering around while trying to think outside the box.
Although I had an undeniably phenomenal time with Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition and will likely play it through again and again, there are definitely some minor annoyances that frequently get in the way. The two that happen the most often are when you accidentally pick up a heavy useless item that you then have to navigate to in order to drop it and when the screen dims and the action stops because it has to load or save in the middle of your journey. I wish its performance was smoother in this regard and that there was a prompt before picking up a ridiculously heavy item because no one would intentionally do that regularly.
Finally, some events can be downright infuriating so if you're not saving regularly, you may be in for a devastating surprise from time to time. For the record, I get so absorbed in my games that I find myself forgetting to save. Therefore, having party members unexpectedly die from traps or accidentally making a wrong dialogue choice then pissing someone off when I intended to befriend them made me super-frustrated. Once, I saw some lightning homing in on my party and didn't think much of it then... boom! Everyone was dead. How was I supposed to know that would happen? Another time, I temporarily parted ways with a comrade then watched them walk away and die via trap. I opened my journal and lo and behold, they were permanently deceased. Screw that, dude.
Fans of fantasy RPGs will absolutely love their time with Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition. Its unforgiving yet rewarding campaign is one of the most satisfying adventures that you'll ever partake in.
- + Open-ended adventure set in a memorable world filled with distinct personalities
- + Gorgeous visuals, voice acting, and music
- + So many incredible discoveries to be found
- - Plenty of minor annoyances
- - Some truly frustrating moments