Fantasy Round 44: Divinity Original Sin
I’ve been playing my way through Divinity: Original Sin, which is a pretty excellent role-playing game.
It’s been ages since I bought it, and I still haven’t managed to get through all the content. Nonetheless, I thought I’d write a few words about the game, why it’s entertaining, and a small items that didn’t work as well for me.
Scale of Epic
Divinity: Original Sin doesn’t have a scale of epic problem so much as it ignores scale of epic entirely. Starting quest to investigate a murder? Great.
Side-quest to help two cats start a romantic relationship? Um, okay. Find a woman’s lost sheep? Sure.
Suddenly get zapped to another realm during the murder investigation, where you learn you need to save all of existence from being erased?
I’ll admit, that change of pace was startling, unexpected, and made me more interested in the game.
Strangely, the whole thing manages to avoid violating the Law of Conservation of Detail. That kitty romance ends up tied to a ship that sank years ago, from which ghosts are still haunting the landscape, as well as a bunch of magical bad stuff. The woman who asked you to find her missing sheep? That’s important to the murder case you’re investigating, which, in turn, is tied to the end-of-all-existence problem. Often, the sidequests end up being surprisingly relevant to the overall plot.
In fact, that makes the game difficult to play at times — which quest can I do right now? What do I do to convince the captain of the guard that I’ve found the person behind the murder? Why am I trying to steal a talking decapitated head?
The other fun part of the game is the level of interactivity and environmental control that’s available.
Want to steal something out of that guy’s pocket? Sure, if you can sneak well enough and know enough about pickpocketing.
Want to set a door on fire? Sure, there are some spells, grenades, and arrows that will do that. Want to put the fire out? Rain spells and water balloons will work, but they’ll leave a puddle behind. Want to freeze the puddle into ice? Sure. Turn it into steam? Go for it. Area covered in toxic ooze? Burn it to dispose of it, then put out the fire. Can’t get past a barrier? Hunting around for the key is sometimes the only option, but there are other times when lockpicking and brute force are good enough.
The crafting mechanics are even more complex. I’ve made apple pie and pumpkin soup. And enchanted arrows and other weaponry, among other things.
Both parts lend a little bit more realism to the setting — the consequences and interactions make sense. (Pro tip: Don’t stand on flammable material that your fireball will contact unless you have protective equipment.)
Overall, I’m enjoying the many details and complexities of the game.