Divinity: Original Sin is what happens when old-school RPGs are fused with the power of modern technology and 20 years of progress to create something that feels as innovative now as its inspirations did back then. It’s one of the best RPGs in a long time — provided you’re up for a challenge and can tolerate a few rough edges when it comes to game balance and some sloppy signposting of objectives.
Original Sin is the fifth Divinity game, but also a prequel; no prior knowledge of its predecessors is required. You play as a team of two Source Hunters, backed up with a couple of dumb Henchmen or scripted Companions as you choose, whose mundane task of solving a murder is soon upgraded to a full-on quest to save the world – that world being a flowing, beautiful land of constant humor where anything could be waiting around the next corner. It’s possible, for instance, to talk to the animals, including having a dog find suspects for you by having it sniff their underpants.
You play cooperatively, with each person controlling a Source Hunter — or you can play as both yourself. Either way, the characters evolve over time and their rapport is based on how you play, which can involve anything from heroically solving peoples’ problems to emptying their houses and murdering everyone. The overall story follows a linear path, but within that you get plenty of freedom for experimenting with the rules. If a clever trick feels like it should work, it usually will, from using furniture to create a barricade to outright teleporting a boss away from its bodyguards.
This freedom helps make combat one of the most interesting parts of the game. It’s turn-based, tactical, and takes no prisoners. But it’s easy to create a poor team, and there’s no option to rethink your characters’ abilities until far too late in the game. Even basic zombies get bows and powerful magic spells; tough fights can take up to an hour. It’s fair, though, and hard for the right reasons, demanding strategy as well as raw power, and in particular mastery of the elemental magic system — combining lightning and rain will create quite the shock, while rain and ice freezes in swathes.
Whether you remember the RPGs Original Sin draws inspiration from or not, the result is a must-play for all fans of the genre. Incredibly smart, long, and tough as nails, Divinity isn’t just a great game, but a truly special one; an adventure not just to enjoy, but to savor.
- Beautiful, flexible RPG action. Fierce tactical challenge. Inspired magic system.
- Little forgiveness.
- Officially Licensed