Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin is one of those roleplaying games that wasn’t really on my radar when it came out. I’d purchased a copy of part 2 recently at a sale, and was somewhere on my ‘to play’ list. Then, covid came around and the Gloomhaven campaign my friends and I were playing fell apart. To ease the pain, we’ve been playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 in co-op.

The world of Divinity

Rivellon is a fantasy world where dangerous magic is possible. This magic is called ‘source’ and those that can wield it are called Voidwoken. The use of Source draws creatures from a different realm called the Void that cause death and mayhem. The so-called Divine Order tries to hunt down the Voidwoken to prevent the creatures of the Void overwhelming Rivellon.

The game starts on a Voidwoken prison ship, where you, a prisoner are being shipped to Fort Joy, an order stronghold. But things don’t go as expected.

Turn-based combat

There are two ways combat in a computer game can work: real-time or turn-based. With a real-time game, the player presses a button and stuff immediately happens. Both player and enemies act simultaneously. This is — of course — how reality works as well. In the alternative, a turn-based game, players and computer agents get individual turns. This is how traditional board games work as well, of course.

Divinity is turn-based. At least, the combat portions are. Each player and any enemies, in turn, get to do a limited number of actions: moving, slashing their swords, or casting their magics.

To somebody used to Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, this may seem an archaic way to play. However, it has several advantages. Real-time games favor the young, who have the best response times. Turn-based games level the field. Which is nice for people like me. I often lag behind in co-op games, you see. I’m not bad at them, but I rarely end up with the highest kill scores in, for example, Left For Dead. I’ve never been fast, and I’ve reached forty.

Turn-based games have there place. They’ve been a staple of Japanese RPGs since forever, and games like X-Com and Shadowrun. Interestingly, the people behind the biggest RPG franchise of Japan — Final Fantasy — decided a decade back that turn-based is old and made the newer installments real-time. To their detriment.

A co-op roleplaying experience

I’ve played a lot of games with friends. From Halo to Trine to Heave Ho. But I can’t remember ever playing a turn-based RPG in co-op. No wait, I think I played the original Baldur’s Gate with my brother for one session, some twenty years ago. It wasn’t a success.

Divinity, though, is a fun co-op passtime. It took a little getting used to, but with headset on, the four of us are now battling our way through the world of Rivellon. It’s fun, and because it’s turn-based, pretty relaxing.

Of course, my fellow players might hate me a bit. I’m playing ‘the Red Prince’, a fire-breathing dragon-humanoid – meaning there’s usually a lot of fire in combat. I set several of them on fire already, and blew up most of our party in the middle of combat when I ignited a large puddle of poison and the oil barrel inside it caught fire. But hey, it happens.

Conclusion

I like Divinity 2. It’s a great game, and I love the turn-based system as well as the graphics.

If you liked games like Baldur’s Gate and turn-based RPGs like Shadowrun, you can’t really go wrong with Divinity: Original Sin 2. Especially when you learn that the studio making this game has been entrusted with creating Baldur’s Gate 3.

If you don’t like turn-based games or RPGs, well, this might not be the game for you.

Author: Martin Stellinga

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands