Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition Review

Experiencing a full-fledged interactive tale in an age of Sword and Sorcery, filled to the brim with twists and turns shaped by your own choices, as a fantasy character born of your own imagination is one of the greatest joys a RPG enthusiast can have. It is pretty common to find such complex table-top styled RPGs successfully delivered on PC, whereas the console only had scarce chances in these past years.

Divinity: Original Sin II - originally released back in 2017, is lauded as a monumental and timeless masterpiece by many for its complexity and interactivity. After a long year of waiting, console players have finally a chance to experience this Larian Studios’ compelling CRPG with a Definitive Edition.

The game begins several centuries after the events of the original Divinity: Original Sin. The world of Rivellon is in danger as monstrous creatures, known as the Voidwoken, threaten to break free of the void and invade the world. You play as a Sourcerer, one of the many people with the ability to control the Source, a magical energy that is believed to rouse the Voidwoken. Intrinsically, you were captured by those who fear the Source and sent to a fortress called Fort Joy on a distant shore, along with other Sourcerers, to be ‘cured’ of your power.

As expected from a RPG, you can create and customize your character with a myriad of options to choose from. Whether you want to be an opportunist lizard enchantress with a silver tongue who can disarm adversaries with nothing but words or an outlaw undead warrior that would rather solve problems by bashing several faces in, you have the freedom to do. The choices you make in character creation are not only for lore and cosmetic purposes, as they can heavily influence the way the story unfolds for you. The world reacts to your character and what you choose to be in meaningful ways, which in turn can either helps or hinders with your progress in the game.

What sets Divinity: Original Sin II apart from other CRPGs is that aside from having the option to create custom characters, players can also chooses to play as an original character already presented. There are six original characters which players can choose from to be their protagonist. Each has his or her own interesting backstory, agenda and diverse personality to boot. I opted to play as an origin character in my playthrough because I find them much more interesting than a custom character.

The term ‘sprawling’ is, more often than not, archetypally used to describe an open-world game with huge landscapes to explore, not to an isometric CRPG like Divinity: Original Sin II. However, this term is perfectly fitting to describe the game here as it is staggeringly immersive with freedom of choices and possibilities in one’s approach to progress the game. You will be spending the first few hours of the game, figuring out how to escape from the joyless Fort Joy and quite possibly if you let curiosity get the better of you, another couple of hours restarting the game with different characters, to make different choices and approaches to see where they lead ultimately.

I am not ashamed to admit I restarted the game immediately after a cute and mysterious black cat that had been following me died tragically after carelessly walking through a toxic pool. In my next attempt, I opted for an ability that allowed me to converse with animals, just so that I could converse with this particular feline to find out what it wants. To my surprise, I could talk to almost every animal I met and hold meaningful conversations with them. They are all aptly voiced as well! Turns out that my furball friend was as confused as I was and did not know the reason why it had to follow me. So I decided to investigate further, leaving voidwoken business aside, but my investigation ended abruptly when a superstitious guard took it as a sign of ill omen and decided to fly an arrow at my feline friend who did not have nine lives. This time, I reloaded a save file and detached one of my companions to let him talk to the bowstring-happy guard and kept him busy, so that no stray arrow would hit me or my cat while I explore the Fort.

This level of open-ended gameplay is presented in combats as well. Battles play out like a typical turn-based strategy game, where each character moves and acts in turn by spending their AP (action points). These encounters are not random, and most of them can be avoided if you choose to do so. However, those who lust for blood and seek the thrill of battles, be warned, as charging blindly into battle will, more often than not, result in a horrible defeat even in classic (normal) difficulty. You have to be aware of your surroundings to make use of anything that can be interact to gain the advantage. For example, a pool of blood spilled on the floor when you gutted an enemy is more than a visual decoration. An enchantress can freeze it to make a thin sheet of bloody ice that can cause any incoming enemies to slip and tumble. Using spells, abilities and surroundings creatively to turn the battle into your favour is largely encouraged.

One thing absolutely worthy of a praise is that the game runs flawlessly on PS4. It is usual for a large, sprawling CRPG to be riddled with bugs and performance issues when it comes to console ports. Fortunately, that is not the case here. The game runs and plays well with no glaring hiccups. The control is great as well. Larian Studios did an amazing job making a complex CRPG easily and comfortably accessible with a controller.

I believe that Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition is, quite possibly, the finest CRPG ever graced consoles. It successfully evokes the feel of playing a classic table-top RPG like no other game before. It encourages you to be imaginative, and rewards your curiosity with appropriate depths and details. This game is a masterpiece you shouldn’t miss.

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