DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN 2

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Editor"s note: The Nintendo Switch version of Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition seems as if it shouldn"t work on the hybrid console, & yet it does wonderfully. Larian"s acclaimed RPG makes the transition khổng lồ Switch intact (except for couch co-op, though online và local wireless play are available) with very little in the way of compromises. The control scheme, as with that of the PS4 and Xbox One versions, works well here despite the lack of a traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup. The turn-based nature of combat lends itself to lớn short bursts of gameplay in handheld mode, though it"s a difficult game to put down once you get started.

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Visually, there is a noticeable downgrade in both the docked & handheld modes. The lower resolution results in the trò chơi looking blurry in certain spots, but not to lớn a problematic degree. & that trade-off is acceptable because performance is rock solid--and, remarkably, the Switch"s relatively small screen is capable of handling everything you need lớn see without feeling cramped. Even the on-screen text, which can be difficult to read in other games when playing in handheld mode, is no issue.


I don"t know if I"ve ever felt so emotionally wrapped up in a game & its characters, và pulling at your heartstrings is not all that the game does well. Larian Studios has crafted one of the finest role-playing epics of all time, both in its original form on PC and in its Definitive Edition released for PC, PS4, & Xbox One (for specific comments on this version of the game, see the bottom of this review). Meaningful choices, evocative writing, & superb acting in the fully voiced script make for a wholly believable world. The detailed và free-flowing combat engine provides challenging và rewarding turn-based tactical battles that add tension to lớn every action. Character depth includes seemingly endless options for creation, customization, và growth, making every thành viên of your buổi tiệc ngọt more of a real individual than the usual collection of buffs & numbers found in most RPGs.

As with its predecessor from 2014, Divinity: Original Sin II"s setting remains the D&D-infused fantasy land of Rivellon, but the clock has been moved forward centuries from the original game so you don"t need any familiarity with the backstory khổng lồ quickly get up to speed with what"s going on. You take on the role of a Sourceror, a name referring to those that draw arcane power from a mystic material called Source. This substance is controversial in Rivellon, because using it seems to lớn inadvertently summon interdimensional monsters known as Voidwoken. Deploy Source powers & these bizarre creatures show up to lớn kill everyone in sight. Because of this, you"re viewed as a danger to society by the Magisters, a governing body toàn thân of inquisitors & warriors who claim to serve the Divine Order và protect society by rounding up và "curing" Sourcerors.

The story begins with you and the other members of your four-person các buổi party (that"s the maximum--you can play with any number of companions or even go solo) being sent off to lớn the island prison of Fort Joy with Source-blocking collars around your necks. You soon realize that you have a greater destiny lớn fulfill, however. Much of this is tied khổng lồ your past role in a war serving Lucian, sort of a god-king whose legacy has been taken up by Alexander, his son who now leads the Magisters. Eventually, you and the other members of your tiệc nhỏ discover that you are Godwoken, demigods who have a chance lớn ascend and basically replace the seven gods under threat by creatures from the Void.

The story isn"t just extensive, though; it"s detailed & gripping, largely due khổng lồ how it avoids good-versus-evil fantasy archetypes common khổng lồ RPGs.

This epic saga is a big undertaking. Expect lớn use up the better part of 60 lớn 70 hours to lớn complete the main quest line & a good portion of the many side quests. The story isn"t just extensive, though; it"s detailed and gripping, largely due to how it avoids good-versus-evil fantasy archetypes common lớn RPGs. Moral ambiguity is with you every step of the way as you progress from a prison boat lớn Fort Joy, to the sandy beaches and forests of Reaper"s Coast, to the tropical Nameless Isle, và finally the besieged city of Arx.

But while you start off with persecuted Sourcerors on one side and oppressive Magisters on the other, events soon carry you into a world of unrelenting grey where most people are trying to bởi vì the right thing, yet failing miserably. Some Sourcerors are criminals. Some Magisters are conflicted about what they are doing và want khổng lồ change the system. Voidwoken may have good reasons behind their actions in Rivellon. Gods have enough hidden agendas that mortals may be better off without them. Even the paladin faction that shows up in the trò chơi as heroes turns into blinkered zealots, overseeing the siege of a city, leaving bodies overflowing atop buckling wooden carts in their wake.

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Basically, nobody can be trusted or measured at face value; not even your comrades, as only one of you can ascend lớn godhood. You"re left wide open when it comes khổng lồ determining a course of action, with very few moments forcing you down a particular path. Play good, play evil, play something in between. This approach is incredibly freeing. It lets you guide your character and buổi tiệc nhỏ according lớn your own moral compass, or lack of one. I don"t believe I"ve felt this attuned to lớn a role-playing experience since I played pen-and-paper D&D many years ago.

Freedom with character design & development really boosts this feeling. Character depth is tremendous, & with every hero in the game comes with a wide range of chip core attributes plus civil abilities, combat abilities, skills, talents, Source abilities, & more. Five racial choices blend the expected--humans & dwarves--with the offbeat--elves who consume body toàn thân parts & self-conscious undead who hide their faces khổng lồ avoid scaring NPCs.

You can roll your own protagonist or choose from one of six predefined characters representing each race. Each one comes with a specialized storyline that immerses you deeper into the saga. Even then, you"re allowed a miễn phí hand to lớn customize everything. You"re even able khổng lồ tell those joining your buổi tiệc nhỏ what sort of adventurer you"d lượt thích them to lớn be. Next to standard classes such as Fighters and Clerics are more innovative options such as Metamorphs và Shadowblades, & a slew of talents that dictate even more nuanced capabilities. So if you want khổng lồ take on, say, the arrogant lizard Red Prince or the sinister elf Sebille, you"re not locked into a set class as you would be in most RPGs.

At a glance, combat is not much different from many computer RPGs. Battles are turn-based, with an allotment of action points governing your decisions. But Divinity: Original Sin II differs from its peers by consistently taking terrain và environmental elements into consideration. Pools of water can be frozen into slippery sheets of ice. High ground gives boosts khổng lồ damage & low ground restricts it. And enemies turn these battlefield features into advantages, too. Hang out too close to lớn a pool of oil và you can guarantee that an opponent will phối it on fire. Evil archers & spellcasters always run or teleport to lớn high locations so that they can snipe from relative safety.


As a result, battles are damn tough. You may have to lớn play & lose some battles at least once in order khổng lồ assess how the enemy can strike và determine a way khổng lồ counter their advances. Thankfully, there are a number of difficulty options that let you control the pace of victory. The Explorer option nerfs enemies and boosts heroes khổng lồ emphasize story over combat difficulty, so you get the flavor of the trò chơi without the serious challenge. Classic is the standard mode of play--tough but not insanely challenging. Tactician ups everything a little more, & Honor is the ultimate challenge, where you have just one save slot that gets deleted if everyone is killed. There is something here for just about every level of commitment & ability.

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I freewheeled in Classic mode as I went, directing characters into roles và training them based on what worked best in battle. Character progression felt as if I was moulding real warriors through an adventure, pitfalls & all. I truly empathized with my party, to lớn the point that I couldn"t let any of them go later on lớn try one of the other heroes on offer, like the witty & talented undead Fane. There"s one reason for a replay, but it"s not the only one.

Where most RPGs let you push on and experience almost everything in a single playthrough, it is impossible to experience all that this one has to lớn offer in one play, or maybe even two or three.

Quest thiết kế in Divinity: Original Sin II is closer lớn a pen-and-paper feel than any computer RPG that I"ve ever played. The biggest reason for this is that you can screw up. An NPC can be randomly killed, shutting down a quest before it starts. Sometimes you simply cannot succeed at a skill check necessary to lớn move a particular adventure along in the way you desire. Failing persuasion checks, as noted above in that farmhouse story, is fairly routine, forcing you lớn figure out another way forward & damn the consequences. Where most RPGs let you push on và experience almost everything in a single playthrough, it is impossible to lớn experience all that this one has to lớn offer in one play, or maybe even two or three.

Quests are not perfect, though. The journal system of tracking them isn"t nearly robust enough to keep up with how many you have going at any given time. You can"t search it, and even worse, key elements are frequently not included in the text descriptions. As a result of this quest confusion, I got lost more often than I should have. I spent too much time not sure what I was supposed to lớn be doing due khổng lồ vague journal entries, or wandering around searching for a key location that for reasons unknown was not noted on the map. I know some will believe this to lớn be a good thing, that we finally have a serious RPG that doesn"t hold the hands of its players. But this issue seems more like a disconnect between how quests are offered up during the game & how they are tracked in the journal than any commitment khổng lồ old-school difficulty.

In addition to the expansive single-player campaign, you can also play with friends cooperatively or dive into an even truer pen-and-paper role-playing simulation with trò chơi Master mode--a section of the game that can live on potentially longer than Divinity"s own campaign. This is the kind of game that you"re best off playing online with friends; the involved story and the necessity to lớn use teamwork in combat make the game too challenging if you"re adventuring with uncooperative strangers.

All of the above has been enhanced with the release of the Definitive Edition of Divinity: Original Sin II.

All of the above has been enhanced with the release of the Definitive Edition of Divinity: Original Sin II, which also sees the trò chơi making its console debut on PS4 & Xbox One. Larian Studios was kind to lớn PC owners as well, offering a miễn phí upgrade that lets you launch either the original or new versions (old saves are not compatible with the new game). This revamp makes it worthwhile lớn play one of the greatest RPGs of the past few years all over again. Comprehensive work has refined the plot, quest journal, interface, balance, difficulty, và more. New nội dung has been added, lượt thích new encounters in Arx, an expanded tutorial, more informative tool tips, new battles, & a Story mode (which lowers difficulty) for those who want more adventuring and less reloading.

The console version of the Definitive Edition is an almost entirely seamless port of the original PC game. I have to admit that I had my doubts playing the game on PS4 due khổng lồ concerns about navigating such a complex RPG without the benefit of mouse and keyboard. But Larian has done a superb job of moving the control system to a gamepad. Everything can be accessed readily, mostly using the left stick và the shoulder buttons to mở cửa a radial thực đơn where you access character stats, equipment, inventory, skills, & so forth. While this control system lacks the immediacy offered by a cursor & keyboard hotkeys, it is remarkably smooth and soon becomes intuitive.

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A lot of other little changes make appreciable differences. Persuasion appears khổng lồ be easier, which let me xuất hiện up quests that walled me off with failure before. This time around I could succeed in swaying NPCs to my point of view much of the time, and I felt that I was able to experience more of the game as a result. Story mode adds resurrection as a skill, includes the ability khổng lồ readily flee combat, and dramatically reduces battle difficulty. The latter made it easier to tolerate lengthier encounters that I didn"t want to slog through again. At the same time, Story Mode doesn"t turn the trò chơi into a total cakewalk. Gruelling scraps can still be a challenge. But if you do find it too easy, you can shift back lớn tougher difficulty settings on the fly.

Divinity II: Original Sin will always have a strong degree of complexity, regardless of thiết kế changes. The Definitive Edition remains a complicated affair where your path has been left almost entirely wide open. Definitive or not, console or PC, this is a trò chơi that remains true to its inscrutable CRPG roots. Once again, though, even while I have to lớn gripe about being left in the dark at times, the freeform thiết kế makes it all worthwhile. I"ll accept some confusion & uncertainty if the trade-off is a wonderfully realized and almost boundless fantasy world.

From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made in both its original & Definitive incarnations, with the latter proving that even the most complicated role-players can be ported successfully to lớn gamepad-limited consoles. This immaculately conceived và emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of recent years, và it remains an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is featured on our list of the best Xbox co-op games và best split-screen PS4 games list.

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Disclosure: Former vhpi.vn review editor Kevin VanOrd currently works at Larian Studios, serving as a writer on Divinity: Original Sin II.