Posted on 07 Sep 2017 by Kyle Johnson

PAX West: Divinity: Original Sin 2

The Defence

Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Genre: Adventure, Role Playing, Turn-Based
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: No
Release date: 14 Sep 2017

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 2.4 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 550
AMD Radeon HD 6750
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 35 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Yes
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 3.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 770
AMD Radeon R9 280
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 35 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Full
Mod Support: Yes
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+

Remember the opening of Altered Beast? The classic beat-em-up on the Sega Genesis that opens with Zeus saying “Rise from your grave” in poorly synthesized speech? That’s exactly how I felt about seeing Larian Studios’ Divinity: Original Sin 2 at PAX West this year. Kieron Kelly from Larian was on hand to guide me through the demo, which showed off both the starting area, and the newly-announced undead race.

If you don’t remember anything from/haven’t played Original Sin, just know that there are extremely powerful magics called “Source,” and the magicians who wield such power are called “Sourcerors.” The first game involved tracking down and eradicating such Sourcerors, but in Original Sin 2, you are a Sourceror yourself who’s been captured and set to be experimented on. While you can craft your own character and backstory, Larian has gone ahead and created some prefabricated stories and characters.

Nothing wrong with a little chaos on the battlefield.

While this may not seem like much, it’s worth noting that if you choose one (I picked the human soldier), the other choices then show up in your game as companions, each with their own motivations and story. Kieron elaborated on this, saying that Larian was well aware that the story and companions were frequently criticized in the first Original Sin, and after nailing the gameplay, the team set to vastly expand the written content for Original Sin 2.

After navigating through the initial starting area, I found myself squaring off against a fellow Sourceror, one who was not so keen on being allies. She pulverized the guards and knocked out my avatar, and her use of Source drew the attention of a rather cranky kraken. Kieron didn’t elaborate much on the plot, understandably, but I would guess that, being a Sourceror, you’re going to have some rather fantastical encounters, especially when compared to the first Original Sin.

Kieron then jumped ahead to showing off the new undead race, announced just prior to PAX. Undead characters play differently than other races: you must cover your face, or else risk scaring civilians; poison heals you, whereas healing spells damage you; and enemies will use your undead status against you, casting healing magic and otherwise focusing on your abominable form.

Another feature of the undead class is the option to shapeshift into other races via an item called the “Mask of the Shapeshifter.” What’s the easiest way to get a mask? By ripping the faces off of corpses, of course! The demo showed our undead character casually removing a dead dwarf of his face, then making a mask to talk to another dwarf not more than a few feet away. If that wasn’t strange enough, elves in the Divinity universe can eat the limbs of the dead to gain knowledge they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Spreading justice in all its forms.

Don’t have an elf? Larian planned for this as well, for by killing an elf in a nearby village, ripping off that face, and then using the elf’s racial ability to eat the limbs yourself, you can still talk to the dwarf. Oh, and then we consumed the dead dwarf’s ghost, for good measure.

Insane? Possibly. Rooted in the absolute freedom of tabletop RPGs? Most definitely. I quite like the first Original Sin, despite its story flaws, and Divinity: Original Sin 2 looks to be shaping up as an incredible improvement over the first. Divinity: Original Sin 2 launches next week, on September 14th, at 44.99 USD.

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