Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[Games] Divinity: Original Sin

The game was officially released on 30th June 2014. It was actually scheduled for release at the end of 2013 but it was delayed over and over again, and finally made it appearance mid year of 2014. If you one the gamers that were waiting for this game. you'll know that this game was also partially funded through crowd-funding using the Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was started on 27th March 2013. The game was developed and published by the Larian Studios.

We have been wanting to write about this game since it came out, but, damn, this game is so good. I actually ended playing it through several times because apparently when they marketed the game to be 'open world', they really meant it. If you are fan of the Divinity game series, then you'll know that this is not the first time Divinity gets to be Diablo-like game. The first two Divinity games was also third person view role playing adventure games. The only difference is that, the battle in this game is in the form of turn-based, and the whole battlefield environment is highly interactive.

The game is a prequel to Divine Divinity, meaning that whole story is totally fresh and new. In term of atmosphere, I think its similar to the Beyond Divinity, because you'll control 2 main characters. But in total, you'll be having 4 characters in your group. The first 2 characters are the main ones and simply known as the Source Hunters. You'll later will meet other secondary characters called Madora, Jahar , Bairdotr, and Wolgraff. After you unlocked your Homestead (yes, you are going to have your own homestead), you can hire henchmen by replacing the secondary characters.

You might not going to believe this, but the plot was incredibly interesting with a whole lot of twists and contradictions. The story started when you and your partner (the Source Hunter team) was hitching a ride on a ship to Cyseal to investigate a murder. Apparently, someone name Councillor Jake was murdered and your Order suspected foul play such as Sourcery (this is not a typo) might be involved.

Once you got there, turns out the port city of Cyseal is being besieged by Orcs on the south with Undead scourge on the north. There are Legionnaires stationed in Cyseal but they won't be much help with their hand full of keeping order in the city and fending off invaders. You'll be exploring the city for information and joined by the Madora and Jahan (Bairdotr and Wolgraff are only available if you have the DLC The Bear and Burglar). You can actually skipped the secondary characters if you wanted to, depend on your preference.

But bear in mind that this game is non-linear. As in, you can do what on which sequence whenever or how you are going to do it. You can even attacked the NPC if you wanted, though the whole town might end up being hostile to you. So regardless of whether or not you met with the secondary characters, you can proceed with investigating the case that brought you to Cyseal in the first place. By the way, Councillor Jake was a married man, so obviously everyone would pointing fingers to the prime suspect, his wife.

As you continue you investigation, more people will ask for your help because, you know, if the Legion can't handle a problem, then only the Source Hunter (which is you) they can depend on. Heck, even the Legion asked for your intervention to handle the Orc's invasion and the Undead scourge. But all of these things, are only the tip of the iceberg. There are larger plot at play here. The plot thickens when you first arrived at your homestead by magical means. Where is your homestead you asked? Its located at the End of Time, an entirely different plane of dimension.

Despite of being a non-linear game, the developer however did take some measure to prevent the issue of over-leveling. The monsters and enemies will not re-spawned after being killed. It is however, possible for you to venture to places that might be too much for the you. So early in the game, you might feel a little bit lost as to where you should go. Not to mention, some quests might have different way of finishing, so you might going to make a bad decision. Like, a really bad one.

For example, in The Councillor's Wife quest, you can actually ended up arresting Esmeralda, the councilor's wife, by pinning the blame of her husband's murder on her. Though, the truth is actually far from it. You'll be surprised when you know who was actually the real murderer. Its going to blow your mind. But then again, the councilor's death is actually pretty plain compared to the whole conspiracy that going on in the world of Rivellon. I cannot believe that I actually spend several hours in Cyseal trying to find the murderer,

So you really need to explore the whole place, and save a lot. Thankfully this game allows you to save literally anytime in the game, including when you are having a conversation with an NPC. This also allows to save before you make an important decision in conversation or before you open up a barter window so you can randomize the items offered. Oh yeah, by the way, almost every single NPCs that you'll meet can be bartered with. So before you start killing NPCs to see what they dropped, you can just strike a conversation and barter with them instead.

For combat system, the game emphasis on a well laid-out strategy. Because the game's environment is highly interactive, a simple puddle could turn the tide of your battle. For example, ice magic can freeze the puddle and caused anyone who tried to cross it to lose footing and knocked out. You can set the ground on fire by pouring oil around, and you can even electrified any wet surfaces to stun you enemies.

It is important for you to learn to utilize your surrounding, in order to trap and thin out your enemies, because you won't be able to 'level up some more and try again'. You can explore to other places and seek to out-level your enemies, but most of the time, you won't be able to do so. Once you cleared a place of the enemies, the only way to progress is to deal with whatever left right in front of you, because the monsters won't be re-spawned.

There are also crafting and smithing. There are whole lot combinations and recipes, and it is possible for you to literally go through the game without even learning how make a pizza. Yes, you can make a pizza in this game. I myself didn't even know that I can actually sharpen my weapon with whetstones until my second play-through.

This game truly earns it high-rating. Although I must admit, this game is actually not perfect. As you progressed through the game, you'll get this vibe that the game seems unfinished. Its also riddled with bugs, though most of it have been solved by Larian Studios through patches and updates.

Good thing this game have a lot of room for expansion and improvement. Because the game is shipped with editor software that will allow you to create your own story or mods. Larian Studios also released DLC for this game, the first being The Bear and Burglar, so you can expect the game content to be increased in the future with more quests, and in-game story line.  


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