Divinity Original Sin: Review and Gameplay: Page 6 of 9

Divinity Original Sin: Review and Gameplay
An Original RPG in the Classic Style


What haunts the lighthouse?

Lighthouses are right behind old mansions on the creepiness scale.

Original Sin’s combat system will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played Blackguards or XCOM — although Original Sin’s approach is much more forgiving than both. When battle breaks out, each of the player’s characters (or “units”) is allocated a certain number of points based on their stats, equipment, and so on. Every action that a given unit takes at the player’s behest will consume these points. When all the points have been consumed, the unit can no longer act for that round of the battle. After each unit has exhausted the points available to them, or the player elects to “pass” their turn, the AI’s turn begins.

So far, so standard, but where the combat system of Original Sin really distinguishes itself from other turn-based, isometric RPGs is in its implementation of environmental effects and interactions that can radically alter the battlefield in either helpful or hindering ways. Firing an arrow into an oil barrel creates a slick on the grounds that can then be set alight by that candle you had tucked away in your inventory. Anything caught in the flames is likely to be burnt to a crisp, and the wall of smoke that issues from it will screen you from the eyes of enemy archers. Once the inferno has served its purpose you might decide that it’s time to whip out that rain scroll and summon a downpour to extinguish the flames. The fire put out, you might decide to rush forth and dispatch those archers before they can make human pincushions of your units. Oops, it looks like you didn’t notice the mage lurking just outside of your party’s sight range; lightning bolts shoot out from his fingers, but he’s not targeting your characters directly, but rather, the cloud of steam that was produced when you put the fire out. The steam cloud turns into a localized thunder cloud and all your characters are paralysed by surging electricity.

Burnt to cinders

A bad time of year for a vacation in the countryside.

Looks like your people are going to be archer fodder after all.

The above is only a small window into the sort of chaos that an Original Sin battlefield usually plays host to, and Larian deserve all praise for creating such a robust system. Imaginative players will delight in finding the best combinations of spells, items, weapons, and so on to make the most of the environmental interactions in the game — after all, these interactions are more often than not the key to victory against some of the game’s tougher opponents.

One player might, for instance, spend his experience points on creating a mage who specializes in fire spells. By taking the “elemental affinity” talent at level up, the player’s fire mage will have the cost of all her fire spells reduced when she stands on any flaming surface — meaning that she can cast more spells, more often. Of course, fire mage or not, standing on a flaming surface is generally hazardous to one’s health, so the player decides to outfit his fire mage in enough fire-resistance gear to make her completely immune to fire damage. Now all the player has to do is find or create a hot little spot somewhere on the battlefield, have his mage summon a fire elemental to ensure that said spot remains alight (fire elements tend to have this effect in the game), and have her cast to her heart’s content. Not only his is fire mage now a more deadly spell-slinger, but the flames in which she wreathes herself will provide a nice deterrent to close-range attackers who like beating up on squishy magic users.


This guy probably isn't going down without a fight.

One of the best things, though, is that traits, skills, and talents are not limited to useful in battle alone. In fact, some talents and skills aren’t useful in battle at all! Bartering, for instance, allows you to buy and sell items for better prices while Crafting allows you to make foodstuffs, weapons, potions, and other assorted bits and ends. A talent like Pet Pal serves no other purpose than to grant you Dr. Doolittle-like powers of animal communication; you’d be surprised, though, how much the rats and cats of Original Sin know about what’s going on…

Raconteur of the RPG scene.
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Witcher III
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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