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събота, 9 декември 2017 г.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Some immpressions(And oh am I immpressed!?)



I delayed this article for long time and in general had my doubts if I will write it at all as I wanted to finish the game before writing about it. But as I was getting more and more into the game I realized that it will be one of my GOTYs. But if I wanted to include it in the Top 10 for the end of the year I will have to write on the blog about it. And here it is. Eighty hours into the game - what I think about Divinity OS2. Wait, I already said that...then let's try what is this game about. Because the game is really huge and I can actually talk about it for few days probably, here I will try to talk briefly about core components of DOS2. If you want more, go watch some gameplay or even better - go and play the game! Here it comes...


What is this Divinity thing?



The Divinity saga starts really long ago and it will take few articles to talk about the old games, so I will cut to the last two games by Larian - Divinity Original Sin and Divinity Original Sin 2. 
In the first game you played as a duo of Source Hunters which had the heavy task to rid the land of the dangerous magic called Source. Now you will have the chance to see things from the other side. Yes, you are a Sourcerer. As such you are captured by the Divine Order and are send to Fort Joy to be "cured". And there...no, no, this is lore rich and complex story and relations between characters is half of the game so I will stop here with the story. Find it for yourself.
"Ok, it has awesome story, but what else?" - you ask. Divinity OS2 is massive CRPG where you will recruit companions, explore vast territories, solve mysteries and grow to be the next Divine. As I mentioned I am eighty hours into it and I am barely in the middle of the second zone. This should give you some clue for how big and rich the world is. But let us put some order into this preview. 



Characters and Battles


At the beginning you will create your character. The character customization includes class and race but also background and several skills and perks which will be important for your interaction with other characters and the world in general. For example you might be Scholar and be versatile in several languages and know foreign customs which will allow you to know how to talk to other races or even how to handle ancient temples and the right prayers for them. Or you can be outlaw and be streetwise and know how to talk to other bandits and such or even how to scare them. These skills and perks will not just give you more dialogue options, but will also define how you will go through the world and how will interact with it. Your race will give you few race characteristics and skills and your class will define your starting skills and spells. The cool part here is that you are not bound to your class. Skills in Divinity are learned through skillbooks which can be easily bought from merchants or found in the world. So at any point if you do not like your class you just need to learn the appropriate General skill and buy skillbooks and voa la you have a new class. Or two...there is no other restriction than the amount of skill points you get on level up. 
One of the new things in character creation is that now you can be a Origin Character. That is someone well known in the world of Revelion with built relationships, backstories and skills. There is also a new race - undead which comes with few benefits and some severe downsides like taking damage from healing spells and items for example.  
In general they have taken the previous game system and have built on top of it giving it some more depth.



After you create your character you are free to go(in your current zone), act and fight however you wish to. Only bear in mind that people you meet during your adventures will remember how you have treated them and this have consequences. A lot of the characters are also part of factions so mistreating one of them may ruin your reputation with all of them. The opposite is also true - you might be their friend if you help them with their problems. If you act right you can even find love and romance in the world of Rivelion and having the key to someones heart can open more than few doors for you. You can be a hero or you can be a villain.
You will make many important decisions in the course of the game, but one which will define your whole experience you should make from the beginning - you will travel alone(with one companion maximum) or you will go with whole merry band of misfits. Both ways of play are viable and possible and offer different experience of the game. There are even skills which give you bonuses while there are only two of you. And while at the start those bonuses seem quite huge and overpowered, there are some really tough battles up ahead and you will need all the overpowerness you can get.
Something which I will like to see is more non origin characters for the player to recruit for the party. True there are two in Fort Joy and there is a lizard selling mercenaries at some point of the game, but there are also a ton of other fighters you meet and some of them are cools guys. Speaking about cool guys... As I mentioned the origin characters have their stories and relationships already built so it is absolutely possible for you to enter a town and if a certain character is with you, to get jumped by the guards because of that guy. Which is cool...and not. But enough about the characters lets talk battles.



The battles continue the tradition of being turn-based, with each character having action points to spend on movement, attacks and skills. What I noticed is that here the battles are even more crowd control oriented or at least for me was easier to win when I knockdown, freeze, turn into chickens and stun my opponents constantly.  There are also few more types of "basic" surfaces which you can create by casting spells on the ground and a lot more "advanced" surfaces which you can create by casting spells of different elements on already created surfaces. The most notable being the cursed variant of everything which is more powerful often volatile and almost impossible to remove from both characters and from the ground and the blessed variants of some elements which heal and cure when you stand into them. Other examples for surfaces which will make both your life and the life of your enemies harder include steam, water, blood which can be electrocuted, frozen or in the case of blood absorbed to heal, oil which slows and burn, ice which forces a skill check and you might fall on your butt while trying to pass through it. But I derailed, the important thing is to experiment with surfaces they are useful and fun to play around with.
Big change is that to prevent dropping heavy objects on enemies and one hitting them now there are two new stats - magic and physical armor. Both are given by the equipment your characters wear. In general it can be said that equipment for intelligence characters give more magic armor and for strength characters give more physical. For characters which seek balance between the two like battlemages and some rogues there is balanced equipment too but is a bit harder to find. But these two stats does not just protect you from the their corresponding types of damage, but also resist effects from these types of damage. For example while you have physical armor you cannot be knocked down or while you have magical you cannot be poisoned or burned.  
The idea of "magical shield" given by your clothes is not new to the RPG genre, but here it has interesting twist which combines both armor and resistance in one stat. These two stats may also lead your characters builds as you may want to quickly destroy physical or magical or try to have balanced party able to shatter both.



With the new stats, surfaces, types of enemies and skills the battles have been brought to new height in Original sin 2, but they have also become longer and harder. Almost every battle will feel like a boss battle as all enemies after Fort Joy are strong and you will be often outnumbered. You will need to carefully plan each of your moves and take advantage of all weaknesses your enemies might have. Often you will even fail and replay battles until you learn the tricks of the constant flow of new monsters.
I have only one little complain related to the battles in the game(they can be reaaaally long and while this is annoying sometimes I do not really mind). There few occasions where AI controlled characters will fight on your side and they are really bad at prioritizing who to attack sometimes acting almost like they try kill themselves on purpose. This is especially true if the fight have some condition, for example protect someone for X number of turns. The AI does not care about the one you must protect and just attacks whoever they want.



Quests, Stories, World


As I already mentioned the world of DOS2 is separated zones. In which zone you will do part of your main quest. Аs usual despite the fact that everybody tries to convince you that your task is urgent have all the time in the world to explore the wondrous world surrounding you. And while it is not needed to see every corner of the map you will miss a lot of amazing places and characters. Whole parts of the map shattered bu usage of source, burning pigs pleading for help, silly cursed cows looking for your аssistance, demon ridden islands surrounded by deadly fog, undead looking for a way to kill herself(may be) a witch flying crucified on a burning cross and many more. The world of the game is grim with the danger of a apocalypse upon it, but at the same time is living breathing place filled with truly magical places and people each worth of visiting and meeting. To me there was pure joy in just exploring the world and seeing its wonders with the added benefit of a hundred side quest, each a fully fledged story. Mentioning quests here is the place to say that if you did not like the Log in the previous game you will not like here either as it is basically the same. Often it will even be of no use if you do not remember dialogues and such. As I said it is a Log, not a Questlog... 


Conclusion


How can I even begin this conclusion...Any explanation will fall short. Divinity is a game which creates not just experiences which is the point of most games, but it creates stories, memories. It is a world so vibrant and full of treasure, mystery and miracle that you want to see every corner of it, speak to every man, woman and animal just to hear their story and learn more about what surrounds you...
If you the time and like massive RPGs just go and play it. You will not finish it probably, but even 20-30 hours are worth it. Divinity OS 2 is like that place everyone need to see for themselves.  

And here I am not even talking about the modding which the game supports or the gamemaster mode where you create your own story campaign. Sadly I still have not tried neither of those...

Where to find:
GoG
Steam
Larian

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