Note: This review is based off completing the first major area/chapter of the game, Fort Joy. I’ll update if the later areas are dramatically different.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 (D:OS2) is, IMO, the game the first one should have been. It has the same great combat, still has fantastic graphics and sound, but removes the non-stop immersion-breaking meta jokes and has a far more serious tone. After 30 hours of the first game I just couldn’t push past all the humor, so I’m very happy that D:OS2 has mostly curbed that, and what comedy it does have is placed much better.
As mentioned, D:OS2 has great combat. It’s turn-based, and relies very heavily on environmental effects, both what is around you right now (water, fire, high ground, doorways, etc), and what you and enemies create with spells and abilities (setting fire to poison, freezing water, making it rain blood, etc). Perhaps it’s just perception, but I also feel that the sequel has fewer ‘gimmick’ fights, and is more natural in terms of what is around you. It does still have plenty of oddly placed fire, water, and poison barrels, but beyond that most of the stuff around you makes sense.
Pulling off combos is still a thing, but again it feels less ‘must do’ than the first game, where if you didn’t teleport someone off their healing pad and into the ‘damage zone’, you simply couldn’t beat a fight. One items that still annoys me, and I think will go away with more experience, is the accidental triggering of things. One example that happens all the time is lighting poison on fire when I don’t mean to, because it’s hard to tell when a puddle connects to another, and when enough space exists that a fire won’t spread.
Just based off the first chapter, and on normal difficulty, fights overall have been pretty challenging. There are no random battles in the game, so each encounter is a set piece battle. They also don’t scale to your level (even though chest loot does), so it’s entirely possible to encounter something you shouldn’t for another level or two. Early on this is huge, because not only can you be under-leveled, you will be massively behind in gear as well. I found towards the end of the chapter this was less an issue, but early on (first 3-4 levels, so about 10 hours) I was reloading a ton and having to not take certain fights until later. Considering how fairly open the map is, and how many ways you can open areas up, you might be running into too-difficult battle often on your first playthrough.
D:OS2 has great characters, and I love that even if you pick from one of the six pre-defined backgrounds you can still edit almost everything about the character. And when you find a party member, you can also decide what class they will start as (though you can’t fully edit them like you can for your main character, which is a little limiting as the pre-set classes aren’t fully ideal from a min/max standpoint). What this means is you can select a party based on the look and personality of the characters, while also but separately put together a mix of classes that will work for you. Most RPGs you have to choose between picking a cleric because you need healing, and picking a non-cleric because you like the style/background of a character, which in retrospect is pretty silly when it seems so easily ‘fixed’ in D:OS2.
Surprisingly, I really like all six pre-defined characters from a story standpoint, and I’m almost sad I can only adventure with four of them (the max party size). It adds more replayability I guess, especially if future updates add more characters so you can go with a completely different party, but right now it just means missing out on two of the six unique interactions. That said, who your main character is has impact on the story vs that same character being just a party member, so to see all of the story content you are going to need to replay the game a bunch anyway.
I’ve encountered a few bugs so far, mostly around quests not updating properly and leaving their marker on the map even once they have been finished. Annoying, but not game-breaking. I’ve yet to have the game crash, and overall performance is perfect even on max settings.
One reason I’m doing this review now is that I’ve decided to restart the game, picking a party composition that fits a little better than the one I originally had. It’s not that I couldn’t progress because of difficulty, but the min/maxer in me saw too much potential in certain combos, and too many wasted skill points spread across characters to continue. That said, it’s been fun going over the starter area again, this time with some prior knowledge, and seeing how differently things can play out. If you are someone who enjoys replaying games, especially RPGs, I think D:OS 2 has a lot to offer you here.
Overall the game so far is really fantastic, and highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good, deep RPG experience.
Hope this isn’t too spoilery for you but you may not need to restart if you’ve left Fort Joy. On the ship after Fort Joy you can respec all of your guys fully on the lowest deck by talking to like the big green object (I haven’t done it so I can’t really remember what it looks like but my coop partner does it all the time).
Damn really? Funny I stopped playing right at that moment too…
I gave up on the first game due to a number of issues, primarily the ridiculous plot. Also the way levels had an effect on miss rates meant the game was far more linear than it made out. The crafting system was nuts too. It was a shame, because the combat was great. Sounds like maybe I should pick up this one as it might address my issues.
Crafting is improved from what I’ve seen as well. Far less random items, and more a focus on consumables than gear (and you don’t really need the consumables on normal).
Bought the game on your recommendation, weekend has disappeared.
Started the game on the easy setting because I don’t have a lot of experience with these type of games, smashing through every encounter though so tempted to restart and go higher. Also the party I have is Ifan (main character, set up as knight), Red Prince as fighter, Beast as Battlemage and Fane as wizard, just because this is the order I met them and didn’t really know what I was doing. Party composition isn’t great but as it’s easy it’s not such a big deal. I do think it would be better if you could take all 6 characters, strange decision for an RPG imo.
Died in the first room when I tested out the sneaking mechanic after the tutorial told me how to do it (I took the book, guards then found it on me), dunno why but this always turns me on in games.
Weird tutorial didn’t tell me to try and steal the book. I wonder if you triggered it by going into sneak mode right away.
I think easy mode is… too easy. Normal actually isn’t nearly as bad/frustrating in this game vs the first. I’d say reroll if you want some challenge, but if you want to play more for the story and exploration, might not be worth it.
Any thoughts on co-op mode?
It has it, and I guess it works pretty well, but I’ve never seen the point in a game like this, because its possible for one person to miss story/interactions if they aren’t on the screen. Maybe something fun as a second playthrough?