It’s been said that good things come to those who wait — or in the case of “Divinity: Original Sin 2,” great things.
Larian Studios’ acclaimed role-playing game, which launched on PC in Sept. 2017, has finally arrived on consoles in the form of “Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition.” For fans of hardcore, isometric RPGs like myself, who could only watch from afar as PC gamers enjoyed what Game Informer called “one of the greatest PC RPGs of all time,” this day has been circled on the calendar for quite some time. And now that it’s here, I can emphatically say that the wait was worth it.
Regardless of what feature you consider most important in an RPG — combat, narrative, multiplayer, customization — “Divinity: Original Sin 2” checks all the boxes. Even the process of selecting your character is a highlight; you can choose from one of six preset builds, each with their own history and a lengthy quest that runs alongside the primary story, or create your own hero from scratch, picking their race, gender, class and an aspiration tag that helps determine the dialogue options available to you when interacting with the countless NPCs you’ll encounter on your journey. And like every choice you make in “Divinity 2,” your decisions during the character selection process will help shape your gameplay experience, often in unexpected ways.
The main quest, which follows your character’s rise from prisoner to potential deity, shines with brilliant writing and voice acting. The tone effortlessly shifts between serious and solemn to laugh-out-loud funny, thanks in large part to a narrator who both describes the action and offers key insight, much like the dungeon master in a traditional game of tabletop Dungeons and Dragons. Beyond the main story you’ll find countless side quests that feature the same sharp dialogue and memorable characters. Whether pursuing the main story or venturing off in search of side missions, “Divinity 2” is packed with things to do, characters to engage and treasure to find.
Of course, “Divinity 2” is also packed with dastardly creatures to fight, so it’s a good thing that the game’s combat is its most impressive single feature. Battles in “Divinity 2” are turn-based affairs driven by action points (AP). Everything that happens during battle takes away from a character’s available AP, with basic movement and attacks costing less than more advanced spells and more powerful moves. This isn’t a new concept in the world of RPGs, but what sets the combat in “Divinity 2” apart is the freedom you’re given during each encounter.
Every fight is a self-contained sandbox, a playground in which your only limitations are your imagination and the skills you’ve acquired. Whether you prefer to secure the high ground and attack from a distance with an archer, use the Teleport ability to pick up enemies and drop them into the middle of a poison cloud, or summon a wolf to fight by your side, the options at your disposal are practically unlimited. Of course, the enemies you’ll face will also look to use these same tactics against you, which can turn even seemingly mundane encounters into tense duels. As a result, I found myself falling in battle quite often before stumbling upon a strategy that worked well enough to ensure my party’s survival.
Indeed, while you can opt to play “Divinity 2” as a lone wolf, I found it far more entertaining — and helpful — to join up with other would-be gods on my journey. These companions can either be AI controlled or other players; “Divinity 2” features four-player co-op both locally and online. These companion characters have their own quests and motivations that reveal themselves during the course of the game. This adds a level of intrigue to the story as you’re never quite sure whom to trust or if your companion has your best interests at heart when offering to interject themselves into a potentially important conversation with an NPC.
In “Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition,” Larian Studios has crafted a timeless adventure that delivers on its ambitious expectations. With a complex story, stellar combat and an incredible attention to detail, “Divinity 2” raises the bar for traditional role-playing games. This is one of the most robust, rewarding and unforgettable RPG experiences I’ve ever had the privilege of playing.
“Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition”
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC ($59.99)
Rating: M for mature