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Review RPG Codex Review: Divinity: Original Sin

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Angthoron, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios

    Divinity: Original Sin, the latest entry in Larian Studios' series of Divinity games has finally been released from its Early Access status, and the ever-speedy RPG Codex staff embodied by Angthoron has already provided a review a mere two months after the game's release. Is this game divinely good, sinfully bad or stuck half-way in purgatory? Here are but a few spoilers:

    What did I expect a year or so ago when Larian Studios announced their Kickstarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin? A fun, light-hearted isometric game with lovely music, lots of hit-and-miss humor, a fair bit of filler combat, hours of enjoyment to rival the chunk of my life that was torn out by Dragon Knight Saga and a meaningful co-op mode in which my partner would blow me up with well-placed fireballs and lightning bursts. Were my expectations fulfilled? Oh, yes. Granted, things like the absence of the mega-dungeon and the cut-short soundtrack are somewhat of a disappointment, and there seems to be a whole lot more than just a fair bit of filler combat, but overall, this is the game that all the subsequent Kickstarter RPGs will be measured against, and I admit that a part of me worries that some of the upcoming projects might not measure up quite that favourably.

    The writing in Original Sin is by its nature fairly light-hearted and humorous as is common to Larian Studios’ style. [...] It does, however, occasionally suffer from jarring tone deafness and anachronistic expressions. Being addressed with “Sup, mate” by a rooster, or have a ram admire a cow’s derriere is certainly amusing, but not quite appropriate in a context of high adventure in the enchanted lands.

    The character system in Original Sin is a simple enough thing that most RPG developers in the recent years have managed to screw up. Fortunately, Larian hasn’t, and the result is a simple and solid system based on genre-standard ability scores, skill points, slightly less standard traits as well as minor boosts coming from playing the characters consistently in dialogue.[...]

    [...]The world is well designed, with distinct locations, appealing vistas and high attention to detail. Characters and objects clearly stand out from the backgrounds, effects are almost always obvious and visible and the secrets are obscured within reason. The side character models are also more detailed than certain models from Dragon Age 2 despite the isometric perspective instead of third person, so there’s also that. If it’s better than a game from the masters of the RPG genre, it’s gotta be good.[...]

    The co-op multiplayer mode in Original Sin isn’t just a hasty afterthought – it’s one of the game’s major hooks. Larian’s intentions from fairly early on have been clear: they wanted to make an RPG that could be played together by friends, couples and strangers alike, where all parties involved would have their say at critical moments, and where all would find something to do. With but a few minor issues, their intentions can be considered a success. The multiplayer experience can be a great amount of fun thanks to the chances for distracting the NPCs (and stealing all their paintings), creating unexpected scenarios in combat and arguing through loads of dialogue[...]​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Divinity: Original Sin
     
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  2. Irenaeus Self-Ejected Patron Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual The Real Fanboy

    Self-Ejected
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    :incline:
     
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  3. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    This is the new

    Saved for later use.
     
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  4. l3loodAngel Proud INTJ Patron Edgy

    l3loodAngel
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    DOS is hands down one of the best RPGs I have ever played. Sadly, most of other KS games won't come even close...
     
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  5. jdinatale Arbiter

    jdinatale
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    Most Kickstarter games aren't going to be made by established studios with 10+ years in the industry. Well except WL2 and PoE.
     
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  6. set Cipher

    set
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    DOS defiinitely is Larian's best game and the best RPG of 2013 and 2014. It'll be interesting to see if PoE can even be half as fun...Wasteland 2's already going to be mediocre unless some miracle happens.
     
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  7. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    I give D:OS a 9/10

    Larian's best game to date. It should easily rank in the top 25 of the next update of our list:

    RPG Codex Top 70 PC RPGs
     
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  8. Onholyservicebound Arcane

    Onholyservicebound
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    Fix'd
     
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  9. Maiandros Learned Possibly Retarded

    Maiandros
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    you made a good effort in your review and it shows

    1) you were honest to have mentioned your positive bias from the start
    2) yet you did not shy away from pinpointing its weaknesses

    not what i expected to read sucking Belgian cock a-la Gragt when i clicked it, not at all. Well done Angthoron, a good start;

    What i'd like to have seen in addition would be:

    i) a tiny paragraph in regards to Larian's future and their "one" RPG that is yet to come.
    Considering their already toying with online elements, one could or could not extrapolate further on certain weaknesses evident in D:OS, such as lack of quality writing/unimaginative setting. Said sub-par quality plaguing them since their early days. Weaknesses that exist purposefully in Online games. Customary by now, but after this one's budget, a coincidence? Incline combat or not, a context built for morons can, if only occasionally, appear insulting. Which we do not shy away from highlighting in other genres now are we. Ah well, them double standards again. Almost as bad as edgy Codexers coincidentally being Plaguestation owners :)

    ii) a mentioning of certain schedules, and a certain 1million+ of pledge moneyz that flowed in just so these could have happened. We cannot criticise one way when the big boys say one thing and do another, and yet a different way when it's Larian. Or can we?

    (not to demean the game, i expected shit writing, goofy nonsensical one liners, etc.. pledged knowing this, enjoyed it despite those myself. Easily an 8.5)

    edit: played it with the single hunter mod. Would not have touched it otherwise. I herald the decline, i know ^^
     
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  10. Sranchammer Arcane

    Sranchammer
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    Horrible game.
     
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  11. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "DOS defiinitely is Larian's best game"

    Debateable.

    "and the best RPG of 2013 and 2014."

    No way in fukkin' hell.
     
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  12. ZoddGuts Savant

    ZoddGuts
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    Great game.
     
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  13. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Mm, well - I didn't want to make the review too long, it's already gigantic, and kinda tried to avoid spoilers. There's some stuff with Larian's writing that I actually enjoy personally, the light-hearted tone is sort of a company signature in terms of writing, but, well...

    Actual storyline spoilers:
    Show Spoiler
    While I liked the secondary plot a lot, I really didn't think much of the main plot at all, reason being that I hate the literal interpretations of the Chosen One plot device. It pretty much kills the idea of personal effort being able to lead to improvement. No, you are not born to be a hero, that guy is. You have this in a ton of games, and the moment it comes up, it just kills the story for me, even if just a little. Literally being a Chosen One sucks ass. I want the game to make my characters be important because of things they do and the choices they make, not because they were born that way.

    Anyway, that. Also, if people wish to discuss main plot, plx to do in spoilars, we have slowpokes worse than I am.


    Other than that, well... There's always room for improvement, and I think that a lot of problems that you're talking about come from the huge size of the game and the relatively tight schedule that it was made on. Still, as a personal preference, I prefer Larian's tight-schedule writing over, say, Bio's tight-schedule writing (say DA2 as an example). Light-hearted bumbling and randomness is a much better option for tight schedules, I suspect.

    Well regarding that, as far as I know with my math, the fundraiser came up 20K short for the NPC Schedule, Weather and Day/Night cycle, unfortunately. I wish it'd get there, the game could've been even more awesome. On the plus side, at least it got made in the first place, and the funds were enough to exceed Larian's initial expectations. We could've had a much more bare-bones experience if the KS hadn't had the level of success that it did. But good point, yeah. Unless you meant some other schedules!
     
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  14. Gragt Arcane Patron

    Gragt
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin
    I did not "suck Belgian cock". The preview I wrote was positive because it reflected my feelings on what I saw of the game—which was in an even earlier state than what the Kickstarter backers got to play. I displayed enthusiasm but that was derived from my objective thoughts on the matter, and I tried to give as many facts about the game as possible, both from what I got to experience and from what I was told about their future plans. To be more precise, my enthusiasm was aimed at the potential for this game more than what I had actually played, and that was a very rough alpha version, yet one that showed promise—I was originally dubious about the co-op but Swen had me jump into it right away and it simply felt natural from the very start. I did write in the preview that I didn't know if Larian would be able to reach their goal, but I was glad that they were at least trying to because the kind of game they had planned to make back then was exactly what was needed in the current CRPG drought: one that takes from games that came before, obviously Ultima but I mentioned others, while catering to modern sensibilities. After that, well, that's what it means to take risks: you may fail but you won't reach greatness without them.

    I woud also like to remind you that I did express concern about some points, such as the co-op conversation system and personality development, the magic combo system, the availability of potions, etc. In all fairness I couldn't condemn these because the system wasn't even complete back then, but I did see potential problems and wrote about them. I could have played the contrarian and spend more time on the issues of an early alpha build, but I value my time and try to apply it on useful endeavours. After that, I made it clear that, despite my enthusiasm, it was all up to Larian. From what I knew of Larian's history and Swen's blog, I knew they were competent and willing to learn from their mistakes—a point I highlighted in relation to Beyond Divinity—, and with Kickstarter they were finally free to do the game they wanted without interference from a publisher. This was their best shot at finally doing the game they have wanted to make for decades, thanks to both their experience and freedom; I recognised it, and I wrote it because it is what I believed back then and still believe now. But as much as I wanted them to succeed, the outcome was in their hands, not mine.

    And yeah, maybe they just served me a load of bullshit. But I met bullshiters during my years in communication and Swen isn't the type. I've seen people in other businesses (like cars) where the gatekeepers are constantly offered favours in exchange of a good word, sometimes with disguised threats of ignoring them in the future if they don't, and these people are far more professional than the average video game journalist. Now, I am far from being a big voice in the world of video games, so there was little reason to offer me special favours, but from what I can tell the people at Larian aren't that kind of people. They were friendly with me, one could say because it was in their interest, but I also believe it was because they simply are friendly people. I appreciate that and am grateful for it, but it did not impact my preview, and had the game looked like shit I would have written so. What I wrote in my preview were my honest thoughts, and I never felt that I was repaying any favours by licking their balls. At most I hoped that my preview would help them a bit in their Kickstarter campaign because, out of all the developers out there with a project, I believed that theirs was one that deserved a chance. Whether they succeeded or not is another question.
     
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  15. Overboard Arcane

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    Gragt there's no need to put so much effort into replying to someone [​IMG]
     
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  16. Jack Dandy Arcane

    Jack Dandy
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Great review! Super detailed, just as it should be. :)
    I can't wait to play this. With a bit of luck, I'll finish Trails after that first "big patch" Larian's planning, with the extra companions and stuff. Then I can really enjoy this one!

    This is what I somewhat worry about as well. I mean, it's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination- we got an awesome fucking RPG, and it's co-op aspect drew many people unfamiliar with the genre into it's glory. Larian's rolling in dough, and are comfortably set for making DivOS expansions and working on Swen's "Big RPG that will dwarf them all".

    But.. I wonder if setting the bar up this high will somehow harm the success of the other "big" upcoming RPGs. It really is something that remains to be seen.
    I know some storyfags disliked the "campy" plot DivOS offered, so they might prefer Pillars.
    But from what I understand WL 2 doesn't excel much, in gameplay OR story. So it might have a bit of trouble.

    STILL... it will all work out, probably. Definitely interesting to see how things will develop for the genre in the upcoming years.
     
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  17. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Ack, I somehow missed the Gragt criticism bit.

    Gragt's preview was fine. If I were to write a preview at the time, it'd have most likely ended up very similar in style and content. The D: OS alpha builds were a very exciting display of all the stuff that Larian was making, and obviously after liking what we saw, we wanted to let people know that it looks and feels great. Hell, I got up to 40 people directly to buy D: OS just based on my chat hype alone - and fortunately not a single one of them ended up being disappointed. Gragt just went an extra step and had an actual official preview made. It kinda was the point to convey the positive impressions rather than to try to pick at scabs.

    Besides, yeah. My support for Larian also comes from the fact that they display good awareness and capacity for learning and improvement as well.

    But yeah, previews are more about The Feels most of the times, reviews are more about how much The Feels were let down once the pre- bit drops off.
     
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  18. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
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    Being semi-pessimistic about Divinity: Original Sin being so great that other RPG's won't be able to measure up against it...we are truly living in the Age of Incline.

    Also, #whitepeopleproblems
     
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  19. Semper Arbiter

    Semper
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    MCA Project: Eternity
    half way through the game i got bored of the fights. always the same tactics and no interesting encounters to warrant even a single thought outside the box. besides all the other, more or less, little things to bitch about it's still a good game, but a mediocre crpg.
     
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  20. Jack Dandy Arcane

    Jack Dandy
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    And another super positive thing is:
    I really liked how Larian generally came through on their words, and proved how without publisher limitations, they can shine like a fucking star.

    I was personally really burnt on that aspect from another KS- I backed Broken Age, hoping that without publisher limitations, Schafer could blow us all away. Instead, his game just blew dick.
     
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  21. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Yeah. This is why I consider D: OS being the first major KS RPG project to deliver properly - I could've gone with SRR, I mean, I kinda liked it, and the expansion is good work, but they had the funding/publisher shenanigans going on that kind of left me with a bitter aftertaste. That, and of course the fact that the gameplay is a lot more simplistic than D: OS. And that it's shorter. And... Well, you get the point. Still, I could've considered it a properly delivered KS project if not for the funding nonsense. Larian actually worked with the funds they received and delivered on most of the money-bound promises, so, great job there.
     
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  22. Black_Willow Arcane

    Black_Willow
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    Well, there's one game for which I'll vote in next year's "Codex top 50/70 RPGs''.
     
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  23. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
  24. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Angthoron
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    Yeah, I tried to take into account the things that other people might find issue with - checked Codex thread, talked to some friends about things they felt were off. I personally had very little problem with most stuff, but that'd hardly make for a balanced review.
     
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  25. cvv Arcane Patron

    cvv
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    Same here, the mechanics themselves are fantastic but overall the game is way too juvenile and goofy for me to really enjoy. Storyfag for life, what can you do.

    ******

    Anyways, this is by far the best D:OS review I've ever read (and I've read most). Great job.
     
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