Adam "Moose" Bauer
Preview: Divinity Original Sin 2
I was a huge fan of the first Divinity Original Sin. It was a smart and deep game that never seemed to play the same way twice. It gave me and my friend an opportunity to play a cooperative turn-based combat that didn't feel like it was dragging when it was some one else’s turn. Every move drove me deeper into the rabbit hole of sweet juicy strategy. There was a lot to talk about with builds and what talents each party member should take. There was even a strategy to who should be talking to what NPC. Yet through all of this, the game still managed to help create the puzzle ham incident. There was a puzzle in Divvy 1 (I can call it divvy because we are close friends now) that was basically a collection of pressure plates that needed various amounts of weight to be added. The solution we found was to use items that we had a lot of so we could figure out a how much weight to use on each plate. Turns out we had been hoarding hams up until this point and were able to weigh down three of the four plates. We then spent the next 20 minutes debating the weight of different items in terms of hams. This was one of my favorite moments in gaming and divvydina 1 by extension is one of my favorite games.
I am so happy to say Divanna 2 looks like it is going to run the same trail to puzzle hammy greatness. Now I have played through the game preview about 4-5 times now… and each time has been a unique experience. Each play through yielded new ideas and helped trim the fat on my various build ideas. Although the main missions remained the same every time I played, I completed them in a slightly different way. Now this could be combat or social means of advancement or just the builds we made were so different the combat felt like a wholly new fight.
Divad 2 seems to take everything I loved about the first game, refining and adding to it. A pattern that isn't often seen with other games from the dreaded AAA department whose greed and poor concept of reality seem to drag so many sequels into a money grabbing shit pit that we all currently game in. Larian Studios is one of the few shining crews who seem to value product over profit as the better product will yield better profits. Philosophy and Larian love aside the game displays growth from the seeds left behind from the first game without leaving anything behind.
So, let’s talk about the game preview here. This game is perfect if you’re into rolling and wading through enemies while pulling the hate of the opposition; if you enjoy trading blows until your bloody victory is dripping from the white knuckled grip on your battle axe as the battle cries still echo down the halls of loot filled corpses left in your wake. Or if you would rather summon the rain to drench your opposition whose unimpressed faces freeze into place while you fill the room with ice. Then shortly followed by the popsiclized versions of orcs and goblins, as the unaffected combatants fall over with the satisfying thud of lost turns. Prepare to giggle as you fill the room with toxic clouds that, at your whim, can swap the frozen chapel into a fiery hellscape furnished with the screams of your enemies. Your avatar will then gently chuckle while topping his/her health bar off with a well-deserved bite of puzzle ham. (Good for puzzles and high in protein, puzzle hams are available on tables belonging to strangers and the floors of dungeons.)
This game is a delight no matter how you play it. Every strategy is valid, if you can find the right implementation. Enchanters, Summoners, Fighters, Rogues and many more class types can all be min/maxed to perfection or mixed together in effective yet quirky fashion. Yet the mix of magic and physical armor demands a mix of strategy and class configuration that creates an environment that pushes the use of creativity and, at times, carefree whimsy. Its turn-based combat feels fast paced (although it’s not) because a slight change in placement after a computer’s turn might turn your brilliant idea into a bad idea and what was a bad idea is now a master stroke. If you like turn-based anything this combat with tickle your fancy in ways typically reserved for your beloved (or that guy/girl with the great body). However, the general navigation of the map may feel slow sometimes as the world feels big and the need for a sprint mechanic starts to gnaw at you. You will quickly feel that pass as the world is filled with hidden paths and chests, some of which you will need certain skills or traits to reach. And every single person or critter you meet may be a new quest line. What initially feels like a slow crawl turns into a thorough scan of the environment around you and no matter where you are there always seems to be things hidden or jumping out at you. Flaming pigs roaming the country side or voice line alluding to a thief who got a way, quests are everywhere and never seem to force themselves on you.
Things are looking strong for Larian so far in the world of Divinity Sins in the Hood 2 as the social aspect feels more important as well. Arguments are a fun mini game of rock paper scissors. Beyond that are some interactions that merely require you to think like a person in the conversation and avoid the argument or set up a booty call. (There is a real booty call set up and I will be heart broken if she ditches me. We had a real connection you know and the mere thought of this turning sour on me keeps me awake at night.) Booty calls and unhealthy connections to digital avatars and their sultry fully voiced text boxes aside, there is a laid-back depth here that is easy to overlook but you will (possibly unknowingly) appreciate. It is woven into each conversation, sometimes very minimally and other times it’s a major event and you will be rereading the text looking for hints and clues for the answer to the riddle laid out before you.
All in all, Divinity, Diners, and Dives 2 Original Fieri seems like another win for everyone involved. You should dive into this turn-based RPG if you like things that are… well turn-based and RPG structured. It seems like it will not only strike the balance reached by the first game but it will achieve beyond that. However, if you want fast paced live action combat and tense multiplayer stand offs… or if you just like shooters, avoid this game and try to go find a use for puzzle ham elsewhere.
“Moose, I think I have this figured out its showing 100% weight on the plate with a barrel and 3 candles and a skull on it.”
“Well that’s all well and good but what is that in hams?”
Remember folks no matter the situation you should always weigh things in units of ham.