The Great Campaign Ch. I – Divinity: Original Sin II (2017)

Part of the Great Campaign – A Playthrough of the Greatest RPGs Ever

Developer: Larian Studios (Divinity series)
Release Date: 2017
RPG Tags: Isometric, Turn-based, CRPG, Western RPG, Narrative RPG
Similar To: Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights

My Playthrough:

    • System: PC, Switch (cross-saves)
    • Version: Divinity Original Sin II: Definitive Edition (2018)
    • Hours Played: 115+
    • Completion Status: Completed Main Quest + Most Side Quests

Why it’s part of the Campaign

Divinity Original Sin II is the game that inspired my retrospective on RPGs- in my opinion, it epitomizes as a whole what a well-done RPG can truly be. The game is renowned as one of the best RPGs ever made, a true return to form for CRPGs. It features an engrossing world, interesting characters and narratives, great variety and impact of choices and role-playing, and a thoughtful, refined, and satisfying turn-based combat system.

Where’s the RPG?

Divinity focuses on the following RPG aspects:

aspects1

See here for a reference as to how each of the above aspects are defined and (subjectively) measured.

check1

DOS2 is a classic Western CRPG from an isometric perspective, in the vein of Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc. It features classic character progression like experience and levels, full class and party customization, and turn-based combat (no real-time elements). It takes place in a high fantasy setting – magic, medieval weapons, etc. Additionally, it frequently features meaningful choices and a variety of means and paths to complete quests.

One note is that enemies in the game are completely statically leveled, old-school style – there is no level scaling whatsoever. If you stumble into an area with higher-level enemies than you (which you will), you’ll probably get stomped. I enjoyed this quite a bit as I felt great motivation to explore and do absolutely everything, not just to experience all of the game’s great content, but also to ensure my party was up to snuff.

My thoughts

I plan on sharing all of my thoughts in a full review, however suffice to say, DOS2 is a blast and my favorite game I played in 2019 (well, besides Outer Wilds, but that’s for very different reasons). It clearly builds on the back of games like Baldur’s Gate with great results.

I’ve already mentioned the engrossing world, characters, and story. The dialogue and writing is fantastic – the game is fully voice-acted and they did a great job. The game is complex and honestly was quite challenging to get into at first. I first bought the game on Steam in 2018 and sunk about 20 hours into it, however I had never really wrapped my mind around its various systems. Before I did so I ended up getting distracted by another game. Thus, I didn’t pick it up again until I re-bought it on the Switch late in 2019. Thanks to the amazing cross-save functionality between PC and Switch, I picked up where I left off and since then played it on both systems depending on my need.

I began wrapping my mind around things, and getting used to the very challenging tactical combat. Once you do, it is great fun. The ability to manipulate the environment to your advantage in a strategic way is very satisfying when it pays off, like dousing your enemies in oil and then exploding them with a fireball. With enough dedication, the combat becomes fluid and very enjoyable overall.

The maps are absolutely packed with content – interesting characters, quests, and locations abound. It’s pretty astounding how much content is actually in the game.

I highly recommend Divinity: Original Sin II for any RPG fans (especially CRPGs) and any gamer who is patient enough to wrap their mind around its systems.

Verdict

Retrospective Quality: 5/5
– A CRPG masterpiece filled with interesting characters and a refined combat system
Timelessness: 5/5
– Ageless elements such as great story and characters, and a more tactical combat system will make this a classic
RPG Soul: 5/5
– Detailed customization, very satisfying progression, strong narrative, characters, and writing, meaningful choices, many endings and alternate paths: role-playing
Influence: 3/5
– We’ll see in the future, but DOS2 has already had a profound impact on the CRPG genre leading even to Larian attaining the license for the long-awaited Baldur’s Gate III

Great Campaign Level: Lv. 18 Grandmaster

We’re starting off strong with the Great Campaign! View the Archive to see what’s up next!

Thanks for reading!

– Brandon

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