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- Divinity: Original Sin II
We've seen quite a few classic genres make a comeback over the last couple of years, such as the point-and-click adventure games and old-school cRPGs. Divinity: Original Sin was a rather hardcore cRPG that introduced the concept of co-op play in the genre. The game could most certainly be played solo, but adding in a partner to help you adventure through the story added a unique element for puzzle solving and combating enemies.
Its upcoming sequel, Divinity: Original Sin II, is bringing everything that everyone loved from the first one, bringing it back, and doubling nearly everything about it. More classes. Unique skills for classes. Four-play co-operative play. A PvP arena against another friend. Divinity: Original Sin II looks to be nothing like we've ever seen before in an isometric cRPG.
Original Sin II takes place 1000 years after the events of the first title, which was about discovering the Source and learning about those who could tap into it. One thousand years later, the powers that be have linked numerous catastrophic events to those who can use the Source, and as such, all these people have been rounded up and cast off to an island. To prevent them from simply teleporting off the island, all of the inhabitants have been fitted with Source-inhibiting collars. The player's first mission is to naturally get off this island and remove these collars.
No matter how players build their characters, they will have the ability to use the Source and will begin the game on the island. That said, the character creation this time has some interesting twists and additions this time around. Four races are available: human, elf, dwarf, and lizard—each race having its own unique skill. Lizards, which are new to Divinity: Original Sin, can breathe fire without the aid of magic. Lizards are also a people of slavers and slave trading, and they control slaves with a spellsong, which can be used in combat and in dialogue for persuasion. Elves have a slightly more grotesque skill: They will eat corpses in order to gain memories from the corpse. It's one way that they preserve their culture with their long lives, and it's an interesting way to gain intel on a situation. If you can't sweet talk the information out of them, just kill them and eat them.
Character creation doesn't simply end with choosing a race and class; players can also choose tags to go along with the character, such as outlaw, noble, jester, mystic, rogue, scholar, or soldier. These tags affect dialogue options as well as how other characters respond to the player character. Depending on the tags you choose, you could have a vastly different experience with the game even if you choose the same race and class.
Instead of custom character creation, players can also choose from set characters with their own unique backstories. These backstories will further affect how other NPCs relate to the player and provide additional side quests. If the player doesn't choose one of those set backstories, those pre-created characters can be found throughout the game and be added to your party if you can convince them to join you. In my particular session, I created a custom elf, and I ran into the pre-created lizard, who was a former prince fallen from grace. I really had to talk him into joining our party, because he saw us as nothing but future slaves.
We also scoped a bit of the PvP mode that is new for Original Sin II: 2v2 arena match. The map has a variety of hazards, chests, and Sources to utilize. Combat is turn-based, and what each character can do with their turn depends on how much AP they currently have. Sometimes it's wise to use up all of your AP with your turn, and sometimes it's best to let AP carry over for the next turn to use a more powerful ability or spell.
The PvP mode is a strange game of chess, where your strategy could get turned against you in one teleportation spell or one miscalculation of throwing a grenade. This mode takes a while to get used to, but when the gameplay clicks, it clicks. I can almost see this mode played as much if not more than the story-driven campaign.
Divinity: Original Sin II will go into Early Access mode on September 15, 2016, and at that time, the island prison at the beginning will be completely open to explore. This island alone has between 8 and 12 hours of gameplay. Divinity: Original Sin II will only release on PC.