Divinity: Original Sin (D:OS) serves as a testament to counter the culture of modern gaming. Larian allowed nothing to hinder their vision for their creation; their love for games and the players who enjoy them serves as the greatest foundation in the making of D:OS. From gameplay, design philosophy, dedicated patches post-launch, Larian has such confidence in their product because they have faith that their players would appreciate their steadfast, dedicated approach than cave in to the poison of modern culture.
Whether you love or hate Divinity, one could not deny the amount of love, respect, and effort Larian put into this game. It's an example that anyone should be following in their daily lives.
As a result, D:OS performs marvelously on all fronts.
Graphics: It's a CRPG, so let's set the bar realistically. Rivellon in D:OS is simply gorgeous. The colours and art bring out the atmosphere of the locations. Weather effects are sharp and clear. Spell and weapon effects are a charm to behold. The attention to detail and polish makes this play like a modern game.
Sound/Voice Acting/Writing: The sound effects are solid. There is nothing I do in game where the sound effects were inappropriate or unconvincing, from combat to walking through different weather terrains. Not all NPCs are voiced, but when they are it is definitely well written and acted out convincingly. Voice acting was always a strength when it came to Larian's games and I really did wish that there were more of them in D:OS.
Writing is another one of Larian's strongest skills. Taste in writing is subjective. The two previous games share this trait and D:OS doesn't escape this formula. Unlike them, most of the writing is read rather than voiced. It doesn't make the writing any less effective, yet the voice acting in the previous games also displayed the skills of the voice actors and how Larian will not attempt at anything less than stellar.
Music: Although taste in music is subjective, you cannot accuse Larian for doing their soundtracks poorly. The quality is excellent.
Story Progression: The beauty about how this game works is the content comes to you the more you talk to people. The more people you talk to, the more quests you get, the more variety of solutions to solve quests open to you. Character abilities could be enhanced through dialogue. It also gives you the freedom to kill quest givers, emphasizing on the lack of hand holding in this game. For those who complain about the main story progression is in reality linear and how it is pretending to be open world, I might need to remind you that Dragon Age: Origins was also linear in spite offering 5 factions to recruit. In addition, in Fallout: New Vegas you were not advised to take the shortest path to get to Vegas from the beginning. I loved both games and they both failed at attempting to make the main story feel non-linear.
Combat: Combat is turn based, and that is subjective. The use of environment as a key addition to your tactics, however, is worthy of praise. The game encourages you to make good use of all the elements at your disposal so you are capable of winning a battle you would not otherwise win by capitalizing the terrain. If the terrain is not in your favour, the option of making your own environment is there. The doors of variety are open, making every battle a different one.
DRM/Microtransactions: It has no reason to exist.
Free Companion DLC: This action is extremely pro-consumer and it speaks volumes of how Larian treats their players. These two members give your party a good mix up and adds variety to the game. Larian had no reason to do this for free, but they wanted players to have more experiences than less.
Kickstarter Success: Larian proved to us that they are very capable of not cheating money that came from good faith. Given the amount of abuse and horror stories from many developers that failed to create a game to live up to the expectations or simply scammed the contributors, D:OS is a beacon of example.
All said and done, no doubt this is a 10/10, right?
No. I adore the game and it's my favorite game of the year, but it's not a 10/10. D:OS does so many things right so well that it's all the more glaring when it does something wrong.
Character Customization: Due to how the character progression is designed in D:OS, hybrids can easily become mediocre if points are allocated wrong. This limits one's creativity and encourages pures to be made due to simplicity and efficiency. Despite that, pure builds also have a problem from the inaccessibility to crucial spells. The best example is the Two Handed Knight. Both AoE attacks are very limited in the game. One of them can only be selected through character creation. The other one comes very scarcely. Respec removes all abilities you have, thus you cannot make any errors on an AoE Knight. How could handicapping a build and punishing trial and error exist here? Players won't know any of this information unless they read up all the info before hand.
RNG: Although it's a necessary system, this makes an already slow game even slower. Players want all the legendary gear vendors sell and will reload the game over and over until they find the pieces they want. Vendors reset their inventory every level and thus this happens with multiple vendors on every level up. Any loot-able source that can drop legendaries will have the player reloading the game until a desired piece drops.
Crafting: As wonderful it may be to see that there is little hand holding and the abundance of freedom, I wish the crafting wasn't so overwhelming. It's annoying to be bombarded with so many different items and have little idea regarding how to use them. I don't want the game to be simple, but it would've been great if there was something to point players towards the right direction.
What do all have in common?
Time Consumption: The above factors all contribute to many very time consuming activities in addition to the 80 to 100 hours it requires to finish the game. The game is marvelous in its own right indeed, yet when it demands this much time from its players it's vital to make the experience as efficient as possible. Let's face it, we all have a limited of time each day to play games due to real life commitments, and Larian needs to figure out how to make the most use of our time when we offer it. It's frustrating to be engaged in a game for hours just to find yourself accomplishing little.
What's even more tragic is that Larian had no intention of doing this. They embraced all the ideas they wanted in a great game, worked so diligently to create a masterpiece, and yet in oversight their creation caused a dilemma that would've easily destroyed games of lower caliber. That proves just how powerful and brilliant D:OS is. When you're doing stuff it feels like DA: Origins. When it doesn't it leave you hungering more for what could have been if the pacing was more efficient. I believe it could potentially surpass DA: Origins with the last stroke of polish.
Regardless of these flaws, due to my adoration to Divinity, I'll be giving all the time that's required of me to experience D:OS thoroughly. However, not everyone will be compelled to give Larian such grace, and this notion hurts the presentation of the game. No one can justify why there's little to no progress in a game after putting hours of their free time into it.
I pray that there are upcoming DLCs and detailed patches that could remedy the issues. D:OS was ever so close to perfection.
Final Verdict: 8.7/10 (How I wish this was a 9/10)
This package of love, respect and care is only $40. Support Larian for what they do and there will be hope that their next Divinity game will outperform Original Sin. They are real risk takers, unafraid to make whatever they feel is fun, and have the integrity, talent, character and dignity to back it up.