Divinity: Original Sin 2 (2017, early access 2016), the first 20 hours

Divinity: Original Sin 2 (2017), directed by Swen Vincke. writing director Jan Van Dosselaer, developed and published by Larian Studios NV

I think it was long before the 20-hour mark I got bored with the first Original Sin. I thought the starting location was great, but it started to dwindle down and got muddled before or after entering the second large area. I can't really remember it straight, as after it lost my interest it took me over a year to actually play it through in very small hurdles. Original Sin 2 hasn't had such problems, at least for now, as it has been, on all counts, much nicer experience to this 20-hour mark than its predecessor.

It's a familiar beginning in OS2. You wake up as a captive, fitted with a source collar, that prevents you from using your source powers. The ship you are on is heading towards Fort Joy, obviously ironically named concentration camp for Sourcerers, which are seen as a threat to Rivellon.  There's been an epidemic of voidwoken monsters attacking the land and the people and the use of source magic is seen as the reason why that has been happening, so the Magisters have been hunting the source capable down and cleansing them of their taint.

As you wake up in the ship and get your bearings, you soon notice that there's a gruesome murder that has taken place. One of the convicts has been brutally murdered and you can, if you so choose, try to solve it. But that doesn't really matter, as the shit soon hits the fan and a huge void beast attacks the ship and sinks it.

You don't die, obviously, as a mysterious force saves you and throws you at the beach near Fort Joy. You've arrived at your prison, despite in a bit unorthodox manner, and now need to escape. Depending on how you play, what difficulty level and how much of the island you actually do end up exploring, as there's a lot of stuff there, this escape can take a better part of that 20-hours. I got out in around 15-hours, but there still were things left behind I didn't explore. I've read people using over 30-hours on the island alone before they've gotten to the mainland.

So yes, Original Sin 2 is a long game. And luckily enough it still doesn't show signs of dulling down on the moment you get to the mainland. Before the mainland, you've been pointed out to be a godwoken, a chosen one that is supposed to be a conduit of gods. Depending on your character though, as you can choose from ready-made characters or create one of your own, there can be a difference on how things play out.

I chose Lohse, a female bard, as my character. She differs from the others by having a demon living in her head. A demon, who wants to control her and use her to gain more power by tapping on the Source magic. Instead of gods, Lohse sees the demon, whereas her companions, who also are godwoken candidates, see gods of their respective races.

Like I said, I'm enjoying the DOS2 far better than I did like the first game. All about it feels better rounded. The writing is better, the world feels much more intact, the interactivity of the world greatly improved. The way you can proceed feels better thought out as the game offers so many possibilities in doing things, be it combat or just solving puzzles. It does its best in providing you with a playground in which you can do whatever you want, but still making it possible to proceed, no matter if you kill a plot essential character or cock up in some other manner. The game adapts well and provides you with a different path to continue, be it finding the information somewhere else, showing an alternative way to do something or just by letting you chat with a spirit of the dead or consume their knowledge directly from their flesh.

The combat system is, just like in the original DOS, well built, turn-based system, in which you can move freely and use spells or weapons on either the enemies or the surroundings. You can ignite oiled surfaces, create poisonous spills or slippery floors. Enemies can be teleported to harmful places or harmful things can be teleported to enemies. It is an extremely well-built system, which offers many ways in how you tackle things, be it evasive, magic based or hand to hand combat you are after. The combat system of DOS2 might be one of the best ever made and certainly something companies like inXile could take more than a few notes from, given that they also are into turn-based combat mechanics in their games.

On what I've seen now, I feel that DOS2 is one of the best RPG's released for a good while. It doesn't only have good mechanics, it's also reasonably well written, has interesting characters, solid voice acting and it looks great to boot. And the soundtrack is not too shabby either.

To experience Divinity: Original Sin 2 yourself, head to GOG or Steam.