No Stranger To Adversity

Quite the opposite really.

I recently finished Divinity: Original Sin, which, despite its flaws, was an incredibly enjoyable RPG that provided the opportunity to build many varied characters. It was quite a refreshing experience. I’ve not encountered many RPGs released in the last five years that allow you to freely customise your party- building both their strengths and their weaknesses- and I find that significantly diminishes the experience. I personally prefer it when characters are not automatically proficient in every skill, talent, or ability ever.

Or, at the very least, I prefer it when my choices actually have consequences.

For instance, in Divinity: Original Sin I was quite concerned about the way I chose to build Cornelius. He was a typical ranger with some magical capabilities, but it quickly became apparent that he used magic more than he used his bow in most encounters. However, the two governing attributes were completely different. It also meant his ability points were spread quite thin.

That said, despite initial concern, and with clever use of Geomancer summoning skills, he was able to reliably contribute in a meaningful way to most encounters. Later in the story he actually became one of the highest sources of damage in the party. But it was a very long road reliant on many later skills. I’m glad I stuck with that particular build, though. It definitely provided many unique benefits that I didn’t get elsewhere and was quite enjoyable. What was more enjoyable was the fact that I had the opportunity to ruin that character. It seems like an odd thing to find enjoyable, but it was nice to have to think about how best to develop his abilities in order to best utilise his unique benefits. To consider different options and possibilities.

See? These are what spawn when you call upon Source magic.

That was one of the more disappointing mechanics in Diablo III. It was also one of the more disappointing mechanics in Fallout 4. In both cases, you weren’t necessarily completely proficient at everything but you could have been. Long gone were the days of committing to being good at Small Guns due to having high Agility. Or being better acquainted with cleaving because your Strength was higher and afforded more close combat perks. Or even being able to build a unique Barbarian that combined unusual or interesting skills.

It definitely helps the longevity of the experience.

But it also definitely hurts the enjoyment you get from the experience. There’s no real reason to want to build a new character, and in turn experience the earlier struggles (and feeling of accomplishment in overcoming those struggles) due to a lack of something. One of my favourite Fallout 3 characters was the one that used exclusively Energy Weapons.

Mostly because that almost completely useless laser pistol in the Super Duper Mart was their only friend. Which meant that they needed to invest much more into every shot they fired, as each one was an expensive purchase (at that time) and only degraded the condition further. I was quite happy that my choice had consequences, though. It felt like I’d actually built a character that was at least somewhat unique in their experiences. Following Divinity: Original Sin, I started the main story for Divinity: Original Sin 2 and I’m glad to see that character builds are still a possibility. I’m also glad to see more complex (and better developed) mechanics for some aspects of the experience. I just wish there were more opportunities to have these experiences.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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The Adventures of Rosey and Cornelius

The dynamic Source Hunter duo.

Divinity: Original Sin is a rather enjoyable yet devilishly difficult RPG which features CRPG mechanics. For the purposes of this post, I’ll be discussing the original release and not the Enhanced Edition so take some observations lightly. I’m sure that the Enhanced Edition has better tuned mechanics. Hopefully. It’s also worth noting that it’s been roughly four years since I last journeyed around Rivellon, and that I wasn’t too far through the main story the last time that I did. But I’ve been having a lot of fun with it this time around.

I even bought Divinity: Original Sin 2 because of it.

Character creation is definitely one of the best things about Divinity: Original Sin. Both the Source Hunters you begin with and companions that join you are fully customisable, and if you don’t feel like playing with others you can completely forego companions by acquiring the Lone Wolf talent. You can even develop characters with myriad non-combat abilities.

On that note, I was slightly disappointed that I would need to move items to a character in order to utilise Blacksmithing or Loremaster. That’s something I know that they’ve changed in the Enhanced Edition. I’m also slightly disappointed by the lack of variety in companions. I would’ve liked to see more of the unique character classes being represented. That said, I chose Jahan and Madora to fill two very simplistic roles in the end. One being the ever-murderous valiant knight who would tank damage about as well as my Source Hunter, while the other chose a more scholarly yet no less destructive route of raining fire down on anything and everything. I’m not disappointed in the range of skills you can choose from, though. They’re pretty great overall.

Not so invulnerable now, are you?

On the other hand, while the skills are great, the flow of combat can sometimes be weighed heavily in your opponent’s favour. It’s fairly obvious that most enemies have higher resistances and better chances to apply status ailments than you, which would be fine if you weren’t perpetually outnumbered. Worse still when you’ve invested significantly in Bodybuilding or Willpower to affect those saving rolls and they still apply the status ailment. Enemies seem to act rather randomly, too. So it’s almost down to luck whether you’re going to make it out alive.

Which also would be fine if resurrecting wasn’t an inconvenient annoyance.

But the synergy between your skills is incredible. Being able to create poison surfaces which you can later set alight, or being able to freeze the ground to cause enemies to trip, or even being able to use Teleportation (which is the best skill) to drop an enemy into lava is ridiculously fun. The combat can simultaneously be the best and worst part of the experience.

I would say that Divinity: Original Sin is a great experience if not a little flawed. The quests are certainly engaging enough and not every single one requires combat, but the progression through new areas feels a little disjointed. Often you’re expected to travel to higher level areas to complete lower level quests. That said, it never ruins the experience it’s just a little frustrating at times trying to figure out where to go next. I also wish that crafting in the original release made any sense. I’m certain that the Enhanced Edition will smooth out this experience to make it more enjoyable, and so I’ve no hesitation in recommending Divinity: Original Sin to all who enjoy RPGs (and CRPGs) as it’s worth the time invested. Without question.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

To the Temple of Helm!

The feeling you get when one of your (fairly useful) companions falls in battle in Baldur’s Gate.

The negative point to all of this is that when someone dies you can usually take them to a temple and revive them, in my case, well, the game crashes to desktop every time I try. Only in temples. Nowhere else. Which is one of the dangers of playing a game from yesteryear on a modern machine as sometimes things get a little odd. Mostly, as is the cases I have found, they were made for very specific sets of hardware rather than universal hardware. So once you leave their confined comfort zone of accepted configurations you’re open to all sorts.

This is… a slight problem. Moreso in that I could have had a few people dead rather than just the one that I ended up with. But now, poor Imoen, she is dead forever, as there isn’t really a way I can bring her back without some manner of console commands or exploits or something. As I don’t even believe if we do get a decent Cleric they can ever reach the Raise Dead spell.

If they can even reach the Raise Dead spell to begin with. I’m not entirely sure about that either.

To be honest, as you’ll well know if you’ve read my other D&D related posts- I am quite new to the whole experience. I had an isometric story rich party based itch last year and the only way to scratch it was to play a bunch of games I’d never played before. I’ve recently started a run in both Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale using all of the information I’ve accrued and it’s not going terribly at the moment. I just need to learn/understand/get used to a few more things. I’m also strongly considering buying the Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition as that has got a ruleset I really like in it. Likewise for Icewind Dale II (though I already own that). I’m not overly keen on the Baldur’s Gate ruleset as it doesn’t seem to evolve as well or give you as many options.

While you may also remember that I did start Icewind Dale a couple of times prior in the very first case I had no idea what I was doing, in the second it was pretty much the same, and this time I have taken the time to get my head cleared and focused for the challenges ahead. I know that any of the old CRPGs of that ilk will require my full concentration for the party development.

I was also pawing through my Steam library and decided to give FATE a go. I’ve had my eye on it, bought it when it was on sale, and I’ve been interested in playing it but I haven’t really got around to it. It has some really nice concepts in it and I quite enjoy playing it. I don’t really assume the game ends but I’m taking the ending as the major boss quest you get given at the start of the game. Which is on the fiftieth level if I’m not mistaken. So, I’m guessing there’s a good 10-12 hours there. Of course, depending on how strong I am when I get there, and how much I’m enjoying it, I may push on deeper into the labyrinth.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of sweet gaming digs on offer right now. Figured it might be nice to do a more casual post in contrast to the reviews, new pieces, and other goodies going on right now.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie