Ah, RPGs—the lifeblood of my gaming journey since the golden era of 8-bit consoles. There’s a certain magic in diving into expansive worlds, unraveling intricate storylines, and molding your character’s fate. From the nostalgic dungeons of Ultima to the spellbinding narratives of Final Fantasy, I’ve always thrived on immersive RPG experiences. But as much as my heart yearns for the rich tales and strategic depth these games offer, Divinity: Original Sin 2 left me navigating a sea of frustration rather than a landscape of adventure.

Grand Narrative Setup

Upon booting up the game, players are treated to a grand narrative setup: the Divine is dead, the Void encroaches, and Rivellon needs a savior. The premise is promising—you’re to ascend as the god Rivellon desperately craves. Combining high stakes with the freedom to choose your race and origin, ranging from flesh-eating Elves to undead rising from the grave, it certainly piqued my curiosity.

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Tactical Turn-Based Combat

Let’s dive into the crux of the matter: gameplay. Divinity: Original Sin 2 boasts extensive tactical, turn-based combat. Manipulating the environment, using height for advantage, and unleashing 200 skills over 12 different schools sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, the reality was different. The fights felt exasperatingly long and arduously hard, leading to a snail-paced progression rather than an enjoyable challenge.

Turn-based combat has its charm and a place in history. Yet, the lengthy, repetitive battles in this game detracted significantly from the experience. Unlike simpler classics like Dragon Quest or early Final Fantasy games, where combat was brisk and thrilling, each encounter felt like a drawn-out war of attrition that tested my patience more than my strategy.

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Exploration Constraints

Exploring Rivellon should have been a highlight, yet the game didn’t live up to its promise of a truly open-world experience. Instead, it felt more like an elaborate maze. The fragmented regions and scripted events constrained the freedom I love from Zelda’s vast plains or Ultima’s expansive overworld.

Characters and Storyline

Characters and storyline are the backbone of any RPG. Although Divinity: Original Sin 2 presents a range of companions, each with their own unique backstory and questlines, they didn’t resonate with the same depth or charm as the likes of Link, Samus, or the Blue Bomber. The intertwining tales show promise, but the storytelling often felt bogged down by the slow and arduous combat progression.

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Visuals and Art Direction

Visually, the game is stunning. Its 4K support brings the vibrant world of Rivellon to life with great detail. The art direction and graphics are noteworthy, capturing the essence of a fantasy world teeming with magic and mystery. Yet, all the visual splendor in the world can’t compensate for a lackluster gameplay experience.

Multiplayer Experience

Multiplayer in Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows for up to four players to join forces in both online and local split-screen formats. This cooperative play, however, did little to alleviate the drawn-out nature of battles. What should have been an engaging social experience turned into a tedious endeavor, exacerbating rather than alleviating the inherent frustrations.

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Conclusion

Overall, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game with many aspirations, yet it falls short of creating a truly engaging RPG experience. The lengthy, challenging battles and constrained exploration dilute what could have been a rich narrative and tactical depth. For fans of classic RPGs used to the fast-paced, thrilling adventures of older titles, this game might feel like a step backward rather than forward.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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While visually impressive, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is hampered by its cumbersome combat and lack of true open-world freedom. It’s a title that might appeal to fans of highly strategic, turn-based RPGs with a taste for methodical pacing, but for those like myself who revel in the blend of story and swift action, it’s a hard pass.

Want to check it out yourself? Click here to see it on Steam.