Join the Nicessist’s resident video game nerd, Coolboi Williams, on his on-going quest to play all the video games he bought on impulse during biannual Steam Sales. Today Divinity Original Sin gets the Steamé treatment.
Twice every freakin’ year, I dip into my infinite paypal account (its infinite because I’m a rich internet baller), and drop a crap load of $$$ on video games that I never end up playing. I don’t play them because most of the games suck/I don’t care about them, and I only bought them because they were 80% off. Steam is a clever machination, perhaps evil, but I’m undecided on the evil part. If you don’t know, Steam is computer software that allows you to buy, download, and organize a library of PC games. Twice a year they throw their much hallowed “Steam Sales,” where hundreds of games are available for mad cheap.
BUT IM NOT GOING TO LET STEAM GET THE BEST OF ME. I’LL PLAY ALL OF THESE STUPID VIDEO GAMES, STARTING WITH:
Divinity: Original Sin
In this game, you can:
- Talk to a giant clam
- Go on art heists
- Dig up graves and make a grieving mother very sad
- Play rock paper scissors
- Carry around a pair of smelly underwear for 90+ hours
Sounds like a regular day at the office for ‘ol Nick Williams.
I could talk for hours about Kickstarter and how it constantly fucks people over, but Divinity is one of the few games that actually delivered on its promises. Actually, I can’t talk for hours about Kickstarter, because I’ve never been on Kickstarter before. But I KNOW WHAT IT IS AND THAT’S THE IMPORTANT THING.
Divinity: Original Sin is a great game for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because it actually has really good, thoughtful, funny writing.
It might seem silly, but 95% of video game scripts are fucking HORRIBLE.
Exhibit A: the GTA series.
When talking about Grand Theft Auto, people are always like: “oh my god its like im playing a AAA hollywood movie,” when in reality, the plot feels like it was written by some dude in a 1st year creative writing program who thinks that writing earnestly about a crack smoking sociopath who whips his dick out in public is a tour de force and hits all of the foundational cornerstones of our society’s deep-rooted problems.
It doesn’t feel like Divinity is EVER farting around with its plot or character development, and that’s all I’m asking for. Just don’t fart around. Or if you’re going to fart around, do it thoughtfully at least.
Divinity’s fart clouds are shaped like of all of the best PC RPG’s you’ve played, mingling together to create a fruity pungent green toxic bouquet that you can light on fire with a flame spell and roast 5 zombies when the green fart cloud explodes.
I’m going somewhere with this!
In most RPGs, fighting doesn’t really have consequences. In D&D (which almost all PC RPGs are inspired by), you can basically do whatever you want: if there’s a skeleton warrior king you could just be like, “fuck it, I’m going to use this lvl.9 firestorm spell and melt that skeleton king’s golden throne so it fuses to his butt and then when he tries to stand up his butt and pelvic bones will disattach from his body and then his legs will fall off and then i’m going to use this lvl. 10 summon bees spell and unleash a 1000 bees on my own group of adventurers because I’m a huge asshole.”
You can never do that in PC RPGs, it’s always just “click on enemy and kill them.”
Divinity actually fixes that issue by making spells and environments interact with each other. Your rogue is burning alive? Cast a rain spell, my doggie. Bunch of oil lying around leading to a keg of dynamite for some reason? Strike it with your flaming sword and watch the fireworks. Sure, it’s not perfect – the mechanics are still limited to the possibilities of a game engine after all, but it’s a step in the right direction because these possibilities feel organic and real.
The character building is also fantastic. You control two main protagonists; how these protagonists interact with the world, and with each other, is entirely up to you. If you want to make them totally agree on every single decision and be best buddies who run town complimenting each other at every turn, you can do that! Or, alternatively, you can make them disagree on everything and be working together strictly because they’re forced to. It’s a cool dynamic, and one that refreshingly differs from most traditional RPGs where you’re forced down a straight linear path with the illusion of choice.
Not every decision has to be a “CHANGE THE FATE OF THE WORLD” consequential decision.
Sometimes it can be more immersive to be able to ask one of your characters why the just beat the shit out of a senile 90-year-old mayor, and to see how they respond.
There’s just so much detail in this game it’s kinda outstanding. Everything is meticulously and lovingly put together. The world feels alive and teeming with activity, which is a huge accomplishment for a video game.
This doesn’t happen very often, but I got the feeling of “damn, this game is fucking amazing” while playing Divinity: Original Sin.