Video game worlds are facades, and sometimes we catch a glimpse of what's beyond. Recently, while exploring one of the intricate levels of Dusk, I somehow managed to slip through the cracks and found myself on the other side of the invisible partition that upholds the illusion of coherent space. I'd entered a world of broken, gravity-defying architecture, and there in the middle of the level had opened a pit that revealed a vast grey void beneath my feet. Close by, there was an exasperated message on the ground: "YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE HERE, GO AWAY."
Larian visited the Eurogamer office to show me the new and improved Definitive Edition of Divinity: Original Sin 2 last week. To do this the developer ran two versions of the game - old and new - side by side to highlight the differences. On one screen we had DOS2 as it exists now, played on a gaming laptop; and on the other screen we had the Definitive Edition of DOS2 played on an Xbox One X dev kit. The difference was striking.
Editor's note: Final review code came in hot for Divinity: Original Sin 2, so ahead of our final review - which will be landing next week - we wanted to offer you some early impressions from the opening of the game. Enjoy!
Even after playing the Early Access version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 for nearly 20 hours I didn't understand why I would want my party members to work against each other. It's one of the big ideas in the sequel, one of the big ways the story will improve on Divinity: Original Sin 1's - this idea that people in your party are in competition with one another. In multiplayer you're even actively encouraged to stitch your friends up, which is something we've written about before. But in single-player, where you control the party members, why would you do it?
In Divinity: Original Sin 2, elves eat corpses. Eat that Legolas! I suppose in Divinity 2 an elf literally would. But anyway. Eating corpses is a racial ability, what elves in Divinity 2 just happen to do, and when they gobble an arm or a head or a leg they learn things about who it came from - discover secrets. It's another option in a game of options. Why go round the houses looking for the information you need to finish a quest when you can scoff a head and do it that way? It's Divinity: Original Sin 2 in a nutshell: a cheeky, subversive fantasy toy box that has an even bigger box of tools than the first game to play with.
Kickstarter and RPGs have gone together like, well, nostalgia and money over the last couple of years. From Wasteland 2 to Pillars of Eternity to Divinity: Original Sin, they've done great business, and resulted in great games. But that was then. It's time for the second wave.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an RPG heretic. It wants you to split the party. It wants you to work against each other. It'll even force your hand, as our team of four mismatched heroes discovered when trying to get into town. Party leader Gwynne got a warm enough welcome, at least as warm as a prodigal daughter last seen being arrested as a corrupt sorceress can expect. Her dwarf companion had no such luck though, being rudely and immediately turned away at the gates by the racist guard. For him, the only way in was to find an alternate route, through a series of caves far from the gates and far from his so-called friends. All of them already questing without him.