Wot I Think: Divinity – Original Sin

By Adam Smith on July 11th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

Some RPGs are built around systems and some are built around scripts. Divinity: Original Sin is an example of the former and its one of the finest I’ve ever seen. Oops. Gave away the ending. Larian’s lates is a single or two-player cooperative RPG with turn-based combat, crafting and an enormous world full of objects to interact with and NPCs to converse with or kill. No knowledge of previous Divinity games is required but an appreciation of the older school of roleplaying may help you to acquire this particular taste.

It’s a sprawling game, responsible for some of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in all my years of gaming. I could write about it for weeks but I’ve limited myself to a single feature. For now. It’s broken up into three parts, all of which are below.

Part 1 – Sausages and Steak

Sometimes this world of games and the role of critic within it can be very kind and fulfilling. The release of Divinity: Original Sin marks just such an occasion.

As Early Access becomes increasingly common, I’m becoming accustomed to comments on articles like the Pillars Of Eternity news from earlier today – ‘why would I want to play a story-driven game before it’s finished?’ I am as one with the people who make those comments. It’s strange to work as a critic in a creative field where unfinished work is constantly and eagerly exposed to you. Imagine Stanley Kubrick inviting a pack of critics to the set of 2001 and then sitting with them as they watched early rushes of key scenes while trying to justify himself in the face of weary questioning.

How instructive can a trip to the sausage factory be? The risk, so often, is that we watch the hairy hogflesh falling into the grinder, tubing out like tingling pink toothpaste, and imagine that’ll it’ll somehow become a tender cut of Matsusake beef steak. We see the thing being made and cannot help but think how succulent the final result might be, when the blood pudding of placeholder assets has been sloughed away and the process has been refined. Peering through the veined membrane of the abattoir blues is part of the job.

I first saw Divinity: Original Sin in March, 2013. I was in London, at the Walkabout pub by Temple station. Larian had brought two games across from Belgium and I wanted to get my hands on the one that featured dragons wearing jetpacks. I knew that the Original Sin code was quite early and I didn’t have any particular attachment to the series, having only played Divine Divinity, and that many years before and briefly.

You can read the impressions I wrote up afterwards. The intro sums it up best. I remember speaking to Swen Vincke, Larian’s CEO, right after playing – I mentioned Ultima VII and it became obvious we could have talked for hours about the intricacies of the game and its systems. How it contained crafting without needing to contain a menu or prompt for the verb, and how the NPCs followed schedules and seemed to exist.

Vincke seemed pleased that I’d picked up on the influence but I also realised I’d found someone who recognised what a high bar that game sets. He told me of the things he wanted the team to integrate, the level of simulation he’d chase given the time and funds. Excited, but apprehensive, he told me that a Kickstarter was planned, with the hope that the extra money would allow the scope of the game to expand.

In early 2013, Larian showed me mincemeat, and then I sat down with Vincke to talk about steak.

Part 2 – In Ghent

I’d never been to Belgium before when I travelled to Ghent in December of last year. Vincke had been at a meeting near the airport and picked me up to take me straight to Larian’s offices. That’s the wrong word, ‘offices’ – Larian have an open plan workspace with arcade and pinball machines, and a (sadly broken at the time) set of draught beer pumps in the foyer.

We talked about beer in the car. When in Belgium it’s rude not to. Vincke recommended a particular Trappist brew, which I’ve since forgotten. We talked about football too and Belgium’s World Cup hopes. Even back then, I found the idea of England making any progress hilarious.

And then one of us mentioned Ultima VII again. The conversation picked up almost exactly where we’d left it in March. Vincke didn’t seem as intimidated by the comparison now and was eager to see if Original Sin would live up to expectations.

Ghent is beautiful. Maybe. I saw more of the city during that initial car trip than I did during the remaining 48 hours of my visit. It may not be a fairytale town but it has enough medieval memories to soothe the eyes and the area around the studio is dotted with picturesque churches. I planned to explore a little, as I always do if I find myself in a new city, but it was not to be. I played Original Sin for two days straight, breaking to eat, drink, talk and (briefly) sleep, and I left in high spirits. My account of those two days, which involved bucket-hats, detective agencies and the hunt for a potato, is here.

Of all the things that I saw, the one that stuck with me during the trip home was a sign attached to the wall that every employee passed on the way to their desk – “Why can the player move a flowerpot? Because it’s there.”

Chapter 3 – Wot I Really Really Think

I didn’t play Original Sin during its stint in Early Access. Having explored the early game in some detail, I was determined to wait for the finished article before I jumped back in. I wouldn’t normally tell you wot I think before playing a game to completion but after sinking far too many hours into the game this week, I’m ready to share my thoughts, which are tied up in those earlier experiences and the expectations that built up on the back of them.

They’re the kind of expectations that could break the back of an accomplished piece of work and there have been times when I’ve tried to push them to one side. The good news is, I didn’t need to. In a year that will see a big return on my kind of RPG – less Bethesda and Bioware, more Obsidian and Black Isle – I’ll be shocked if this isn’t the best of them. The writing is strong, character development encourages play and experimentation, and the world is a toy.

Original Sin is like a Lego set. I might never build the architecture or the scene shown on the box, but I’ll make a thousand other things along the way. It’s a game that encourages the player to follow or invent tangents and diversions, and that provides its inhabitants with enough simulated agency to convince that they’re willing to engage with those diversions. Perhaps Pillars Of Eternity or Wasteland 2 will have a finer end-goal for their kit – a handsome attempt at perfection – but will the pieces be as fun to muddle and confuse?

The basic blocks are simple. Turn-based combat, which makes clever use of the elements, has character attributes, skills and equipment as its foundation. Classes can be selected for both of the player characters at the start of the game but every aspect can be customised if you don’t want to stick to templates. Original Sin is the rare RPG I which I’m happy to play as a magic user.

I normally avoid the beardy blighters because I don’t like managing spell memorisation systems and mana regeneration. Small and puny I may be, but I’m a barbarian at heart. Original Sin provides every character with skills, operated from a bar at the bottom of the screen, and those skills have a cooldown. My knight uses magic but if he’s out of spell-juice, he can resort to special melee attacks that allow him to engage tactically or change the field of play. Wizards are high maintenance compared to the cheap date that is my barbarous self, but they can still weigh in, even without constant attention and resources.

Levelling up allows you to improve basic attributes so that you can use all the tasty loot you’ve found but also unlocks traits. These are fun. Pet Pal is the obvious example to highlight the game’s silly streak (several miles wide) and determination to provide interesting content in every corner of its world.

Choosing Pet Pal allows a character to talk to animals. A gimmick that makes me feel guilty when I kill a rat to gain a few paltry experience points. If that were all it achieved, I’d probably still take it because I mostly enjoy Larian’s sense of humour and the occasional conversation with a cow is entertaining during countryside questing. But then, during the game’s first major quest, there’s one solution among several that can only be followed by dog whisperers. And an entire sidequest about romantic cats that Don’tLittles will never see.

The philosophy that drives the game is the one that was posted on Larian’s wall, an extension of the movable plant pots. If it’s in the world, allow the player to play with it.

Other happy surprises emerge at a steady clip. Revisiting the opening areas, I’ve found so much more than was evident during my first and second visits. More NPCs with more to say, more sidequests and loot locations, and more ways to push at and explore the systems that drive the world. That’s the key difference between Original Sin and most other RPGs – the world, its objects and its creatures are designed to work within systems. There’s scripting aplenty but those willing and able to improvise will find the greatest rewards.

Elemental concerns elevate the combat and allow for the experimental tendencies that the rest of the game supports to come to the fore. Cause an orc to bleed and then freeze its blood so that other orcs slip, slide and fall on their arses as they charge across it. Create noxious poison clouds and then ignite them with a fireball. Make the heavens open on an unsuspecting bandit and then strike his sodden backside with lightning. There are careful combos to discover and there is chaos to unleash.

And then there’s the crafting. More experimentation. Combine items to create something new, including the fish and chips that I hunted for so long in Ghent. There are stories to be written about the great chefs of Original Sin as well as the great artefact hunters. I want to live many lives in this world and I want to read about the ones that pass me by. It may not quite be Ultima VII Part 3 (nor does it aspire to be exactly that) but a decade or two from now, somebody will write about its roads and taverns with similarly fond memories.

In all of this, I’ve skipped over the game’s exquisite multiplayer mode and there’s a reason for that. There are always two player characters and a single player will be responsible for both during combat and exploration. Again, this encourages exploration of different character builds and makes odd choices less punishing should they turn out to be a bit rubbish. It’s in conversation that the two-character system shows its smarts though.

Playing alone, a companion can have one of three AI settings – ‘none’, ‘loyal’ or ‘random’. The first allows the player to choose dialogue when disagreements occur, roleplaying both characters or deliberately trying to shape them for some wicked end. Loyal characters will always agree with the player, removing any possible friction (not of the Bioware companion romance variety) and random AI will create its own character by being entirely unpredictable.

These choices occur during dual dialogues, situations when the characters have to make a moral decision or pass comment on some occurrence within the world. They might comment on a matter of faith or law, or discuss how to deal with a twist in the tale. The decisions can lead to bickering, which is amplified when playing with another human being. It becomes real world bickering, about the personalities of the players and the roles they’re choosing to adopt.

I wish there were more of it because every time a dialogue begins, I rub my hands together in anticipation of the sweet drops of character development that follow. The reason I’m not writing more about the multiplayer right now is because we’ll be discussing it in more depth at a later date, when we’ve had more of a chance to pit our personalities against one another in anticipation of a verdict. The verdict may be on our own morality and playstyles as well as the game.

This entire feature could have been about the multiplayer experience. It could have been about the shocks and surprises that the combat still manages to throw in my face. Hell, I could have at least spent a paragraph or two on the Homestead and the End of Time, but you’ll discover all of that for yourself. I could even have written a thousand words or more about the pride I take in my expanding recipe book. Original Sin is that kind of game. One to be chewed on, mused over and digested at length.

As good as the game is, I do have a few complaints. The loot system isn’t as interesting as I’d hoped, with only the occasional exciting or esoteric item turning up during exploration off the beaten path. And the main questline, while mostly strong, isn’t quite as weird and wonderful as some of the more delicious branching side stories. It’s enormous though and the game is packed with content. I’d have liked the world to be larger rather than quite so dense, mostly because I enjoy investigating the places in between dollops of written content, but there are so many things to see and do.

The journey has been a long one and I’m pleased that the ending is a happy one. At the beginning of these thoughts I said that the role of critic can be kind and fulfilling. That’s because for all of the ideas that I admired in that early build more than a year ago, I suspected that the best of them might fall apart as the game grew in size and complexity. Against strong odds, Larian have fulfilled the early promise and the extra time, effort and money has all been invested wisely. The sausage has become a steak, succulent and flavoursome, and I have a new toy to play with and return to over the coming months and years.

Divinity: Original Sin is available now.

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324 Comments »

  1. SophiaButler says:

    Saw the steam ad recently. Put me off instantly.

    The ad; (NSFW) http://screencast.com/t/wZc9dod99uQ

    What I don’t tolerate with my purchasez; (NSFW) http://i.imgur.com/2ASKKwt.jpg

    • derbefrier says:

      sigh….

    • LordCrash says:

      Don’t make up some weird story where none is, troll.

    • Flea says:

      I beg of everyone not to turn the comments under this magnificent game into another endless feminism/sexism or any other -ism argument. I’m not trying to take any sides, but this refreshing game that takes people to the time of best RPGs known to this world deserves a comment thread closer to the actual point of the review.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        It’s not irrelevant, though. A lot of us who’ve been looking forward to this game have been looking forward partially because it’s seemed since the start that it would be refreshing and intelligent. Bikini-armour visuals suggested otherwise. Seems Larian have made changes, because they’re good like that, so it turned out to be possibly moot… but still not irrelevant. (And look at it from another angle: If it turns out one of the things the game does right is treat female characters with equal respect, then we should all be happy to praise the devs for that, right?)

        I know it definitely wasn’t your intention, but these kinds of (understandable) pleas could be interpreted as saying “You don’t get to be publicly excited by one of the best RPGs in years if you’re also a feminist.”

        • Ivory Samoan says:

          What a load of ****.

          Don’t disrespect this brilliant game by toxifying the Divinity comment section with your Femo-Nazi agendas.
          What’s next..”Oh, you can see her midriff! Ban the game, Sexist!!”

          Get over yourselves, and get back to gaming.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Do they allow people to visit RPS at the Vatican? Because that’s pretty much the only place that is NSFW.

    • Vinraith says:

      I can’t find that picture anywhere on any actual store. If you actually look at Steam or GOG she’s wearing full armor. I have no idea where you got that.

      Edit: It appears that this is a problem that Larian corrected better than a year ago. Give credit where credit is due and move on.

      • LordCrash says:

        The armour of the female was changed to full armour over a year ago during the kickstarter because some femi-nazis complained. The person here is making something up -> trolling

        • Vinraith says:

          That’s useful information, it’s a shame you had to deliver it like a complete asshole.

          • LordCrash says:

            I just responded to an idiotic post in the exact same manner.

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            Gap Gen says:

            Now, Vinraith, that’s pretty disrespectful to the six million men who died when feminists rounded them up from all over Europe into death camps.

          • 2Ben says:

            6 million? What 6 million? Oh, are you talking about the 400,000 ?

        • Snow Mandalorian says:

          Interesting that the desire to be seen as a person rather than a sex object is the only requirement to be labeled a femi-nazi.

          • LordCrash says:

            I wasn’t aware that it was you who was drawn in that artwork.

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            Continuity says:

            I’d say censorship of images that would seem mild to a nun would do the trick.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “censorship”

            Objecting to things isn’t censorship, it’s free speech. Your right to T&A and other people’s right to ask if it needs to be a part of everything are actually the same right. You don’t get to have one without the other.

            “images that would seem mild to a nun”

            A lot of people seem to think these discussions are about sex, when they’re not. Sex is great! More sex! More sex for everyone (as long as you share). The point is that overtly sexualized non-functional armour has about as much of a place in a game about medieval combat as full plate armour has in vanilla porn about the pizza guy.

            If the game ad (since changed, to Larian’s credit) had featured a fully armoured woman and a bloke in a chainmail thong and a bowtie, everyone would notice. So why not when it’s the opposite?

            And how did my typing that prevent you from enjoying the game?

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            Continuity says:

            Censorship isn’t perhaps the right word but something very similar has happened here, I mean the fact that the image was changed is a direct result of something right? Larian received censure over the image and so changed it to be less sexy … defacto censorship.
            So to answer your question, your “typing that”, along with all the others applying censoring pressure has prevented the average purchaser of the game from enjoying the original image because its no longer being used as a direct result of your (and of others like you) actions.
            If the law permits it, who are we to tell an artist what he can and cannot do with an image?

            Now on the flip side I completely understand the desire to sanitise gaming of the pervasive low level (and sometimes overt) sexism that is often inherent in both the mechanics and graphics of games. However my point is I think its possible to take that too far, and I think this is a perfect example of taking it too far.

            There has to be a better way than this.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “Larian received censure over the image and so changed it to be less sexy … defacto censorship.”

            When Heinz changes their ketchup recipe, is that censorship? Or is that a company responding to changes in market demand? And, again, the issue isn’t that the image was “sexy,” it’s that it objectified a woman for no reason.

            “prevented the average purchaser of the game from enjoying the original image because its no longer being used as a direct result of your (and of others like you) actions.”

            So… the game has been ruined because a specific image (which still exists, and is still easily accessed) wasn’t used in a specific ad for the game? I don’t think you really believe that.

            “If the law permits it, who are we to tell an artist what he can and cannot do with an image?”

            The only person who told the artist what he could or could not do was his employer. Everyone else was just expressing their opinion. And who are we to do that? The same people as the artist – people with the right to self-expression. Literally no one has been oppressed here (unless you count the basic low-level oppression of having to work for a wage, but feminism didn’t invent that)

            “I completely understand the desire to sanitise gaming of the pervasive low level (and sometimes overt) sexism that is often inherent in both the mechanics and graphics of games. However my point is I think its possible to take that too far, and I think this is a perfect example of taking it too far.

            There has to be a better way than this.”

            A better way than people asking for change, pointing out examples of where that change is still needed, getting that change, and then giving positive reinforcement (in the form of greater sales) to the people who made the change? There is literally no more polite or civilized way to change things, unless you think silent prayer’s somehow a strategic option.

            There is no route to social change that doesn’t involve some people getting their feelings hurt time to time. The only question is whether it’s a reasonable amount, for a reasonable goal. One man’s brief annoyance weighed against hundreds of thousands of gamers – men and women both – feeling more invited to buy one of the greatest RPGs in years, and women feeling a bit less unwelcome in one of human society’s major cultural pursuits… I don’t know, doesn’t take me too long to do the math.

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            Continuity says:

            “it’s that it objectified a woman for no reason.”

            This image does not objectify women period. By your reasoning any slightly sexualised image of a woman is objectification. No. An image of a woman can be sexual and not be in any way objectifying.

            “So… the game has been ruined because a specific image (which still exists, and is still easily accessed) wasn’t used in a specific ad for the game? I don’t think you really believe that.”

            I don’t believe (even in the slightest degree) it and I didn’t say it, don’t put words in my mouth.

            “A better way than people asking for change, pointing out examples of where that change is still needed…”

            You’re missing the point, which is that change was not needed, this was an entirely unjustified overreaction. I think its sad that the image was changed, not because the image was particularly valuable or important but just simply because of the fact that Larian was forced into this for no good reason.
            The problem, clearly, is that many people like yourself cannot differentiate between the sexual objectification of women and mild sexualisation of women

          • Urthman says:

            It’s really very simple. If the artist is going to take the attitude of, “I’m drawing this for people who want boobs and if you don’t like it then fuck off because it’s not for you,” then he doesn’t get to be a crybaby when people say, “Okay then, fuck off I’m not buying your game.”

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “the fact that Larian was forced into this for no good reason.”

            “Forced?” I think we can throw that one on the hyperbole pile along with “censorship.” They weren’t forced. There was literally no force applied, literally no way to apply force, and literally no repercussions other than potentially lost sales or goodwill, which the company chose to take into consideration. This is the market operating as it’s (ideally) supposed to: financial pressure taking away the temptation for actual conflict.

            They could have also gambled on going with the original artwork. They might not have lost sale, or even picked some up. Either way, they would have kept their health and their livelihoods. They chose to listen to people who would prefer it if the imagery generated by their hobby reflects the leading edge of contemporary mores. Whether they did it for ethical reasons or just financial ones doesn’t matter. It’s still a Good Thing. The only reason this melodrama keeps popping up is because we still aren’t accustomed to men having to accommodate ideas of gender equity, so some artist dude getting anything less than absolute total freedom is seen as significant- more significant than hundreds of thousands of women (and to a lesser extent men) having to accommodate gender inequity, because that’s normal, and so not usually worth comment.

            “The problem, clearly, is that many people like yourself cannot differentiate between the sexual objectification of women and mild sexualisation of women”

            I don’t know why you keep hammering away at this. It’s not true. And sometimes, sexualization is objectification, when used in an otherwise completely non-sexual context. When a woman, expected to be very much the combat equal of a male counterpart, is nonetheless shown in non-functional armour, that says “Her titillating male consumers is more important than being believable within our own story.” (It also says “Straight men’s needs are more important than anyone else’s.”) At that point, she becomes an object rather than an actual character. Not because of sex, but because of context. It shows disrespect to female gamers, but also to male gamers (and anyone else attracted to women, by assuming that given the choice they will always take soft porn over anything else), and to the artists’ own work (by saying that offering sexualized imagery takes precedence over building a consistent and believable world).

            You don’t agree, and ultimately I guess I don’t really care enough to try and keep convincing you. I’m not even sure why this is an argument. It’s not like there’s less T&A in the world, or like there ever will be. So go right ahead and get upset by the idea that games are going to get better and better while also being more and more welcoming, because that’s… bad, somehow. But please stop saying it’s happening by “force” or “censorship,” when it’s really just happening through evolving social expectations, spread by networks designed to facilitate free expression.

        • Adam Smith says:

          I was one of the femi-nazis who criticised that artwork. There’s plenty of choice in terms of appearance for both characters, so choosing the bikini armour as the first impression didn’t sit right at all. The new version looks loads better, I reckon. Love the colouring as well.

          The characters pictured toward the end of the article, Loffy and Raine, are my knight and my sister’s ranger. That’s him at his most sensible. The customisation doesn’t allow anywhere near the same variety but the silliness of the world in the finished game has created something more like Saints Row than your standard fantasy dress-up sim. I spent half the game running around with a pumpkin on my head trying my best to look like a squash-bothering Grim Reaper.

          • LordCrash says:

            It was just an ARTWORK. Jesus…

            It’s like people these days have to complain about everything. I don’t get it.

          • Raztaman says:

            I don’t think it’s worth wasting your valuable time trying to convince ignorant people that using a near topless woman as a first impression to draw people in sends a bad message. It’s essentially using sex to sell games and it’s almost always the females who are sexualised due to the larger young male market of gamers, and people will not understand the offense it causes until they actually try to put themselves in another’s shoes.

            If people can’t understand it at all then they clearly have some ‘evolving’ to do or at least catch up on their empathy skills.

            EDIT: Very well written article there, Adam.

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            SuddenSight says:

            Thanks for the update Alec. I was also put off by the early artwork, glad the full game has sensible options.

            To those protesting the discussion: this is a space specifically set aside for critiquing the game. The discussion would go smoother if it’s very existence did not require constant justification.

            And it ends well! I have a much more positive view of the game thanks to this point being raised and addressed. Too bad I had planned on not spending money…

          • Vinraith says:

            The additional detail is much appreciated, Adam. Sounds great!

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            Continuity says:

            “femi-nazisism” aside, you have to admit the artwork is leaps and bounds forward from previous titles like divine divinity (though I’m not going to lie, the box art probably influenced my impulse buy of that game).

            Personally I have no problem with sexualised images in game marketing, because if nothing else there isn’t much else in the way of entertainment media that doesn’t pull the same trick. Sure its a little tacky but at the end of the day a large part of the demographic is teenage boys and men who have nostalgia for games they played as teenage boys.

            Perhaps in another 10 years there will be similar progress, have to wait and see I guess.

          • taristo says:

            You sure did: http://i.imgur.com/aRchQyd.jpg

            Notice how even Swen didn’t think there was a problem with it and they only changed it because “too much negative energy spent on this for no good reason”.

            I hope you’re fucking happy that you forced a very talented artist to change his work by going through his boss, by the way you can read about his opinion of what he thinks about this change and the threats they received (You usually love writing about threats, don’t you? But nobody has written about them in this case.) over here: http://orogion.deviantart.com/journal/Save-the-Boob-plate-380891149

          • taristo says:

            This for a game whose first cover looked and the latest two games included characters and art like this: http://imgur.com/a/FTzy6

            You should be fucking commended for your service to humanity, by pissing off an artist and many long-term players of this franchise and getting the cover art of a game changed, you forced a studio and several men that had a thing called integrity and creative vision to kowtow to your bullshit political agenda to feed your ego. You’ve managed to improve art like all those religious people and Victorian era officials before you decades ago: http://www.lar.net/2013/02/28/self-censorship/

            “It also doesn’t help that our lead animator decided that on this particular game he was going to show the world what he thinks of censorship. He made the most obvious sexist camera shot ever for the introduction of the dwarven princess to the dragon knight, and then queried me whether I thought it was over the top, and whether or not such an expression of artistic freedom belonged in a game. As I was debating the issue openly I somehow managed to get half Larian around me, who vigorously let me know that censorship is a thing of the devil and what they thought about their right to aim a camera at a dwarven princess’ breasts.

            I let them cook a bit by playing the devil’s advocate, but let it in because a) I’m no big fan of censorship, b) I’m no fan of enforced politically correctness because it gives media too much power to shape opinion and c) I thought there was something symbolical about this particular shot being such a discussion generator just because it was visual. I think there is much more controversial stuff than this in the way the councillors formulate their opnions , but apparently the fact that that’s just words doesn’t provoke the same emotions.”

          • Vinraith says:

            @taristo

            You realize you’re just making Larian (or at least their art department) look like douchebags here and probably costing them sales, right?

          • taristo says:

            At some point in your lives you will hopefully get the dawning realization that you are the douchebags by trying to enforce your “only true” ideological point of view on everyone else in the world through the means of pressure regardless of geographical location, circumstance, intention, context or personal opinion purely for the sake of making yourselves feel better.

            It’s just sad that it usually takes decades for this kind of populist idiocy to dissipate (see Comics Code Authority or Motion Picture Production Code, which seems to be almost exactly what some people are asking for with regards to video games, a few anachronistic differences and pecularities aside).

          • toxic avenger says:

            @LordCrash

            You are right: It is just artwork. Why are you offering so much resistance, then?

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Taristo, this isn’t about sex, it’s about sexism.

            Funny how it’s so often the anti-”censorship” people who go ballistic when people start talking about things they don’t want to talk about.

          • taristo says:

            Maybe you should tell that to the artist that had to change that artwork despite not wanting to and was pissed enough about it to write that Blog and still seems pissed enough about it to respond to most people.

            Or Swen Vincke that wrote that Blog entry about self-censorship in regards to Dragon Commander.

            Repeating your talking point about something “not being about this, but that” (despite everyone with a few working brain cells being able to tell what this is about) like a broken record doesn’t make you right.

            It’s especially fascinating that in this case at least two of the people involved (one of them the very guy that did said drawing) have stated exactly what it is and you still argue it’s not, since the go-to line in such a case is usually that they “took on friendly feedback” and “wanted to do it all along, but needed to be guided to said decision” with said involved artists/writers etc. not really allowed a voice.

          • equatorian says:

            So basically, the artist was saying ‘I have the right to be an asshole, and to deny me that right to be an asshole in works is censorship.’

            It’s just that people were going ‘if you want to be an asshole, that’s your call, but it’s also our call to tell your boss that you’re an asshole and we don’t like assholes’.

            And it was their bosses’ call to judge whether supporting the integrity of assholery is worth it. That’s pretty much how all customer complaints work. Is it censorship? Maybe. It certainly can be. Is it caving to tribalism pressure? Maybe. Certainly can be that too. Is it realizing that they made a mistake and wanting to correct it and be a decent person? Maybe it’s that, too. The artist is pissed off. Maybe somebody else in there wasn’t.

            It just happens that THIS type of assholery is something you see nothing wrong with, that’s all. Other people do. Other people may also see nothing wrong at all with the assholery that you consider to be an atrocity—-and honestly, if I have to put ‘censoring an artist’s vision’ against ‘exploitative behaviour that propagates an ideology that causes real-life harm to 50% of the world’s population”, I would choose to put the artist’s vision on the bus every time, as much as I hate censorship otherwise.

            Also, to compare it to Victorian society or the Comics Code is laughable. Those are about ‘protection, sanitation’. This is about ‘calling out exploitation, creating respect’. Totally different beasts, even if the result may look the same to you (i.e., people in less-than-revealing clothing). They’re really different, though.

          • rustybroomhandle says:

            Femi-nazi reporting for duty, sir!

          • taristo says:

            Having a specific art style or paying homage to the female form, as has been done by painters, sculptors and photographers for eons and as is taught in art school to represent the epitome of aesthetic beauty by also spending a lot of time drawing naked people in figure drawing class makes one an “asshole” now, and you even used it 8 times for extra *emphasis* just to make sure that everyone gets it?: http://orogion.deviantart.com/gallery/

            Boy there sure are a lot of asshole painters and sculptors from ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance up to today…

            It also just bears pointing out again that his boss didn’t think there was any “assholery” either, he just didn’t want to deal with the excessive backlash and threats they received over something that was rather minor.

            AND it apparently *effectively* harms people, 50% of the worlds population no less. It’s almost something like mass genocide then, would you even go as far as to say that it turns people into evil rapists like Fox News once put it?
            http://www.complex.com/video-games/2013/08/dragons-crown-is-out-and-no-women-were-harmed

            Also, it absolutely has to do with those things, I love it how Mr. Bradbury put it for his novel Fahrenheit 451:

            “About two years ago, a letter arrived from a solemn young Vassar lady telling me how much she enjoyed my experiment in space mythology, The Martian Chronicles.

            But, she added, wouldn’t it be a good idea, this late in time, to rewrite the book inserting more women’s characters and roles?

            A few years before that I got a certain amount of mail concerning the same Martian book complaining that the blacks in the book were Uncle Toms and why didn’t I “do them over”?

            Along about then came a note from a Southern white suggesting that I was prejudiced in favor of the blacks and the entire story should be dropped.

            Two weeks ago my mountain of mail delivered forth a pipsqueak mouse of a letter from a well-known publishing house that wanted to reprint my story “The Fog Horn” in a high school reader.

            In my story, I had described a lighthouse as having, late at night, an illumination coming from it that was a “God light.” Looking up at it from the viewpoint of any sea-creature one would have felt that one was in “the Presence.”

            The editors had deleted “God-Light” and “in the Presence.”

            [...]

            The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feel it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.

            Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by the minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from the book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the library closed forever.

            [...]

            For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmild teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intellectuals wish to re-cut my “Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” so it shapes “Zoot,” may the belt unravel and the pants fall.”

            By the way, the founded in 1920 American Civil Liberties Union definition of censorship:

            “Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.”

          • Premium User Badge

            Hammer says:

            Taristo, artistic freedom doesn’t exist in commercial environments. Artistic design is driven by what will sell and the vision of the producers. Do you honestly think that graphic designers working for Coke or MacDonalds are driven by their true artistic vision? No, they are driven by sales.

            Video game designers and artists have historical had more freedom because videogaming was a niche. Now its not. Now they have to bend to what will drive sales and make the game noticed. One of the major drivers that has been discovered is that women like games (shock horror) and like characters which they gain fulfilment from (y’know, in the same way that male gamers do).

            No-one is stopped artists from making the art they want to make if they want to go off and do it. There is no censorship board saying you can’t have that in your picture that you put on Deviantart or in a gallery and there never will be – this isn’t a moral panic, in fact it’s about respect not morals. But if an artist works for a commercial company, they have to expect restrictions on their output for commercial reasons. And that makes sense, because if you don’t have restrictions, well the company time spent designing concept art of spaceships for a medieval fantasy game is money down the drain.

          • Premium User Badge

            Hammer says:

            And don’t drag the ACLU into the debate. They support representation of women, ethnic groups and minorities in the media. As exemplified as their campaign for a gay wedding as part of Modern Family: https://www.aclu.org/secure/modern-family-wedding?ms=vanity_130515_lgbt_modernfamily

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Maybe if that artist wishes to stand up for his intellectual integrity, he should stop accepting a regular paycheck for his work and draw exactly what he wants, boob plate and all…. Oh, that’s right, he can’t make a living like that, so he trades his integrity for security

          • Muzman says:

            Yes we’re heading for 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 or some presbyterian dystopia where sex is banned because comic style and fantasy artists don’t feel quite as free to be exactly as spectacularly unimaginative as they want to be and have been for forty-odd years in their dressing of female characters…

            Yes we’re on the precipice to the slippery slope that leads to the downward spiral to our cultural doom.
            The evidence is all around us, particularly in the frank sexuality of Game of Thrones, Spartacus Blood and Sand, Black Sails and all those series that came before them. Yes we’re a lot of fucking prudes now.

            Do get some perspective “art lovers”.

          • taristo says:

            Artistic freedom does usually exist at Larian as can be seen within most of their past products, that weren’t exactly mass appeal titles and in their Blogs regarding how they came to one design decision or another. I’m not sure why you are comparing them with McDonalds.

            And don’t drag the ACLU into the debate. They support representation of women, ethnic groups and minorities in the media. As exemplified as their campaign for a gay wedding as part of Modern Family.

            Yes, and they also fight for other liberties, this one included, I’m not sure how forcing censorship on creators has anything to do with a gay wedding, but I guess somewhere in your mind one couldn’t possibly support the one while condemning the other, maybe cognitive dissonance? https://www.aclu.org/free-speech/what-censorship

            The evidence is all around us, particularly in the frank sexuality of Game of Thrones, Spartacus Blood and Sand, Black Sails and all those series that came before them. Yes we’re a lot of fucking prudes now.

            This has nothing to do with TV series, since there isn’t a big grand outrage that everyone that writes about them can participate in when a new series comes out and dares to feature bare breasts or doesn’t have a lead female actor in it. These are already considered art and given a lot more freedom from most sides, and they would hardly listen to a few people going on how they are the destruction of the entire TV medium because they dared to do this or that. It’s decidedly about games where this happens on an almost daily basis now.

          • Muzman says:

            Well if you’re going to call that the sky is falling you could at least do a good job of it.
            Yes it is about games and you might wonder why, although I expect the answer will disappoint. Why in essence don’t TV shows attract the same sorts of ire? Because the characters are good (or at least allow for broad tastes) and the options are many. That’s why games cop the most stick. They have generally, and often specifically, ignored the female audience for quite a while and done a generally shit job in the areas that other media have become quite good at. With or without boobs and other flesh parts.
            Raise the standards of imagination and quality of the work and this whole situation shifts. Mark my words.

            You might think its unfairly applied in this case and it may well be. There’s a lot of collateral damage in these sorts of tussles. But the thing is the set of artistic freedom does contain the freedom to be trite and unimaginative, that is true. But it’s not really a mast you want to nail your colours to. They don’t call it a creative field for nothing.
            And its certainly not any sort of evidence of a return to sexual conservatism in art, game or otherwise.
            I put little stock in the terrors of artists and designers. Particularly ones like this. I’ve known enough of them that are overdramatic, full of self importance at the world changing implications of their works in copying Frank Frazetta and numerous others. Hey, copying’s part of the deal. So is obsessive passion. I get it. But if the tremendous cost here is artists and designers are forced to do a better job to the cost of their precious default tendencies, I’m going to have trouble seeing the disaster on our horizon.

          • taristo says:

            Consider it a “sky is falling” for video games then, because most other mediums including books, TV, movies and comics have already gone through their unfortunate period of popular outrage and censorship in the past and have emerged out of them quite some time ago. Most people in those industries seem to largely realize that not everyone has the same opinions or likes and dislikes and specific works don’t have to cater or be for everyone, that artists and directors have their own way of doing things that not everyone has to agree with and they don’t have to rely and consult on some sort of moral code of what is “proper” to put in their works. If you actually valued video games as an “art form” you would let the designers do their work unimpeded. Your opinion of something being “unimaginative and trite” isn’t everyone’s.

            Regarding ignoring the female audience, if they did this then how do you explain the often cited “48% of gamers are female” number? You can’t really have it both ways.

            And it’s not like the censors and inquisitors, who looking back in history in the end have always lost have ever emerged out of it being solemnized and celebrated for their contributions of censoring or successfully forbidding certain kinds of art, media or speech, whatever or however “debauched” it might have been.

            Another problem is that at the moment all of this “criticism” is an insidious echo-chamber of indignation and double standards as discussed here without presenting any other valid side of the argument and talking down to people from the top: http://cheshirecatstudios.com/messiah-professional-victimhood-yellow-gaming-journalism/

            There is a big number of fallacies involved in maintaining such a world view and it comes up in any number of scenarios, fortunately it usually isn’t too long-lasting as it is very hard to keep up for extended periods of time.

            For one presuming that one’s value judgment towers above everyone else’s.

            For two presuming that one’s unique and superior value judgment gives one the authority to judge what other people do, as such if you don’t approve of something you don’t approve of other people doing or enjoying said things.

            For three the presumption that one knows how “bad thing” will influence other people that don’t have the privilege of one’s superior value judgment, confusing cause and effect and overestimating one’s own ability to discern cause and effect on others.

          • MisterFurious says:

            LordCrash says:

            “It was just an ARTWORK. Jesus…

            It’s like people these days have to complain about everything. I don’t get it.”

            You don’t get it because you’re a fucking moron. The fact of the matter is that 90% of the women in video games and comics are strutting around in bikinis even when they’re supposed to be warriors. What kind of protection does a chainmail bikini provide to a woman in battle? None. So, why do they wear it? Because juvenile cretins like you see ‘booobs!’ and buy the game. Look at the character designs for almost every game out there. The male warriors are fully armored, the male casters are fully robed, the females, no matter what class, are almost always in a bikini even if the game is set in the frozen North, the girls are always in a bikini. A lot of women find this offensive. Even if you’re not a woman, if you have two brain cells to rub together (which you clearly do not), it’s just moronic that the females always wear bikinis no matter the climate or their fighting style. It’s stupid and offensive and everyone that complains about it has every right to. You’re just one of those moronic bigots that think nothing is racist unless it’s about YOUR race and it’s not sexist unless it’s about YOUR gender and it’s not nationalist unless it’s about YOUR nation and anyone else that complains when it’s THEIR race/gender/nation is insulted is just a whiny baby that should shut up.

          • Coops07 says:

            I’ve got it, just make everyone completely naked. Problem solved. mmmmmm….

          • Ny24 says:

            You can’t argue with people who write things like “Fact is, there is a strong lobby going on out there which is holding a very aggressive campaign for women in the games industry.”. Wow. And people actually read that and think “hmm. that’s clever.”. Come on, humanity, you can do better than that.

        • aldo_14 says:

          I’ve found that people who use the term ‘femi-nazis’ very rarely have a point worth listening to.

          • killias2 says:

            “I’ve found that people who use the term ‘femi-nazis’ very rarely have a point worth listening to.”

            Can we like.. post this to the front of the internet?

        • Shooop says:

          Useful information. Shame it’s being delivered by a complete twat.

          • Adam Smith says:

            This is a reply to Taristo but bumped here due to nested comments. Other people might be interested as well though, so maybe it’s ok for it to be here!

            Also, Taristo may not be arguing in good faith but even though we’re on the internet, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

            I don’t think that the outfit on the poster should be removed from the game, nor do I find it offensive or demeaning. I think, in this particular game, allowing people the choice to dress their characters in a way that seems practical, or in a way that they find charming, amusing, sexy, convincing or whatever else, is a good thing. It’s great that I can play as a battlemage who runs around in his/her underwear because, damn it, that’s what makes him/her feel good. It’s great that I can be a saucy rogue.

            The issue here was never about removing options from the game or forcing everybody to cover up lest someone faint. The issue was with a piece of artwork that is most peoples’ first impression of the game providing a tired and dull representation of the two characters, based on clothing and gender. To anyone who doesn’t know anything more about the game, it’s liable to be interpreted as – ‘this is yet another game in which men wear sensible armour and women don’t.’ That’s tiresome, to me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to strip either or both of the characters down in-game if that tickles my fancy. One of the reasons the new artwork is an improvement is because it shows them on equal footing, which is true in the game. It’s a better description of how things work in the game it’s part of.

            Some people seem to think that wanting some sensible armour is also prudish somehow. This might shock you, but some people might find the new artwork sexier! It’s not about eliminating attractiveness and this is where I think I might be arguing against a wall of bad faith. The artwork bothered me not because it was sexy – it absolutely fails to be for me – it bothered me because it makes the game seem less imaginative and might suggest that female characters were trophy objects, incapable of dressing sensibly in combat and/or *less* customisable/useful/respected than their male counterparts.That’s not the case in the game so at best it wasn’t sensible to communicate that to people.

            tl;dr

            options are good, sexy options are great (but different people have different ideas of sexy and it ain’t all about ‘more flesh’!) and implying any of your main characters are eye candy or inherently inferior to their partners is a silly thing to do during first impressions.

          • Premium User Badge

            Continuity says:

            “GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Taristo, this isn’t about sex, it’s about sexism.

            Funny how it’s so often the anti-”censorship” people who go ballistic when people start talking about things they don’t want to talk about.”

            Don’t conflate the two things, the motivating desire here may well be about sexism but the outcome that’s being objected to is a censoring effect on mildly sexy or sexualised images.
            Personally I have no objection what so ever about genuine and practical progress being made on the sexism question re video games, hell i’m one of the original “tropes vs women” kickstarter backers.

            This original art isn’t making the women a sex object, its just mildly sexy.

          • derbefrier says:

            @Adam Smith

            fair enough but yours is only but on of many possible interpretations of this picture what you see may not be what others see and we all draw our own conclusions. I think what taristo ‘s issue here and mine is the way some people describe their interpretation as the absolute truth that there is no other way to see it, and if the way they see it is deemed bad it must be changed. Thats the thing about art its open to interpretation there is no absolute. What you see as a generic unimaginative over sexualization of a women character can be something else to another person. This is something that many of you fail to grasp and it even shows in your reply. You go into game mechanics and choices about appearance but thats not what this is about at all . that just you attempting to grasp at some sort of middle ground to appear to be neutral or to perhaps even convince yourself you are when you are really not. This isnt about in game customization, it never has been its about an artist drawing a picture of a girl that some deem as being to sexy. ITs that smoking gun certain people are always on the lookout for regardless of context or intentions. taristo brings up some good points and i am not gonna sit here and tell people how they should think I realize that’s futile but i do ask that some of you more militant types reflect a little and ask yourselves if its possible to go to far that maybe just maybe if would benefit everyone if you would back off on the things that are mostly unimportant such as a piece of cover art. I leave with a quote from a song that springs to mind when ever I see people so rigidly cling to their ideologies.

            “Your an archetype, they can pin to the wall when you cling to your convictions like a farm animal in its stall. never thinking of the bigger world outside, as they take you for a ride. Its a dangerous shift a conscientious slip. The spirit of resistance you gotta hold your grip. less the state of your resolve makes you quickly devolve into a fundamentalist. “

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            There are all sorts of things that are really great that still probably shouldn’t be prominently featured everywhere: Single malt whiskey, thrash metal, me having loud nasty sex, pictures of sexy ladies. Among others. We live in a society. Its privileges come with the responsibility to occasionally consider others’ needs.

            Should society always privilege, over everything else, a bloke’s right to more material for his wank bank? Should some artist’s desire to always draw things that turn him on while he’s at work trump my daughters’ rights to feel welcome in game culture? Or are there, maybe, sometimes, going to be situations where access to soft porn isn’t the most important thing to ensure?

      • senae says:

        I can confirm that this was the image on the steam store, at least at first. I noticed because her armour design was completely different in every other version of that pic I’d seen.

        Or just assume someone went to the trouble of faking the “What’s new” screen on steam, that’s more likely than an intern using out of date images.

      • Ivory Samoan says:

        There was no ‘problem’ in the first place.

        That’s the problem.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Internet Debate Fail 2437: Your failure to recognise a problem does not mean there isn’t a problem.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            Internet Debate Fail 2438: (Aimed at both of you) the existence or non-existence of ‘problems’ is not an objective fact, as the word ‘problem’ itself connotes negativity, which is an inherently subjective concept when applied to non-numerical values.

          • The Random One says:

            Hmm, nope, just checked and Internet Debate Fail 2438 is: The fact that a group fails to see a problem where another group doesn’t may, itself, be a problem. You must still be using the 2004 list.

    • shadybearfaced says:

      By “recently” do you mean like a year ago?

      • senae says:

        Nah it was the other day, actually. Someone at steam used the wrong image. I guess they fixed it.

    • cdx00 says:

      I was sincerely hoping you were joking, but you’re not. You’re one of ‘them’. More of a wonderful game for us and less for you.

      • Urthman says:

        Actually RPS is one of the few places where *you* are one of ‘them’ which is why guys like you freak out so much when they see the people who are usually ignored and insulted being listened to and respected. Surely you can get all the boobs you want at every other video game site.

    • Astroman says:

      What’s even worse is the deluxe edition lets you play as this:(nsfw): http://i.imgur.com/W6hSbRv.jpg

      Where has the matriarchy taken his self respect?

      • Raztaman says:

        You do realise that’s the character without armour? Honestly, you’re better off spending your time trying to squeeze intelligence out of your skull; harder than getting blood from a rock and it’ll save us the pain of re-educating you.

        EDIT: Please for heaven’s sake tell me you’re joking or being sarcastic.

        • WrenBoy says:

          The game is currently being downloaded to my machine. Im gonna end up mildly disappointed if characters are not allowed play without armor as you seem to be saying.

          • thebigJ_A says:

            You can play without armor. There’s even several options for underwear (both male and female).

          • WrenBoy says:

            Having played it for a few hours now I gotta say that, underwear aside, its pretty slick. Whoever at Larian made the call to spend time on polish instead of NPC schedules made a great call.

    • Raztaman says:

      Are you gonna make me pay the tr0ll toll now?

    • Piecewise says:

      You seem very easily offended. In fact, you marked a steam ad and a comic with no nudity or swearing as NSFW.

      http://www.plasticbrickautomaton.com/comics/99.jpg

    • Premium User Badge

      golem09 says:

      Honestly, the armor of the guy puts me off a lot more. Is that supposed to be a trained fighter? Why would he put on elements that weigh like a ton and have no purpose whatsoever? Is he a narcisist, or does he just want to die?
      Why would I want to roleplay as a cartoony idiot?

      • DanMan says:

        Come on people! It’s a fantasy game, right? RIGHT?!?!

        • waltC says:

          Thank You. I was about to say the same thing. Sad to see people get so upset over something that isn’t real. “Fantasy game”–”not real.” Someday they’ll grow up and understand…;)

        • Arglebargle says:

          This is a common issue: It’s just fantasy, some say. Fantasy that is not grounded in a world with real rules is just god-mode and wish fulfillment.

          Using the ‘fantasy’ excuse is usually just a lazy trick. Unless there’s some reason that the armor can be huge without weighing too much, or the bikini is somehow a better defense than a suit of chainmail, then they detract from the experiance. Certain over the top, more humorous games can get away with certain riffs on the motif (Say, Saints Row). But if you are setting up something to represent a believable world, it helps if it’s sorta like a believable world.

          • waltC says:

            Yes, because it is well-known that magic, dwarves, elves and orcs, are also “grounded in reality.” Heh…;) A fantasy is a fantasy, from top to bottom. It’s fiction–make believe–not real. You can’t separate elements in a fantasy and say “this” is real but “that” isn’t. None of it is real, whether the armor looks “realistic” or not is a ridiculous observation since *nothing in the game* is meant to be real, or to reflect the reality we live in. OK, the complaint is a fictional female in the game isn’t wearing enough armor; OK, the complaint is that the armor the male is wearing couldn’t be supported by a diesel crane, let alone a normal human body. OK, so what?

            Q: Why is fantasy such a popular medium?

            A: Because it removes us from the real world none of us at times likes a whole lot, but which we have to endure, anyway.

            People with small imaginations should not indulge in fantasy games, because they are oft to be disillusioned and disappointed, because they will keep trying to make the game real. But it isn’t. And it never will be. And for that I am grateful.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            @WaltC

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verisimilitude_(literature)

            Besides, magic, dwarves, elves, etc may not be grounded in reality per se, but they are grounded in mythology, and in historical tales and a canon of fantasy stories with which the audience will be somewhat familiar. Subverting or altering all of that is fine, but if you have any idea how real-world things like armour work it really takes you out of the experience. Besides, how hard can it be to design a working suit of armour? five seconds on google images and a brief chat with a real-life blacksmith and you’ll be good to go, it’s just lazy to design rubbish and just say “lol it’s fantasy”

    • Penguin_Factory says:

      I also remember seeing that image recently, but now I can’t for the life of me remember where.

      Anyway, it won’t put me off buying the game but it did bother me. I hate that sexualizing women in SFF art and character design has become so much the norm over the years that it’s like artists aren’t even aware they’re doing it; an automatic pathway has just been set up in their brain that says “women = boobs and exposed midriffs”. I’m glad people complained about it.

    • andromedius says:

      I’m all for female/male equal rights and respectful depiction of each gender, but this is a little bit too extreme.

    • Raztaman says:

      While I disagree with the thought that Larian has any kind of sexism going on in their games I did actually notice the orc female model is VERY exposed in comparison to the male… You could draw that down to a tribal like culture and their more primitive ideas of gender being part of the game and lore but yes, it did catch my attention to say the least.

    • steviebops says:

      If the OP hasn’t returned by now, it’s almost certainly a troll.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Funny, if this were Ubisoft game, everybody would jump the hate-train.

      Chooo Chooooooo.

      • Emeraude says:

        Amusingly, seeing that comment in the side bar, I almost expected it to go in my own sub-thread down there.

        Had forgotten about the recent Ubi “It’s too costly to make female protagonists” tempest.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Don’t forget about “Ubisoft is new Hitler for using female hostage in preview”.

          • The Random One says:

            Surely that’s because people have an irrational hatred of Ubisoft, and not because people are intelligent creatures who might think one thing about situation A and another thing about situation B, even though those two situations might appear very similar to someone who is uninvested and uninterested in either.

    • Geebs says:

      M-M-M-M-MULTITROLL

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I already Kickstarted this over a year ago, so you’re too late to influence my purchase either way! :D

    • thenile says:

      The image of Steam is the old image, Larian changed the art because people pointed our the gendering of the armour. I was disappointed with the female portraits and face options (and heels), but really it’s not that bad besides that (although I would have preferred another female voice – the rogue and warrior are clearly the same person). I did notice in-game there are some lines the NPCs say where they assume you’re male (for instance the female in the marketplace who hates males).

      There are a plethora of significant issues such as the Scarlett/Roderick AI not working in dialogue with companion, not being able to fill bucket of water in a stream, many NPCs having a line which should change after second interaction, but doesn’t – for instance “I have dark magic to report!” – and many have the same lines just chosen at random along with the same replies, meaning your interaction was pointless which makes the NPCs just feel like fillers. I’m still in the Cyseal area but so far it’s been disappointing outside of combat, crafting, gear and stats.

    • Tasloi says:

      Hopefully next time they won’t resort to self-censorship of what are ultimately perfectly acceptable artistic depictions. Don’t get taken in by the extremely vocal yet small minority of ideologues and their game journalist enablers.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Shut up everyone. Why don’t you direct your ire at something like this instead: http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/313740/ss_6ef837763f5c74a6fa07c43e6415358c2b2528d6.1920×1080.jpg

    • dmoe says:

      That hit and run post.

    • Nevard says:

      That ad really turned me off as well. I am very glad you posted this comment, or I would not have learned that Steam put it up in error and they had an updated, less sexist version.

      • SophiaButler says:

        Yeah, glad someone told me it waz an outdated and fixed issue. Thankz :o

        Also, all thoze people agreeing makez me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, thankz =w= <3

  2. Pich says:

    I love Larian games.
    The problem is that i’m complete crap at them

  3. Prolar Bear says:

    Very well written article.
    Mmm, meat.

  4. NotToBeLiked says:

    As most of Larian’s games: very good ideas, but lacking a lot in execution.
    The game is plagued with bugs. Combine that with a pretty high default difficulty and it just becomes annoying to play. Abilities fail to work almost every other round (starting the cooldown on the skill, reducing AP but not actually doing anything), pahtinding is horrible, very high reliance on RNG (you can go through the entire game without finding any usefull loot, when unlucky enemies just get a crit streak killing half your party before you even get a turn, missing 3 times in a row with 80%+ hit chance is common,…), saves get corrupt or return you to a state where everything is stuck,… Add to that that the animations are very slow/elaborate and can’t be sped up and you’ll be wasting far too much time.

    I’d either recommend waiting till they implement a whole bunch of bugfixes or for a big sale. Because the world is great & funny, and the combat is great when everything works.

    • LordCrash says:

      The game is not plagued by bugs. I’ve played it for more than 120 hours and haven’t encountered many. On the opposite, for an RPG of that size it’s incredibly polished.

      Only “known” major bug is a savegame problem with 32bit OS and 4GB RAM and Larian is working hard on that.

      Have you played this game the last time in beta? Ingame abilities and spells and everything work like a charm for almost everyone.

      • nrvsNRG says:

        60hrs here an NO bugs/crashes/corrupt saves whatsoever.
        Best RPG of the decade. (Not counting Dark Souls)

        • Premium User Badge

          Continuity says:

          Not counting Dark Souls presumably because Dark Souls isn’t an RPG?

          Honestly, the way some people go on you’d think Dark Souls is the alpha and omega progenitor of all genre.

          • aliksy says:

            You have some stupid definition of ‘rpg’ don’t you?

          • nrvsNRG says:

            Yes, I meant because I’m not counting Dark Souls as a true RPG (tho it is my fave game of the decade in the aRPG genre).

          • Premium User Badge

            xao says:

            Don’t be ridiculous. Dark Souls is the alpha and omega of all human endeavor.

          • Premium User Badge

            Continuity says:

            @aliksy probably, i’m not a codexer, but my views are often concurrent with theirs.

            @nrvsNRG Yeah, you can definitely classify it as an aRPG, I won’t dispute that as such, however i’d say aRPG is possibly not the best genre description as I think the defining characteristics of the game are more in line with spectacle fighters and action-adventure games… there are a ton different genre characteristics in there if you really look at it. Dark Souls is sort of niche, its almost defining its own genre.

            Look at it this way, if you take the RPG elements out of Dark Souls, would you fundamentally change the gameplay? No, because the gameplay is fundamentally about the fighting.

      • huldu says:

        Played through the game and I was a bit surprised at the amount of bugs, glitches and crashes. I had 4 game crashes, 2 game breaking bugs which forced me to RESTART the game completely(ie making new characters), – no loading would solve any of them. At least 3 bugs that forced me to reload the game because I did some things that weren’t “intended” and messed up the quests.

        A few of the issues were fixed in the patches however along the days after release so not all bad. Like I said I did complete the game and it was pretty entertaining.

        The difficulty in the game was weird, it started really hard and got so much easier after level 8 or so, I can’t remember. By the time you were around level 10-12 you facerolled everything on the screen until the end. There are clearly some very powerful class/ability combinations in the game that you can take advantage of… and of course some lacklusters. I wasn’t a fan of some of their “puzzles”, felt they just added them to extend the gameplay time as much as possible. I wish there were more companions, not those that you could hire, I mean more RPG companions. Would have loved to see something along with baldur’s gate/dragon age, ie a story when combining certain companions together and their “arguments” etc between each others throughout the game. I’m not saying dao was that great in that regard, nothing really comes close to BG in that aspect.

        I liked the idea behind the trait system but it felt like it didn’t have much thought put into it and just added for the sake of “adding” something.

        Let me just finish off by saying, to have seen baldur’s gate in that engine, that would have been something. Did anyone else beside me think of ultima when playing through the game? Some of the music just reminded me so much of ultima.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        I didn’t play the beta, because I want to experience RPGs fresh. Especially a game like this in which decisions can have very unexpected consequences I would not be able to make choices in a roleplaying manner if I knew the outcome. I’ve played 27 hours now and have encountered many bugs, so I guess some people either don’t notice them or it is just very PC-configuration dependent.
        I’ve gotten several save game bugs on a 64bit system. Both crashing during the saving process and everything being stuck when I load a save.

      • lorez says:

        120 hours? The game has been out 11 days. You’re averaging 10 hours per day of play? WTF man? This totally explains your comments on the bikini armor thread up top. You’re one of those basement dwelling virgins who hates women and wants them out of his hobby.

        Jesus, get a life.

        • NotToBeLiked says:

          It has been in early access for a while, so 120 hours would include that I imagine.

        • DarkFenix says:

          Firstly, the game has been ‘out’ in early access for a good six months. Secondly, what are you doing telling people to get a life when you’re hanging around a gaming blog behaving like a teenage douchebag?

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        Yes, because anyone who has a different experience to you is wrong.

        I didn’t experience bugs /= there are no bugs.

        • tormos says:

          but it presumably is a counterargument to “this game is unplayably buggy”, no?

    • grodit says:

      Not to mention that the game is not difficult at all on normal difficulty, once you understand the combat system and the exploiting of aligning element magic and combat traits.

      The combat works: when traits fail to perform as you expect u’r simply doing something wrong. Lacking LoS. Using fire damage in rain, using electricity in a bloodpool with your guys standing in them, etc.

      • BTAxis says:

        No, some abilities really are broken. There are a few archer skills for example that claim to fire multiple arrows in a volley, but only in fact fire one. There are also some bugs with the stats. Nothing that gets in the way of having a great time with the game though.

        • Raztaman says:

          Can you elaborate a little further? I’m playing an archer both on single player and multiplayer and I’ve not experience this at all. I’m assuming you mean the barrage ability, in which case I’ve never had trouble with it at all, other than network lag making me think I haven’t shot at all when in fact I have and caused the right amount of damage.

          • BTAxis says:

            The barrage and arrow spray abilities, yes. They claim to deal damage multiple times, but I’ve never been able to get them to fire more than one single arrow. The animation suggests there should be more, but somehow it’s not working.

          • Raztaman says:

            I cannot reply directly to your comment for some reason… Perhaps try to verify integrity of game cache? Perhaps you’re only seeing the damage come up as one number and are missing the others? I can in all honesty say I’ve had no trouble with these abilities and as a matter of fact have become some of my most powerful and useful moves in hard fights.

          • BTAxis says:

            You can’t reply because we’ve reached the deepest nesting level for the comments. And I watch the combat logs and I’ve tested it on a load of destructible objects and everything, pretty sure I’m only getting one arrow.

            As I said though I’m not terribly inconvenienced. Even without those skills my archer’s pretty badass – glass cannon combined with quickdraw means she gets about 5 normal shots off per round, and that’s serious damage as well.

          • Raztaman says:

            Dayumn! Can’t wait to get to that level of ability!

            I’m convinced now that the problem is on your end however, like I said try everything you can to rectify it such as verifying the game cache etc. I’ve had a couple of bugs here and there but nothing quite like that and it does seem like it would be a total annoyance.

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            Or you can just accept that there ARE bugs in the game that affect some people (based on PC specs, chosen abilities,….). Claiming there are no bugs just because you haven’t experience any sounds a lot like fanboyism imho…

          • mr.black says:

            Do check your update status. D-OS was recently heavily patched with exactly archer skills in patch descriptions. The devs are currently working overtime to manage all problems people are having.

          • Raztaman says:

            When exactly did I see there are no bugs? Another troll looking for a reaction it seems. Tut tut. No toll for you!

          • grodit says:

            I do get what could be glitches with the ricochet ability sometimes. That is true, but barrage works as intended. Can’t wait to level my archer to be able to quickdraw :-)

        • LordCrash says:

          Not in my game. Every archer skill works like intended for me.

      • Detocroix says:

        Only skills I’ve had issues with are the marksman skills.

        The cone arrow machinegun thing only works once in a while… nothing is on the way, animation plays normally, but it does only half-damage and once and occasionally (same distance, same kind of enemy) it does like 20x half-damage shots. I have no idea why or how.

        Same issue is with the line arrow shot thing. Occasionally it does decent damage, but most of the game it does nothing compared to common arrow attack.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        I click to do a melee attack ability (nothing that can fail or miss according to the ability tooltip). AP goes down. Ability goes into cooldown. Animation sometimes plays. Nothing else happens. If I did something wrong or some roll made me fail my attack something would have shown up in the combat log, but nothing is in there either. I fail to see how I did something wrong there….

    • drussard says:

      I actually couldn’t disagree with you more on this. Bugs are few and far between, the combat is challenging but rewarding when you win out, and the polish on the game is evident from just about the word go. The polish is so good it’s practically tangible.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Typical case of someone who needs to l2p.

      • Raztaman says:

        +1

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Yes, my lack of knowing how to play causes my saves to break and abilities not to trigger. I would love for someone as knowledgeable as you to teach me how to play so that doesn’t happen anymore.

        • Raztaman says:

          As far as I can tell, you have some pretty uniquely messed up bugs in the game, therefore the problem is on your end otherwise everybody would experience the same thing. It doesn’t require much knowledge to verify the game cache or try re-installing, and also the common courtesy of reporting the bugs to the devs so that they can look into them and possibly fix them (if they exist at all) is very welcome.

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            Unless you are an actual employee at Larian, what you can tell is just as valid as what I can tell. My bugs aren’t unique or messed up. I’ve found references to most of them on the Steam & Larian forums. I don’ know how long you have been playing games on pc, but claiming that bugs only exist if everyone experiences them is insane.

            I have enough knowledge to see these are not simple texture issues or some other problems with the game’s resources. These are actual bugs in either the engine/coding or perhaps some configuration files. That won’t be fixed by verifying game caches…

          • Raztaman says:

            Well the main time people have to verify the game cache is after downloading a patch, which steam can mess up quite commonly… That’s why even Larian has stated, after every patch you should verify the game cache to avoid such problems. Which, is common sense really.

          • Premium User Badge

            xao says:

            The bugs that everyone experiences are the bugs that hopefully never make it to QA, let alone slip past a competent tester. The weird, annoying bugs that only occur when the phases of Phobos and Deimos align and only affect one out of a thousand PC configurations? THOSE are exactly the bugs that you expect to see discovered post-release.

            That’s not to rule on the complaint’s validity, but a bugs likelihood of survival is inversely proportional to its ubiquitousness.

        • nrvsNRG says:

          Wasn’t talking about that part of your post OBVIOUSLY. i.e. “…high level of difficulty….entire game with no useful loot…Abilities fail to work almost every other round…blah blah.”
          Sounds like complete bullshit to me.

          • Raztaman says:

            Exactly my thoughts too. Either you have done some digging to find these bugs, or you’ve just read other people’s experiences and said you’ve been convinced you’ve had the same bugs too. Sounds like some sort of gaming hypochondria XD

            EDIT: My end point, I would just like to say, is that nobody can say this game is unplayable (generally) or buggy blah blah blah, based on a handful of people experiencing these game breaking bugs. Sure, they shouldn’t really be there but as we know, Larian does not have a huge budget, they raised the money through kickstarter, and they’re continuing to bring us post-release updates to fix the problems reported by the community. I don’t know about you but I reckon they’re doing damn well and to scrutinize based on a few people’s inconvenience is downright disrespectful given the circumstances with what they’ve achieved, allbeit one’s right to do so.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Let’s see.

      Haven’t noticed any bugs after playing for several days.

      The path finding has been excellent – your characters can path from one end of the map to the other with one click and will even automatically avoid ground effects and detected traps which is rare in party RPGs.

      Missing 3 times in a row with 20% miss chance isn’t all that unlikely and the game gives you tools to deal with it.

      • Raztaman says:

        You’re right about the avoidance of dangers but there are a couple of pathfinding issues, such as characters having to move outside a building and along an outside wall to reach a bookshelf which should be easily reachable inside. This game does deserve a fair discussion and not just “It’s amazing!”, “It’s buggy as hell!”. Both are far too biased as there are noticeable bugs in this game but nothing totally game breaking in my experience so far, and can be completely taken in stride when you realise Larian doesn’t have all the time and money in the world, unlike devs such as Bethesda who do, and still manage to half ass their games to the point that modders have to fix it for them.

        • Premium User Badge

          skalpadda says:

          I didn’t make any claims at perfection, just relating my own experience which is in sharp contrast to NotToBeLiked’s. Apart from that, making it sound like missing 3 times with an 80% hit chance is somehow exceptional or a flaw means he either doesn’t understand probability and dice rolls (hello RPG mechanics!) or is really scraping the barrel for things to complain about – likewise with the enemy crit streaks – and the game gives you plenty of ways to deal with RNG.

          Steam says I’ve played for 59 hours; I’m not recognising any of his complaints and while I’m certainly open to the idea that there may be issues I’ve been lucky enough to avoid, the way he complains about them makes me think it’s either extreme hyperbole or something’s wrong on his end.

          • Raztaman says:

            Indeed, that seems to be the case. Either people are going out of their way to find bugs with the impression (or actual profession) that they’re QA testing. For all of these extreme bugs to come about, somebody must be doing something wrong, or the game/its patches have not been installed correctly for whatever reason.

            And I agree, someone should’ve paid more attention to probabilities in maths….

            EDIT: I am honestly starting to think of a few possible causes for all these “bugs”:

            A. People didn’t report enough bugs in the alpha/beta and/or Larian has been depending on the public for QA testing.

            B. Patches created in order to fix other, more important problems have ended up screwing up some coding here and there, resulting in bugs re-manifesting themselves.

            C: People are making shit up based on one time bugs caused by a series of events unique to their game and their game alone, in which case it should be reported thoroughly in order to accelerate patch development.

            That’s as far as I can be bothered to think right now.

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            I’ve played enough XCOM to know that bad streaks happen more then people assume yes. But I’m quite sure either the displayed hit percentage is wrong or some there is something else influencing the chance to hit.

            A. I think there were indeed many bugs not reported, or just not many people participating in the actual Q&A part of a beta. That’s an issue when people treat Early Access games like demos and don’t bother with the participation deal. I can’t blame them because even though I could play because I kickstarted, I wanted to wait for the complete release. I assume I’m not the only one doing that as well.

            B. Bugfixes breaking other things are also very common, speaking as a software dev myself. Especially when you have only a small team and are in a rush because of yelling customers.

            C: I’m not making shit up unfortunately. I really want to love this game. That’s why I kickstarted it. But even despite the gameplay bugs that I might imagine, save games breaking (as has been reported here, on the Larian and Steam forums) and the audio doubling up when in co-op (also reported on the forums) are things that just happen…

          • grodit says:

            Well, I was around during the testing period and while true there weren’t a big heap of us, actual testers reporting bugs and gameplay issues will have been a couple of 100, some more active than others off course.

      • huldu says:

        Yeah… right, the last fight the “friendly” npc kept hitting the brazier the entire fight. The AI was just so dumb but I understand to some degree why it had to be “stupid”. Just look at some of the complains about the difficulty on various forums. Imagine the AI being smarter, it would have been impossible to play the game without using overpowered class combinations and exploiting mechanics in the game. The pets are just too overpowered in the game, I’ll leave it at that.

        • Raztaman says:

          I think the AI depends on the enemy you’re fighting in all honesty, I’ve seen plenty of enemies make good use of elemental combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of (and I’m always using them), and yes some more inexperienced friendlies can be absolutely stupid but one fight out of hundreds is nothing to complain about IMO.

          And yes I’ve seen a lot of complaints about difficulty, and I’ve had none of the same problems simply because I think things through and prepare myself before ever going anywhere. I can understand people having difficulty, but that’s exactly what happens when you’re not experienced with these kinds of games and/or think you can run into any fight an obliterate every enemy without thinking of strategy.

        • Premium User Badge

          skalpadda says:

          Where did I talk about combat AI? Did you mean to reply to someone else perhaps?

    • XhomeB says:

      Considering how much freedom the game gives you, I’d say it’s almost bug-free in its current state. Seriously, you can go nuts at times, trying out ludicrous things and 99,9% of the time things work just as you expect them to. It’s amazing, I’ve seen linear, non-cRPG games which were buggier than D:OS.

    • Maruk says:

      The game has worked extremely well for me after release. They have pushed some bugfixes, but frankly I didn’t experience any of the issues that apparently got fixed. This game is very stable and playable. You sir are merely a troll.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Yes, everyone who has another opinion or another experience must be a troll.

    • adammtlx says:

      Hmm.

      The game is plagued with bugs.

      I’ve encountered about three noticeable bugs so far in 70 hours of play. And only one of those was potentially game-breaking, and less because of Larian’s bad code and more because I was bumping the edges of exploiting a system for my own benefit.

      Abilities fail to work almost every other round (starting the cooldown on the skill, reducing AP but not actually doing anything),

      This rarely happens, and only when it’s clear you’re not going to hit your target but you fire the spell anyway.

      pahtinding is horrible,

      Haven’t had a single issue with it.

      very high reliance on RNG (you can go through the entire game without finding any usefull loot, when unlucky enemies just get a crit streak killing half your party before you even get a turn, missing 3 times in a row with 80%+ hit chance is common,…),

      You’re going to complain about RNG and somehow make it Larian’s problem? Really? Might as well complain that your PC doesn’t come with a suction cup for spontaneous computerized blowjobs.

      saves get corrupt or return you to a state where everything is stuck,…

      Never happened to me.

      Add to that that the animations are very slow/elaborate and can’t be sped up and you’ll be wasting far too much time.

      And now we’re complaining just to complain.

      Seems this game isn’t really for you. Either that or you’re just really bad at it.

    • thenile says:

      I don’t know why people keep mentioning bugs and save corruption – I’ve encountered maybe one, although there are one or two exploits (you can mine fast by switching back and forth between two characters – as simple as mining is, I’ve played enough hours in Dransik/Ashen Empires doing this to last a life-time). I’ve had one actual crash so far I think. I’m hoping this isn’t exclusive to just the first areas of the game.

  5. derbefrier says:

    Its a fantastic game I have about 12 hours in it and have only just begun to leave and really explore around the first town. I pretty much agree with everything said in the review. Its a wonderful game buy it now.

  6. mechabuddha says:

    Question about the multiplayer: is it online only, local only, or either?

    • Raztaman says:

      I believe it’s all of the above, my friend.

      • mechabuddha says:

        Thanks! Going on my wishlist for as soon as I have some extra pocket money, then.

        • Raztaman says:

          Very good decision, this game is absolutely impeccable in terms of bang for buck! The first major quest will take you literally something up to 20 hours to complete if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. I’ve never played a game for so long and not thought “Come on, just get me to the next area!”, every second is enjoyable even when you’re reloading to affirm your choices.

          By the time I’m done with this game I expect a very large chunk of my life to be wasted invested.

          EDIT: You can get it a little cheaper going halves with a friend if you didn’t realise, it’ll spread the word faster, give someone else a very enjoyable game to play, provide more funds to Larian so they can keep spending time on post-release updates, and you’ll get to have some more roleplay between your 2 main characters (without having to argue with yourself XD)

  7. XhomeB says:

    Funny that a small, super talented Belgian studio showed the industry giants how much they have yet to learn. Playing D:OS along with Age of Decadence or Underrail is eye-opening, it’s amazing how primitive “AAA” acshun-ar-pee-gees studios like Bethesda or Bioware tend to make are.
    Best cRPG in years and an instant classic. Such a shame the day/night cycle & NPC schedules didn’t make it in, we’d have a true Ultima 7 successor. Maybe in an expansion?…

    • Raztaman says:

      I completely agree with every word you just said. Maybe the day/night cycle wasn’t put in due to a lack of kickstarter funds? I don’t remember their exact goals and promises…

      • vecordae says:

        Adding a day/night cycle is easy enough. Making it meaningful requires a whole lot of work. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a funding issue.

        • Raztaman says:

          Yeah, adding a day/night cycle is one thing but creating NPC behaviours to match and also abilities which are relevant e.g. abilities to light up an area etc, as you say is a lot of work.

          Not to mention that the quest log says day 1, 2, 3, 4 etc and so this would have to be worked around very carefully to keep realism. Mind you, mentioning that, where did these days pass? There is no night time! :o

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          Day/night/moon cycles and NPC schedules and such were the one million KS goal, which they sadly did not reach.

          • Premium User Badge

            welverin says:

            They decide to go with it despite falling a little short, however a few months ago they announced they decided to not add it in favor of making what was in there better and more polished.

          • malkav11 says:

            This. They were quite clear about it being a lack of funds and it was apparently one of their most desired features so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn up in a patch at some point now that actual sales money is coming in. I have mixed feelings because I have never played an RPG where NPC schedules actually added to the experience instead of making it difficult to locate questgivers and inconvenient to sell things, etc. But I haven’t played Ultima VII and everything else in Original Sin is so goddamn good that I could see Larian pulling it off.

          • WrenBoy says:

            One of my favorite moments in gaming was looking for an NPC in Gothic 2. He wasnt in his usual spot but a minutes hunting found him round the corner of his shop taking a piss up against his own wall.

            Animals would be wandering around their territory also. Occasionally they would bump into a creature higher up the food chain and a fight would break out.

            Apart from neat touches like these there were also mechanically interesting things like the fact that you usually couldnt steal during the day as people would be in the room doing their thing. At night though they would head to bed and you creep around unseen. It was quite difficult going back to games where you could just walk around nicking everything from under peoples noses. The Elder Scrolls games tried to copy this but it felt a bit meh for some reason.

    • Detocroix says:

      Personally… day and night cycles and npc schedules only brought annoyance in Ultima 7. It was nice barging in to peoples houses and sleeping in their beds because you couldn’t find your bedroll anywhere (Iolo, thou art a swine and a bedroll thief!), but hunting for npcs and light sources was really annoying to me…

      …and made one really stupid thing to the game. Best way to find a person A was to find their house, bang their door open and close until they woke up OR hang around at local tavern and talk to everyone in town.

      Ultima 7 is still my favorite game of all time :)

    • SpacemanSpliff says:

      The Day/Night thing is really my only complaint. One of the most immersive things about U7 was the use of time not only in NPC schedules but the Moongates being tied to the games own lunar cycle, Forcing you to decide whether to spend a week in near one city or risk a treacherous journey into the unknown. They could really just do an article about U7 every day and I would read that shit.

      • Premium User Badge

        welverin says:

        Funny, I just used the Orb of the Moons to get where I wanted to go, assuming I wasn’t willing to walk there.

        Exploring being one of the things I most enjoy in cRPGs.

    • montorsi says:

      Funny that a small subset of fans of indie games can’t help but strut around insulting AAA titles at every turn, which adds literally nothing to the conversation.

      • Raztaman says:

        Here is your troll toll. We have had plenty to converse about while you sit there craving a reaction :)

      • Snow Mandalorian says:

        It demonstrates that you can have extremely compelling and immersive game mechanics without spending millions. It demonstrates that having gargantuan budgets tends to bring along with it the decision to target the lowest common denominator as your market in order to recoup those costs. Since these are just two interesting things that are added to the conversation, your point stands refuted.

    • WrenBoy says:

      I can see how someone would like Age of Decadence but it is the opposite of how Divinity OS is described here. As far as I can tell from the demo its all scripts and no systems. If you think of a solution and the developer didnt script it then it wont work.

  8. sendmark says:

    I’ve logged 60+ hours already and loved it. Actually makes me grateful for Kickstarter, years without much in the way of RPGS and now we have a resurgence.

  9. subedii says:

    Apparently it’s already sold pretty well:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-07-03-divinity-original-sin-larian-studios-fastest-selling-game-ever

    “It’s definitely the fastest-selling game we’ve ever published. The last figures I saw we were at 160,000. For us that’s pretty good. We’re definitely going to break even and hopefully we’ll make sufficient profit for our next game.”

    Also, I particularly liked this quote:

    Vincke put Divinity: Original Sin’s success down to its Steam Early Access and Kickstarter communities.

    “The feedback we received from them was worth its weight in gold,” he said. “It’s almost a co-development between us and them, because they pointed out things we were doing wrong, and encouraged us to expand on the areas we were doing right. As a result you get a group intelligence applied to a game. It’s always much better than a single person.”

    Given the outright raging that RPS was doing about how open development kills creativity in titles (because oh let’s see here, “People are idiots! We shouldn’t ever listen to people!”, “Kickstarter is making this so much worse.”, “You’re a wallet, and that’s it.”, and you should “keep your mouths shut.“, amongst other things), this just struck me as all the more funny.

    I mean given all that you would have expected the game to be at least significantly crippled. Only everywhere I’m reading about it is marking it down as one of the best RPG’s of the year so far.

    • Raztaman says:

      Can you point me in the direction of one or more of these RPS articles please?

      • subedii says:

        http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/23/the-ignorance-of-crowds-why-open-development-is-crap/

        Kickstarter is making this so much worse. This ghastly expectation backers now have that they should have some influence over the game itself: NO. NO NO NO. You’re a wallet, and that’s it. Hand over your money, accept the sheer unbridled stupidity of developers then showing all their promotional materials only to the people who already bought the game, and keep your mouths shut. If you’ve got some incredibly brilliant ideas for making a video game, then here’s an idea: go make a video game. But you don’t – you’re just going to loudly crap on about how important it is that there’s crafting. So shut it.

        And that’s just one paragraph. I do not believe I was mis-characterising it when I said it was on the “ragey” side of things.

        • Raztaman says:

          Yeah that article is a tad extreme and ragey is definitely not an understatement. But this is an article of passion, I think, brought on from the “staleness” of games on the market today. If everyone had a say in how all games were made, we’d end up with at least 4 CODs a year. It just so happens that this time, those who have helped kickstart D:OS have actually had good ideas and are probably predominantly well-versed in old school cRPGs.

          I can understand both sides of the argument but people tend to think the gaming industry is a black and white area and not a grey one…

        • HadToLogin says:

          AFAIK that article had other one day before, which was complete opposite to that quote – typica John’s “Love it, Hate it”.
          They were like one was to people who know what Early Access means, other was to “casual/kiddies/morons/however-you-want-to-call-them”.

          • subedii says:

            I can’t say I saw any such article beforehand. In fact, I was speculating in the comments that such an article was on its way, given how ridiculously sweeping and angsty this one had been. That they were deliberately playing this up in order to do a ‘compare / contrast’ later.

            But that article never came, the piece was as intended right from the start and they pretty clearly posted the message they wanted and meant to say. There sure as heck wasn’t any mincing of words in the article.

          • Premium User Badge

            skalpadda says:

            @subedii: Bear in mind that John speaks for himself first and foremost and not necessarily all of the RPS writers.

          • subedii says:

            I’m not so sure that really makes it better. None of the other RPS writers wrote a counter-piece either, and yet here we all are praising this game now?

            I think the article really irritated me because it not only castigated (and I do mean literally castigated) any of the fans who would dare to take part in such a process, but it also disparaged the entire style of development itself, one that has clearly had quite a lot of adherents in indie circles, and doesn’t (inherently if nothing else) appear to lead to the catastrophe that the article was raging on.

            I don’t think I’ve ever even taken part in such a process. I’ve kickstarted games, but largely prefer to let the devs have at it themselves. In that sense I don’t really have a horse in this race. However it’s very telling to me that were a tonne of comments on that article praising its foresightedness, and yet of all the comments I’ve seen here, none of them is remarking on how the game’s development process has so badly hamstrung it. And it’s not like there weren’t plenty of backers available to comment if it did.

            For all the rage, and even the agreement it seemed to receive, nobody seems to want to reference this game in that context. Yet I can almost guarantee you that when a real stinker of a game comes along, we’re going to be seeing talk of how it was clearly open development that killed it.

            Like Raztaman said, such things are not so clearly black and white.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            I’m not sure any of the other writers need to write such an article. It should be self-evident that not all of us agree with John’s argument there.

            John has also argued that multiplayer games are necessarily terrible. We didn’t need to refute that, either.

          • HadToLogin says:

            But thing is, John was somewhat right is that article. There’s plenty MMOs which started with something original, WoW horde came, said “it’s not WoW, screw it”, something original changed into WoW-clone, WoW horde said “it doesn’t have same among of content as game that is being updated for around 10 years, screw it”.

            If people wouldn’t want WoW-clone, would just be that “wallet”, then those MMOs might have a chance to shine.

          • subedii says:

            John has also argued that multiplayer games are necessarily terrible. We didn’t need to refute that, either.

            I can’t say I remember that article, but fair enough. I suppose I was under the general impression that such an… impassioned article was posted was because there was a general consensus on this at RPS. Which is also the reason I was expecting a counter-article as I posted above, that was the way it happened previously.

    • malkav11 says:

      I kinda figured it must be doing well. It’s been top seller on Steam pretty much since launch. This isn’t the most active period for game releases, so that’s not necessarily as major as it might seem, but it’s still pretty darn good for a game like Original Sin which is from a relatively obscure developer and belongs to a genre that the conventional wisdom for some time has suggested is niche at best. Especially considering it was Kickstarted and a lot of people, like me (and the friend I gave my second copy to), got their copies that way.

      And it couldn’t happen to a nicer game. Goddamn, Original Sin is fantastic so far.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Just so you know, it’s not that hard to get to that bestseller list. We’re talking about hundreds of copies.

        • malkav11 says:

          I have to think that being top has a little more weight than just being on it. Especially when you’re beating out things like DayZ and the current sale items.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      This one game coming out good doesn’t actually refute any of the points in that post (and most of the points in that post are NOT “crowdfunding makes bad games”. Try reading it all from the beginning again. Go slow.

      Nor does one single post count as RPS RAAAAGING against kickstarter.

      • subedii says:

        I’ve read it fine thanks.

        I never said “crowdfunding” (go slow, was it? Thanks so very much for the condescension). I also did not say they were raging about Kickstarter (though I did quote the article saying how Kickstarter has made this worse), I said “open development”, which is quite literally in the title of the article.

        And yes, the way that the developers of this game have talked about the process very much flies in the face of what the article rants about.

        As regards your final sentence (apart from the point you’re trying to tell me I’m making when I said no such thing. Please don’t put words in my mouth), I’ll concede that the single article doesn’t constitute the attitude of the whole pulication. That was cleared up for me by Jim. What’s funny to me though is given what’s transpired above, it appears I’m not the only one who disagreed with the article’s premise. Which I raise because, as I said above, the devs seem to take a different stance on the issue (and in fact, I’ve seen a few devs do similar in the comments for that article), and by appearances haven’t corrupted their game in the process.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Kickstarter/crowdfunding are the primary example of “open development”, mate. But split hairs all you like.

          A single successful example doesn’t prove the model works any more than a single failure would prove all the opinions in that post correct.

          The gist of the article was that OPEN DEVELOPMENT (k?) tends toward mediocrity. I don’t think we’ve enough data to come to that conclusion, myself, but like I say this single data point is only a single data point.

          And sorry for putting words in your mouth… you said “raging” not “raaaaging”.

          • subedii says:

            Well let’s see here:

            Kickstarter/crowdfunding are the primary example of “open development”, mate. But split hairs all you like.

            No they’re separate. Something that is crowdfunded does not need to be, nor has it ever needed to be open in its development process. In fact I can think of a few titles I’ve backed myself that are definitively not being open to userbase input. For that matter there have been open development games done before Kickstarter (and crowdfunding in general) was even “a thing”.

            Which is why John actually made a point of differentiating the two, and then saying that KS has made things worse when he states people should NOT have such expectations of open development from KS’d titles. The author of the piece himself is drawing that distinction, and I am responding with that basis. “Splitting Hairs” doesn’t come into it, or if it does, comes into play primarily on the original author’s side then.

            But you already knew that.

            The gist of the article was that OPEN DEVELOPMENT (k?) tends toward mediocrity. I don’t think we’ve enough data to come to that conclusion, myself, but like I say this single data point is only a single data point.

            Then we would appear to be in agreement.

            And sorry for putting words in your mouth… you said “raging” not “raaaaging”.

            Actually you said that I was posting about how RPS hated (or were raging against) Kickstarter. Which again, I said nothing of the sort. The article, and my response, were to do with open development.

  10. VCepesh says:

    An extremely well-made game, that I have little doubt will get its due and be remembered for a while.
    Also, I simply can not enjoy it. My own fault, undeniably – I wanted it to be something, that I frankly understood it will not be. I have too many personal preferences in RPGs and subjective disagreements with the way Larian did it. Concerning aesthetics, storytelling, mechanics.
    Maybe modding is going to result in something more palatable to me. But to everyone else – please, try it. It’s a good game, I hope you enjoy it.

    • Raztaman says:

      Can you elaborate further? I’m not looking to disagree with you but I think I may understand and perhaps even agree with where you’re coming from, if you provide some more detail.

    • The Puncho says:

      Not mature enough story? Cliched tropes left and right? Competently adequate without breaking any new ground? (Haven’t played the game, just asking.)

  11. RedWurm says:

    Thoroughly enjoying it so far, my only real issues are how fiddly it is to use some parts of the UI and the effectiveness of certain builds – but much of that will probably come with practice. There are some areas that could probably be fleshed out a little, like the number of really interesting or game-changing talents, but the game as it stands is quite marvelous, and I’m hoping there’ll be some active modding to look forward to as well.

  12. Emeraude says:

    Sadly I must say this game has been the last straw for me… went to buy without reserve as a friend who kickstarted it told me it would be released DRM-free… only to discover upon introducing the disc that it was Steamworks.

    I was so enraged I destroyed the disc (and maybe a screen – hopefully not). I really think I’m done with trying to support companies.

    That being said, apart from some really rough around the edges elements design-wise (the randomization of sold items being one) what I’ve seen of the game does look really nice.

    So… have fun. I won’t.

    • Snow Mandalorian says:

      Why on Earth would DRM produce so much rage? How many computers are you expecting to have in the near future? Sheesh.

    • vecordae says:

      It is the things that matter least that give us the freedom to vent the most. I am glad you were able to blow off some steam at least. Perhaps you can think of DRM as a sort of release valve?

      • Emeraude says:

        Oh well, at least puns remain I guess.

        • vecordae says:

          Being deeply invested in stuff most people don’t care all that much about can be immensely frustrating. Sometimes putting an absurd face on it makes the pill less bitter to swallow.

    • LordCrash says:

      D:OS doesn’t use Steamworks CEG on Steam. Maybe you should inform yourself better.

      Or just buy yourself the GOG version.

      • Premium User Badge

        welverin says:

        You’re spitting/pissing into the wind if you think militant anti-DRM folk will listen, much less believe, that Steam isn’t inherently DRM.

        Yes, people it’s true! Just because you download a game through Steam does NOT mean it has to be run through Steam, it’s possible for developers to not require that!

        • Emeraude says:

          The game did demand that I install Steam before proceeding with its own installation.. I couldn’t go around that.

          As for the GOG version, na, I don’t feel like buying the game twice. I’ll sit it out.

          As for Steam not being inherently DRM: I can’t sell or gift my copy once it has been registered. So it is inherently a DRM. Not one you may care about, but that’s another issue.

          • RedWurm says:

            I have formulated a cunning plan. Since you never use steam, All you have to do is set up a new steam account and register divinity to it. You never need to use the account to run the game, you can just give the password to anyone you want to gift the game to, and if you’re worried about resale you could have just not spent as much in the first place and waited for a sale.

          • Emeraude says:

            I rarely sell games, but I do like to have the option, and would rather keep it. It’s the impossibility to gift I most resent if anything. I have no issue buying a game full price day one, if I know I can gift to a friend who’ll enjoy it more in case it doesn’t click with me.

          • RedWurm says:

            You could just whap the install directory onto a disc, give it to said friend and cross your fingers. Might take a bit of tinkering if you’re unlucky but I’m fairly certain you could make it work.

          • Emeraude says:

            @ RedWurm

            There’s no disc left to salvage.

            Still nice of you to try. You have my thanks for what they’re worth.

          • dsch says:

            I have a better cunning plan. Figure this shit out before you buy it. If I were deathly allergic to peanuts, I would make damned sure I get the nut free version of whatever instead of not bothering and throwing a tantrum in the restaurant. And then going on the internet to tell everyone about how you threw said tantrum and will never eat again.

          • Premium User Badge

            welverin says:

            You can’t sell or gift a game you ‘own’ through GOG either. When Is ay Steam isn’t inherently DRM it’s the fact that once you install the game Steam isn’t required, unless the developer chooses to use it as DRM.

            As to why a physical copy of the game required Steam is rather baffling, when it’s available from DRM free digital stores as well.

          • Emeraude says:

            You can’t sell or gift a game you ‘own’ through GOG either.

            Which is why I bought a retail copy in the first place.

            I know. Insane

    • Raztaman says:

      You have some serious problems if DRM is getting in the way of you playing this game, and even costing you money in damages. Seek help.

      • TheVGamer says:

        Yeah, these problems would be of the mental sort so he really ought to.

    • Premium User Badge

      quietone says:

      Sorry, but I am not sure I follow you: DRM (even in its Steam version) is something so awfully diabolic as to make you want to destroy a game you paid good money for, and maybe even a monitor? And yet, you went to buy the game without checking its requirements because a friend told you that it would be DRM-free?

      I see.

      • Emeraude says:

        I know it was stupid to trust a friend.

        After all a friend is defined by his or her capacity to disappoint you, as no one can disappoint like a true friend will.

        • Premium User Badge

          quietone says:

          Case in point.

        • Premium User Badge

          welverin says:

          Because, as we all know, no one makes mistakes.

          • Emeraude says:

            Everyone make mistakes. Which is why that statement you seemingly have misunderstood as a condemnation of friends actually is a praise, sarcastic that it is.

      • WrenBoy says:

        To be fair the game has been released DRM free, it is available on GOG. His friend didnt mislead him. The physical copy he got was the Steam version is all.

        I might have contacted Larian and explain that you preferred the GOG version instead of throwing things around the room. No reason why that cant be attempted even now come to think of it. They seem like a decent enough bunch.

    • Vinraith says:

      The game’s available DRM-free on GOG, FYI.

    • epmode says:

      It was actually possible for backers to request a DRM-free retail copy from Larian but they’re printing far fewer of those because most people were looking for Steamworks. I don’t even think the DRM free retail copies have gone out yet.

      Anyway, there was something about it in one of their backer updates. Your friend might want to consider contacting Larian.

      I figure your’re just looking for a reaction but you might want to see a therapist if that disc thing is true.

      • Emeraude says:

        Nahh, just using the occasion to vent. A bit more calmly. Will warn the friend. thanks for taking the time to warn.

        Sorry to the RPS crowd for despoiling their back garden I guess.

    • TheAntiHick says:

      It’s not steamworks, it’s installed via steam. You can literally uninstall steam the moment Divinity is installed, never install steam again, and the game will run just fine. You sound like an idiot with the potential to become a psychotic idiot and do harm to those around you. Seek help.

  13. Neurotic says:

    I started re-playing Div Div a few weeks ago in anticipation, and now I’m well and truly committed. Going to be a while before I get to OS. :D

  14. DrMcCoy says:

    Still waiting for the Linux version… *sigh*

    • DrMcCoy says:

      Oh, and I’m also very sad that the editor is Windows-only…
      This is Neverwinter Nights all over again.

    • Juke says:

      I suppose you’re right, in that there is not an official release yet on Linux, but at least it is definitely in production and soon to be on its way. With the Mac release available, Larian did announce they are at work on the Linux port, with release expected shortly after the game’s launch on Steam. “Shortly” is always a loaded word, but in this case, its been actively backed by action.

  15. sinister agent says:

    Disliking black pudding? Adam Smith exposed as a false Notherner.

  16. Cosmo Dium says:

    So glad to see the gameplay principles and ideals from 22 years ago are upheld and reinterpretted for a modern game. The combat plays like a tense DnD session or a tactical tabletop game. Great systems, and mod support will hopefully continue to add fascinating ideas to the stew.

    This is a good time to be an RPG fan.

  17. jack4cc says:

    I’ve finished it after 56 hours on the clock, and my only complaint is that the UI is a bit of a mess when you’re nearing the end, because this one small action bar with CLICKABLE buttons to switch to a whopping TWO other bars are just not sufficient when you have > 25 spells. Other than that, the occasional crash, but that’s it.

  18. Blackseraph says:

    Such a great game, what’s weird is that almost everyone seems to like it. Expect for some it’s too hard folks.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      The thing is it really isnt hard at all. If you navigate the starting area correctly, its a breeze, and if ppl are still completely unable to grasp how simple it really is, then there is always a certain god-mode combo of skills they can use to make it easy mode, even on Hard.

  19. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    This a truly wonderful game. I haven’t even read the review above (but I will later) – because I don’t need to. I’ve been playing this since release and it’s one of the finest games I’ve played in years. I’d never heard of Larian or the Kickstarter but a gut instinct of the previews said it’d be worth a punt, and oh boy is this special.

    It starts out feeling quite Baldurs Gatey, then opens up a world of opportunity. I’ve been totally sucked into the game: I find myself reading the books, trying to understand the crafting, hunting for hidden buttons, talking to animals, setting up thieving opportunities, and generally looking for a different angle.

    It’s a 10/10 from me, and I can only hope for expansions and sequels galore. This is how to make an RPG.

  20. znomorph says:

    This is only going on my wishlist and I already feel all my free time evaporating…

  21. Emeraude says:

    @dsch

    May you have the life you deserve.

    May we all do.

    • dsch says:

      May you have a better life than what you deserve. It’s the only humane thing to wish on you.

      • Emeraude says:

        Na, by this point the only humane thing to wish upon me is a better death than I deserve. Everything else is a smug self satisfied way of feeling superior by way of giving.

  22. grechzoo says:

    Adam,

    I would read a 1000 word review of a 3 day old cabbage and end up desperately excited about it, if you were the author.

    Thanks for the great write-up.

  23. dsch says:

    “It’s strange to work as a critic in a creative field where unfinished work is constantly and eagerly exposed to you. Imagine Stanley Kubrick inviting a pack of critics to the set of 2001 and then sitting with them as they watched early rushes of key scenes while trying to justify himself in the face of weary questioning.”

    This is exactly Donald Hall’s complaint about writing workshops in MFA programs.

  24. Lemming says:

    Is it worth getting straight away or waiting for some patches?

    • Dominic White says:

      It seems really solid and stable so far. It’s just minor bug-fixes, scripting tuning and whatnot that they’re doing at the moment.

      There is a big update in the works that’ll add another couple of fully fleshed-out party members, though. No word or not on whether their addition will require a fresh campaign, though.

      • Lemming says:

        Cool. Coupled with Welverin’s comment below, I think a payday purchase at the end of the month is on the cards!

  25. Premium User Badge

    welverin says:

    To Adam, and everyone else, today’s update mentioned that more AI choices will be added next week.

    I just wish there was a way to change them in game, if there is, please let me know how.

  26. Shooop says:

    The way this game handles elements that interact with spells is what really sells this game to me. There’s a good deal of fun to be had in that mechanic alone.

    Even blood is considered an energy conductor as PCG writer Chris Thursten found out the hard way.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    I have no doubt that this game is a great technical RPG. But there’s one thing which I don’t understand.

    How could anyone consider the writing “strong”? The dialogue is stilted, the story makes little attempt to hook you in and basically flings you into a situation where it says “there you go, you should care about this, off you go” and the voice-acting is … bad.

    It’s technically very good. The combat and everything … excellent, good fun. But if you play RPGs for the story, which I do … it is a badly written RPG. There’s no getting around it.

    • Raztaman says:

      Regretfully I have to agree there, you really can tell the voice acting was sorta rushed. A lot of the dialogue is quite interesting in my opinion (allbeit long-winded), but yes there isn’t much of a prologue; perhaps an expansion before Cyseal would be something to think about.

    • LordCrash says:

      It’s quite easy: because people have different tastes. That’s also the reason why not everyone likes the same books. ;)

      • Artea says:

        There are objective criteria by which to judge writing, and the writing in Divinity: Original Sin is not good by any means. It’s easily the weakest part of an otherwise excellent RPG.

        • Premium User Badge

          xao says:

          In that case, it should be easy to demonstrate that the writing is bad instead of making vague assertions.

          • Artea says:

            There is nothing vague about Big Murray’s comment: he explains in detail what irks him about the writing. I’ll add to it by saying that I dislike the flowery, over-the-top style of dialogue and the many failed attempts at humor.

          • malkav11 says:

            “I don’t like this” isn’t exactly an objective criterion. And humor, boy, that’s about as subjective as it gets. Myself, I’ve laughed out loud repeatedly at Divinity…gone into full on gigglefests at a couple of points, even… and I’m pretty early in the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I agree to a certain extent – if the gameplay wasn’t as strong as it is, I wouldn’t stick around, because the world and story hasn’t grabbed me much. I’m still not super far in, though.

  28. Armante says:

    Sir You Are Being Hunted is currently 75% off on Steam, only $5 :)

    • hprice says:

      The slightly cheaper, Ampu-Tea is only $4.99 on Steam right now …

  29. John Connor says:

    >Playing alone, a companion can have one of three AI settings – ‘none’, ‘loyal’ or ‘random’.

    This is what’s preventing me from buying this game. I want a companion with a personality, not a bot or something I have to manage.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Next week’s patch. They couldn’t get it in on time.

      But you’re supposed to choose “None”. First time, anyway. You roleplay both… and it’s awesome! (no “management” involved, you misunderstand how it works) Seriously try it.

  30. LuNatic says:

    Mechanically, this is the best CRPG I’ve ever played. The story isn’t bad either. It’s not Mask of the Betrayer, but it isn’t bad. If Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2 meet expectations, the next few years will be awesome.

  31. Shadowcat says:

    My name is Mindhorn Bruno Mindhorn
    I swim backwards forwards sideways
    I’m in love with a woman she’s got no eyes
    I found her drawing cows near Bruges
    I don’t know her name I call her Mrs China
    She were a coiffeur but it ended in bloodshed
    Now she lives in a glass case in the town hall in Ghent
    And every three years on a Tuesday I dust her

  32. statistx says:

    Here are my thoughts that no one will care about:

    Overall I like the game.
    My favorite kind of combat is used here; real time moving, round based combat.
    It’s spiced up by the possibility to use the enviroment to some extend, even though that usually revolves around trying to move my characters away from a burning ground and enemies into it and the extensive use of rain to make some “fighting areas” even traversable. (Think about fighting against fire demons or poison spitting zombies)
    Maybe it’s because I’m playing on a easier difficulty, so not too much critique about that, but it feels that the fights get a little bit repetetive after a while. At least til you get into a new area and face new enemies that need other sets of skills.

    The dual character system is interesting, yet a little shallow and probably amazing if you play coop (which I wasn’t able to try, because all my friends are console-only playing scum).
    Inventory management, bartering and use of skills could be a little more streamlined between those characters.

    For example:
    .) My 2nd character got the identification skill (Loremaster), so while I run around and pick things up, I always have to sort out the ones that need identifying and give them to my 2nd, only to then send it to the appropriate character again.
    .) If you want to buy equipment the comparison only shows the equipped item from the character that started the conversation, so you have to end the shop conversation and start it with the other character to see if the item in the shop is better, which is strange, since you can cycle through the inventories of every party member in the shop menu.

    My issue with the quest system is that a) it isn’t always clear what the game wants you to do and b) NPCs rarely react to anything you do (or rather you don’t get a dialog option to confront them).
    At least the variety and amount of quests is nice.

    I’m hours into the game and lost a little motivation to play, because for the last 1-2 hours and counting, it’s been a constant dungeon crawl, which might just be my personal preference of NPC interaction and non-cave areas.

    This all seems a little negative, so I just want to stress that I think it’s a great game that only has some minor issues, some of which will probably don’t even matter to other players.

    • grodit says:

      There’s a neat little trick for you loremaster: simply sort by newest added and you will have all items that need to be identified.

      I do agree that when you hit hiberheim and lucella forest the game swoops a bit too much into combat and away from actual roleplaying, so I agree with you there. I hope it will get better again in the next part of the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Xantonze says:

      >about identification with Loremaster. The loremaster character can identify items from any character in the menu: simply click on the magnifying glass, then change character in the menu (top), then click on the item you want to identify. It’s even easier if you put the magn. glass in the skill bar.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        nonono. RIGHT click the faces. You can have everyones inventory/stats open at the same time in their own windows!

        Inventory management and sorting is so easy. (Did you know the bags are ALL bags-of-holding? They get more slots as they fill! First time I’ve ever fully sorted the inventory in one of these games, bags for everything that never fill.))

        • Raztaman says:

          Yes but you can’t arrange them whatsoever and books can’t be read from bags. I found it too much hassle tbh…

          • thebigJ_A says:

            What? I’ve got mine all arranged. You can move the windows wherever, put the bags how you like. idk what you mean.

        • statistx says:

          Haha, it took me some hours into the game to realize that there is a scrollbar, not just in the bags.

      • statistx says:

        Oh yeah right, forgot that you can use the active characters things even in other inventories (I used that with repairing, but didn’t figure I could use it with identifying too).

        Still it is quite annoying that basically every weapon you find after about 1 hour of gameplay needs identification.
        IMO the more elegant way would have been a simple check on pickup, if any character in the party got the necessary skill and a magnifying glass (though since it isn’t really rare and consumable, I don’t understand why there even needs to be one) and if both is right, it auto identifies the item.
        I understand that would be no option if it was tied to a skillcheck or depleting ressources, but with identifying which you do all the time, that isn’t the case.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Yeah, that’s kind of one of those old-school rpg things that’s stayed through sheer inertia. Sometimes I like it, but since you’re going to ID everything no matter what, it really is just extra busywork.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      The inventory system is way more flexible than you’ve realized.

      They probably should’ve made it more obvious the things it can do, so you wouldn’t have wasted so much time. Sorry.

  33. merbert says:

    “The sausage has become a steak”…..I think you’re mixing your meataphores.

  34. InfamousPotato says:

    Will I still be able to enjoy the game if I play it entirely as a singleplayer game?

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Yup. I didn’t even know co-op was a feature, and even now I can’t think of anything that’s different in my SP game because of it. Except they had to make sure more possible quest solutions existed that two people together would be more likely to figure out, so it’s an even deeper single-player game than it would have been.

      • InfamousPotato says:

        Superb! That’s really the only worry I had about this game. Aside from that worry, everything sounds almost perfect. Honestly, I’ve never played a game quite like this, so I’m really looking forward to it.

        • statistx says:

          It is enjoyable in single player. I think coop with a buddy would just add more enjoyment, but adding that feature doesn’t undermine the single player.
          It isn’t one of THOSE games that sacrifice the single player for a coop experience.

    • Juke says:

      Concur with others. Very playable in both modes, as the game was built from ground up to revolve around two main characters that can be controlled by 1 or 2 people. Note to potential Co-Op-ers: This game can actually be pretty tough when played with multiple people! There is a lot of focus in combat around skill/spell combinations, so having two separate people driving the action requires a fair bit of coordination. Plus the fact that each PC can be work completely independently, up to and including being in different areas; it one player is particularly combat-happy, they might need to take care not to pick a fight while their backup is across town following up a lead on a particularly intriguing side quest!

  35. Jezebeau says:

    Your mention of “out of spell-juice” immediately after mentioning you don’t like mana regeneration might lead someone to believe that this game has a mana system.

    • Juke says:

      You might be correct. So, I’ll add, for the sake of clarity for other players; all skills run on cooldown timers, spells included. There is no mana mechanic in D:OS.

      As a fun side effect, this really boosts spell utility when roaming around outside of combat. The timers run much faster when not in turn-based battles, so the spell effects can be used freely for solving envrionmental puzzles, or just fooling around. Lob fire spells into the river & generate a huge steam cloud for no reason! Teleport food across town! There’s no reason to do these things, really, except that they can be silly fun. Just another example of how Divinity appreciates being a “toy” in the more traditional sense. :)

  36. Kalimashka says:

    That doesn’t tell us the name of the secret particular Trappist brew.

  37. dE says:

    This is one of the most depressing comment sections in a long time. Here we have a genuinely good game, but one wouldn’t know from reading through these comments. So many hateful remarks, smug asshattery, spiteful attacks on other people, enough straw men and hyperbole to last generations.
    Is the RPS comment section incapable of enjoying something?

    • merbert says:

      dE…..cheer up my son, it’s not all bad….maybe you got out of the wrong side of the bed today (like some of the grumpy bastards above), so I’ve compiled some of the positives written here, just to cheer you up!

      Happy Saturday dude.

      Prolar Bear says: Very well written article

      thebigJ_A says: The inventory system is way more flexible than you’ve realized.

      Statistix says : I think it’s a great game that only has some minor issues, some of which will probably don’t even matter to other players.

      LuNatic says: Mechanically, this is the best CRPG I’ve ever played

      Shooop says:The way this game handles elements that interact with spells is what really sells this game to me. There’s a good deal of fun to be had in that mechanic alone.

      Blackseraph says: Such a great game, what’s weird is that almost everyone seems to like it.
      VCepesh says: An extremely well-made game, that I have little doubt will get its due and be remembered for a while

      Raztaman says: Very good decision, this game is absolutely impeccable in terms of bang for buck!
      Considering how much freedom the game gives you, I’d say it’s almost bug-free in its current state. Seriously, you can go nuts at times, trying out ludicrous things and 99,9% of the time things work just as you expect them to. It’s amazing, I’ve seen linear, non-cRPG games which were buggier than D:OS.

      derbefrier says: Its a fantastic game I have about 12 hours in it and have only just begun to leave and really explore around the first town. I pretty much agree with everything said in the review. Its a wonderful game buy it now.

      • Damn Rookie says:

        Thanks for rounding the positives up! Much appreciated!

      • thebigJ_A says:

        This is my favorite comment in a long time, just because of the spirit behind it!

        :)

        And I repeat:

        :)

    • Damn Rookie says:

      I’ve been thinking something similar as I’ve read through the comments. I normally really like the comments on (most) RPS articles, and recognise the names of many posters I enjoy reading for their wit and/or insight. But this article… you’re right, the level of hateful remarks, needless attacks, and just general unpleasantness is quite astounding. The fact it’s in the comments of what sounds like a really very good game makes it all the worse.

      The fact I don’t recognise most of the names of those commenting makes me wonder if they’re like this all the time, but they just don’t post that often, so I don’t see the needless negativity, meanness and spite on many other articles here (besides the obvious candidates, that always bring out strong emotion from commentators).

  38. cylentstorm says:

    My brief time with Original Sin has been even more joyful than the slightly lengthier time that I spent with the previous titles. I look forward to the many hours that I am sure to spend in its world, especially after I upgrade my weak OEM GPU to cope with this unsurprisingly resource hungry monster sometime in the next decade. (I have to save some pennies for a PS4 so that I can explore the only game that I look forward to this year–better known as No Man’s Sky.)

    Oh, and a helpful hint to all of the hypersensitve folks out there: You have a point, and if you want characters whose physical appearances fall somewhere outside of popular ideals, then there are many, many other RPG’s out there to accomodate just that. (TES series, for example…yeesh) However, if physical appearance is so important to you that you miss out on interesting experiences to uphold your principles, then I pity you. Don’t be so shallow. Lighten up, or do something other than bitch about it. Make new or alternative character models, for example. Create something rather than waste so much energy tearing something down.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      No Man’s Sky is almost certainly coming to PC. Sony just did the usual “buy a few months’ exclusivity” thing.

      No need to blow all that money.

  39. Tei says:

    I have put already 56 hours, and this game is a instaclassic. But is not a finished game, in many parts feels like some Work in Progress thing. There are flaws that are part of the charm, and there are things that are flawed because they were added recently, and the devs did not had time to polish them. Hell.. on the next week they will add the rest of the companions.

    The game is fucking good. So the point is not if getting ir or not, but when buy it. Its a excellent game already, but it will be even better in a few months when laria has time to rub the gold in this game to make it shine.

    Not everyone is going to like this game.

    Is not a story intense as a mass effect, is not has combat heavy as a diablo. Its between these two, is on the same genre the Baldurs Gate and the Ultima games.

    • LionsPhil says:

      in many parts feels like some Work in Progress thing

      That’s a bit alarming, given they seemed to pretty much drop Dragon Commander after release.

      Still can’t really believe it shipped (and continues) without multiplayer deck-building for dragons, only three presets.

  40. ColdAsIce says:

    Just had to weigh in on the sexism nonsense, although I agree having all females in bikini armour is ridiculous, going on comments from my girlfriend, a huge rpg fan, there is absolutely nothing wrong with women looking sexy. I’ve seen her sit for hours and hours just creating her characters looks, in both the face and clothing. Likewise for fancy dress or Halloween she will spend ages getting the perfect costume that often are very similar to female rpg characters. Nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel sexy, especially when role playing in a fantasy setting.

    Is there not a huge group of people into cosplay that love creating these outfits also?

    • Grygus says:

      You can dress your in-game female character up however you like, including in underwear and boob armor. I’m sure a nude mod will be available as soon as someone figures out how. Nobody is objecting to this. The objection is using women-as-sex-objects to sell the game; the widespread assumption that a female in a fantasy game ought to be half naked because she is female is what’s being challenged.

      • iop says:

        Obviously moral crusaders like you know better then author of the artwork or Larian what purpose was behind it. Comments like yours prove derbefrier is right about the whole issue.

        • Grygus says:

          When you have to attack the person instead of the argument, know that you have lost.

          • iop says:

            Nice try. I did not attack you just pointed out ridiculousness of yours pathetic statement and other commenting people sharing a similar view.

          • thebigJ_A says:

            Psst. You’re still attacking the person rather than the argument. You don’t even realize it anymore.

            You mental midget.

            (See? Like that.)

    • thebigJ_A says:

      And nobody said there was anything wrong with making your character look sexy. Or having the ability to do so.

      This has been addressed above in some of the lovely pink comments.

  41. InfamousPotato says:

    Oops, just realized I forgot to say this: Thanks for the article. It was a great read, and before it (and the articles it linked to), I had little to no interest in the game. Now that I’ve read it, I’ve changed my mind completely.

  42. ResonanceCascade says:

    Loving it so far. The game isn’t nearly as hard as Fallout or Baldur’s Gate 1. I think people just forgot that these types of games used to be challenging.

    The soundtrack is phenomenal as well.

  43. Superabound says:

    Thank you Feminism, for making sure that any discussion of any art form immediately devolves into some screed about how the naked human image is disgusting and cruel and that human sexuality is even more evil than the Catholic Church would have you believe and that making a fictional female cartoon character sexually attractive is a personal insult and injury to all real life women everywhere. Your ideology is VERY sensible and not at all based on sociopathy, narcissism, or any other extreme mental illness or personality disorder.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Funny how nobody said anything like that, at all…

      except you lot setting up your straw man to argue against.

  44. Superabound says:

    Internet Feminism in a nutshell:

    1. “Just because a woman wears revealing clothing DOES NOT make her a slut!”
    2. “Female characters should not wear revealing clothing because it makes them look like sluts!”

    • Sleepy Will says:

      What Superabound doesn’t understand in a nutshell:

      1) Women choosing to wear what they want is a good thing.

      2) Society relentlessly and consistently portrays only certain characteristics of people dependent on their gender because it is sexist.

      • Superabound says:

        So you are in fact confirming exactly what i said: Real life women wearing “slutty” clothing is objectively good and empowering to women in all possible situations, forever. But a female character in a work of art wearing “slutty” clothing is objectively harmful and misogynistic towards women in all possible situations, forever. Nothing hypocritical or cognitively dissonant about that at all!

  45. Calculon says:

    Not that any one is going to read this way down here but:

    I was a kickstarter backer of the game, didnt play until full release because I didnt want to see it 1/2 finished. Its funny that I back a lot of kickstarters to get the early access, and then dont use it as Im afraid that Ill be put off and not want to play it later.

    Anyhoo: Impressions – Initially I was really put off by the art style. They felt kind of World of Warcrafty to me, which isnt my style at all. I prefer a more realistic/gritty art style, and quite frankly that just about prevented me from actually playing the game. Well that and the stuttering/performance issues however:

    I persevered! to get past my early art style impressions, and performance issues and I can say that Im very happy I did. The game is fantastic. This one is going to be a classic in the long run. I think I’ve dumped in about 50+ hours already, and I can already see this is one of the few games Ill play again (I hardly ever do that).

    Regarding performance issues: Larian have been great. There are regular updates and the performance issues were cleaned up quickly and nicely.

    In short: Happy I bought it, they have done a wonderful job, and Im already hoping that there will be future expansions.

  46. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    ANGRY INTERNET ARGUMENT

    Ahem… thanks for the good read, Adam. This game is great, and regardless of all the negativity here I think it’s a classic. Sure, the writing is not amazing, but the Infinity Engine games (except PS:T) only needed decent writing to become what they’ve become, after all. With the likes of Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, Dead State, and so on coming soon, this is sure to be one of the best years in the last couple decades for cRPG players all over!

  47. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    The comment section is now only missing something about the Zionist Occupation Government to be complete in its hatemongering.

    Congratulations, commenters.

  48. fredc says:

    Picked this up on the strength of this article and can confirm it really is quite good.

    The art style and gameplay does indeed seem to be heavily inspired by the later Ultimas (and Ultima online), just as Adam says. Lots of random crafting components and lots of ways to use mundane items with each other to make shit. Lots of moveable / destructible objects. It does add something to gameplay, at the risk of confusing the player with too much to do and too many ways to do it.

    I would personally have preferred less in the way of oversaturated colours and exaggerated shapes (it’s all a bit JRPG sometimes), which I think takes something away from immersion in the world and the story. Even Dragon Age 2 with its “wire fu on meth” style gameplay stupidity managed a slightly more realistic palette.

    Also hurting immersion is what I gather kids on the internet call “fan service”. I can understand their getting bored after a while, but the writers spent far too much time writing about CPRGs and writing about writing a CRPG, and not enough time just “writing a CRPG.” There’s a lot of HEY WE’RE WRITING A CPRG HERE LOOK AT US and a lot of HEY REMEMBER THIS FROM THAT OTHER GAME HA HA, which doesn’t really help the player get to grips with the setting in the actual game they’re playing.

    Once you get past the above, however, it’s a lot of fun. Actually better than the later Ultimas, in many ways, including the actual gameplay.