The Bestest Best Kickstarter Of 2014 – Divinity: Original Sin

In a year when the genre seemed to be in the ascendant once again, Divinity: Original Sin is the most playful and experimental RPG in a strong field. Taking its cues from the intricately interactive world of Ultima VII as much as previous Divinity titles, Original Sin is one of the year’s finest games.

Adam: Partly crowdfunded, wholly crowdpleasing.

Before we begin, let me make it clear that Best Kickstarter is by no means a minor category. There are no minor categories. Every game in our list of Bestest Best games is absolutely brilliant and can be considered to be on equal footing to the others. Except for the one that actually wins our Game of the Year award, of course. That game has been scientifically proven to be superior to everything else that happened this year. We’ve got our own lab and everything.

Divinity is a fantastic cooperative game, does a fine line in tactical combat and is one of the finest RPGs released in the last decade. So why ‘Best Kickstarter’? I planted the game in that category myself and with good reason – whatever else it might be, Original Sin is evidence that Larian’s mid-development crowdfunding drive was a good call. Without the extra time and money, the latest Divinity game may never have lived up to the studio’s ambitions. It’s a sprawling game, packed with things to do and interactions to discover, and its eventual success (critically and commercially) was built on risk and a commitment to long-haul development.

Our interview with Larian head Swen Vincke earlier this year served as a reminder – if any were needed – that so many things can go wrong during development. A publisher might have pushed Original Sin out of the door early, the audience might not have picked up the game when it was finished, the team could have become burnt-out. Vincke’s willingness to speak openly about the studio’s successes and struggles makes the commitment to community far more convincing than it might be otherwise. He also explains the benefits of Kickstarter with a clarity that is often lacking.

Before moving on to discuss the game, here’s a short excerpt from the interview linked above:

“The financial side, actually, surprisingly, is the least interesting part of it. Obviously it helps, but it’s not sufficient to drive forward a team of 40 people for so many months. If you do a quick calculation – this is very underestimated – let’s say 5,000 euros for 40 people, that’s 200,000 euros, which gives you five months of work for a million euros. Or even less, more like four months of work. You obviously can’t do that. But the advantages in QA, the advantages from word of mouth, are worth their weight in gold.”

And so the game moved into Early Access and, having first encountered the game in early 2013, I could see improvements with every build. Original Sin was never going to be a perfect game but that’s fine because part of its charm lies in its imperfections. It’s a toybox that invites experimental play, and that occasionally creaks and warps, but rarely fails to entertain.

The combat is a glorious combination of improvised farce and serious turn-based tactical fayre, and the world begs to be poked, prodded, pulled and played with. Enjoyable enough played solo, it’s an entirely different kind of treat with a coop partner on board.

Despite the prescribed plot and lack of an actual Games Master to tell stories, there’s enough content and flexibility in the game to make it play out like a shared tabletop adventure, where there are orcs slipping on dynamically generated frozen pools of water rather than dice rolls and pencil stubs scratching across stat sheets. It’s a social game, using the best possible definition of that term.

It may have a completely different tone and approach to questing, but Divinity: Original Sin is the successor to Ultima VII that I’ve been waiting for since the early nineties. It’s Larian’s most elaborate and well-crafted game to date and it’s likely to lead to even better things in the future. The game’s appeal may be old-fashioned in part but the development process was ultra-modern, utilising crowdfunding, Early Access and wider community feedback to great effect. Long may it continue.

For more on Divinity: Original Sin, here is our review.

Back to the complete bestest best PC games of 2014.

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71 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    Man I hope best rpg goes to wasteland 2…

    • jaheira says:

      No chance, it wasn’t that great.
      Inquisition for best RPG and Shadows of Mordor for best game then.

      • Premium User Badge

        Dorga says:

        Inquisition as best RPG, that’s what I was afraid about. Maybe Unrest? No, eh?…

      • LordCrash says:

        DAI doesn’t deserve to win any award, and definitely not the best RPG one.

        • Danarchist says:

          Haha to be totally honest, and not meaning to be mean, I read you comment in the voice of the comic book guy from the Simpsons “Worst. RPG. Ever.”

          It’s a great game, but I have spent way more time in Divinity already than I ever will in DAI, simply because I doubt I will play through it more than once. You can only take so many super serious speeches.

          Wasteland is fun, but definitely not the best. You can severely screw yourself two hours into the game and not know it until the 20 hour mark. Thats either poor design or “Hardcore mode dewd!”

          • Arglebargle says:

            Poor design. And it makes you suspicious of their decisions in other parts of the game.

        • Robostove says:

          I’ve been absolutely loving Wasteland 2, not understanding all the hate. Having Deth be an optional character at the beginning is a weird decision (my first go at it I didn’t pick her up and the game is brutally hard that way).

          I’m playing it where I never revert to a save, ever. I’ve made stupid decisions and lost party members, I even had to murder the entire city of Highpool after an unfortunate incident where they caught me gravedigging, and missed out on tons of quests. But I was able to trudge on and make it pretty far into the game. The only complaint I have is how there is no retreat option once you’re actually in a battle. I wiped by walking into a room loaded with armed dudes and turrets and found that there was no way to exit through the door I just came in.

          Other than that, the game seemed fair. Even that final fight, it was obvious that going in that door was going to be incredibly dangerous. After I finish mourning my group I’ll definitely be heading back to the wasteland.

          • B.rake says:

            lol, this seems insane… aren’t the Wasteland games considered among the most difficult crpgs? Having never played a proper crpg outside of demos, I’ve recently started trying to play through Baldur’s Gate and the only button I hit more than ‘Q’ (quicksave) is Left Mouse., yet still lost a beloved party member after taking too long to complete his quest… so long Boo :( Do like the looks of Wasteland 2’s tactical combat.

      • gnodab says:

        But DAI isn’t even a RPG, let alone a good one.
        It is just WOW without the multiplayer. A mindless cow clicker interspersed with some nice writing. The might as well nominate Game of Thrones then.
        Also why are is everybody in the game oily and wet looking?

        Seriously, 2014 was a great game for RPGs. DOS, Wasteland 2, MMIX etc.
        Awarding DAI with this title just because it is the only AAA would just be criminal.
        It can get best visual novel or something.
        also best mustache and best dorian for good measure.

        • MercurialAlchemist says:

          Wasteland 2 is not a very good RPG (at least so far). NPCs are fairly bland, the conversation trees very limited, like the choices. The combat is fairly decent, but as a game, it’s a lot closer to Fallout Tactics than Fallout period.

        • noodlecake says:

          I agree. I’m struggling to find the motivation to keep on with DA:I. The story and character stuff is fun. The actual gameplay is appallingly dull.

      • Zenicetus says:

        RPS should give a “Biggest RPG” award to Inquisition so they can get it out of the way, and give Bestest RPG to something else.

        I’m still playing Inquisition, but it’s bordering now on being more of a MMO-style grind than fun, and I don’t really like any of my party members except Blackwall.

      • Cheese says:

        I reckon DA:I will get best worldbuilding, since Adam talked a lot about how much he liked the world in his review of the game. Legend of Grimrock 2, Wasteland 2 and Shadows of Mordor seem like contenders for best RPG to me.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Technical Shadowrun: Dragonfall Directors Cut is a 2014 game. But despite its good metacritic rating I would not consider it even close to divinity.

    • Stevostin says:

      It’s not even a *good* game. 80 hours in I stopped playing it, regretting maybe 60 of them. Lore is good. Writing is ok. Combat are ok (it’s always better than X-Com). Production value is thin, etc.

      • Hex says:

        That’s like, your opinion, maaaaaan.

        I could totally see Wasteland 2 still taking the RPG title, since when it comes to “playing a role,” Wasteland 2 is way better than most other options out there.

        The player has a lot more options than most AAA games afford in terms of approaches to various situations, as well as possible outcomes.

        I’m really surprised more people don’t salivate over it the way I do. It’s pretty rad.

      • Shakes999 says:

        I liked WL2 but the length definitely was a problem. Im about 80% through and doubt Ill ever finish it. I can barely even look at screenshots of it now without my eyes glazing over. Well worth the money but good lord, why won’t it end already.

    • killias2 says:

      I’m hoping Dark Souls 2 gets some love. I doubt it will at RPS, but it’s hands down my favorite game of the year. It has less story/atmosphere/creativity than DS1, but it’s utterly huge, ambitious, polished, and endlessly playable. I’ve put more time in DS2 than DS1 and Demon’s Souls combined, and that’s despite adoring the latter two and replaying Demon’s Souls earlier this year. The DLC is also excellent. If we’re talking games-as-art, DS2 isn’t in the same league as its predecessors, but it’s probably the best -game-as-game in the series.

    • kdz says:

      Wasteland 2 left me so cold. I didn’t care about the story at all and the game had a lot of intentional and irritating junk. Also, there was just no balance to the skills and equipment at all. And a lot of the RGPG systems I thought were just silly. Why have a skill Brute Force when you have a stat Strength?

  2. merbert says:

    I know I’ll be in the minority here….but I REALLY hated this game!

    It was monotonous, with wooden characters and cheesy script.

    It also had ZERO replay value (even if you tried it again with differently devised characters) because the whole thing was completely scripted, so once you’d played through it, that was it, every scenario would be the same on the replay.

    The map was disappointingly linear, again, like the plot, once you’d revealed it, that was it, there was nothing else to discover.

    Really don’t get the hype that most others seemed to see in this…easily the worst game I purchased this year.

    • LordCrash says:

      No problem, mate. The really unique games don’t appeal to everyone. It’s just like every unique design, it’s never everybody’s taste. Personally, I have enough of whitewashed, mainstream-oriented, streamlined AAA games which you basically cannot hate because there’s always something which you might like. A truly unique game is maybe a game I personally hate but I can still acknowledge the passion and dedication that went into it. That’s what makes variety so good and that’s why we should praise games like DOS. Without games that we really hate there also won’t be games anymore that we really love. Only games that everyone kind of likes, the mediocre, all-the-same game we’ve been getting with almost every new big AAA release for years now…

      • Bradamantium says:

        That’s a bit dickish, innit? merbert’s got specific criticisms, not just “wasn’t Skyrim/10, worst of the year.”

      • FriendlyFire says:

        But… Divinity isn’t unique? It’s a pretty straight turn-based top-down RPG. There haven’t been many recently, but I’m heavily reminded of old Bioware games on the Infinity engine or more recently stuff like Shadowrun Returns. Hell, the Shadowrun universe feels an awful lot more interesting and original and unique than Divinity’s setting, and I’d argue the writing and art felt stronger as well.

        I came in expecting some great open-world gameplay with a thick, interesting lore, but came away with something that’s very run-of-the-mill and with a seriously limitative “open” world. You can basically only follow one path through the world if you don’t want to get instagibbed by enemies 2-3 levels above you, which isn’t what I thought I’d get.

        • Traipse says:

          Definitely agree. It’s about as “open world” as FF XIII, except, instead of invisible walls, the barriers are beef gates that insta-kill you as soon as you deviate from the expected path. The story was… something about saving the world, I guess. And I would gladly have traded away the crafting system in a heartbeat to avoid having to scrounge through the omnipresent containers like a klepto hoarder and then spend ages sorting through inventories jammed with vendor trash.

          I get that it’s doing an homage to Ultima VII, and I respect that. Ultima VII was a great game, for the time. But game design has moved way on since then. Props for the awesome multiplayer — very cleverly done — but we quickly found that playing a not-great game in multiplayer just means that two people are bored instead of one.

          As far as RPGs I played in 2014 go, I had a way better time with Shadowrun Returns. A much less generic setting, better story, better dialogue, and fun, streamlined mechanics. It was pretty linear, but not every RPG has to be a sandbox, and what it did it did very well.

          • Emeraude says:

            I wouldn’t go as far as “as linear as FFXIII” which is literally walk in straight line until you reach the next check-point from what little I played of it before calling it quit.

            There is a lot of latitude opened in the exploration with Original Sin, given its system-based focus – hell it’s one of those games that does a thing I love: you can find answers to a problem that were not designed by the makers. Even workarounds to a bug to a scripted event.
            I know seeing someone play I noticed several ways to abuse the mechanics and beat enemies much higher level than you.

            Where it falls flat overall is in the non combat aspects. Between the randomization of some elements (the shops for one) and the gating of content for the non-combat focused skills, its feel very compartmentalized indeed, yet oddly unfocused and unsignificant. Worse it doesn’t really do anything interesting with the narrative mechanics to justify that aspect, often making you wish the devs would actually have just gone with a more linear game only focusing on what it does best: combat.

            Mixed bag for me.

        • malkav11 says:

          I’m still playing Original Sin off and on with a friend and though we’ve barely gotten past the first map it has not been our experience at all so far that there was only one viable path or that higher level enemies were automatically impossible to fight (although it does definitely make a difference). There’s a general progression in that the level range gradually shifts across various parts of the map, but we explored in a bunch of different directions without much trouble and found a whole bunch of secrets and such.

          I will say that tactics make an enormous difference to the difficulty of fights. We’ve had more than one encounter in that game where we were annihilated within a few turns (or even one), and with some modification of our approach and positioning and skill use, mopped the floor with the same encounter.

          • THDS-YO says:

            Yep, its all about using environmental modifiers and tactics, you can beat enemies mugh higher level just by status affecting them to death.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I felt the same way about the cheesy writing, but the combat tactics were interesting enough to get me about 2/3 of the way through the game, before I stalled out. I haven’t removed it from my Steam list, so I might go back at some point.

      • Hanban says:

        I wish someone would make a game using the engine and ideas that Divnity brought along. The setting, visual style and story just weren’t for me.

        I can appreciate what an achievement it is, though, despite of me losing interest with it halfway through.

      • jonahcutter says:

        I enjoyed the writing and thought it was one of the highlights of the game. It’s offbeat and doesn’t always take itself seriously, getting almost surreal and absurdist at times.

        I agree on the combat. I thought it was great. A lot of good interplay between the different elements and powers. There’s some fun emergence to explore without it ever feeling too dense and overcomplicated.

      • Robostove says:

        Same here, the story and writing kind of killed it for me. It is a good game for co-op though, which is mostly how I played it. My brother and I found early that water barrels are extremely lethal and went through the next couple hours instagibbing everything we fought by dropping barrels on them with telekinesis and not using any of our regular attacks or spells. Great fun combat system, but an RPG where I don’t feel like I’m playing an actual character can’t hold my interest.

    • noodlecake says:

      I think it’s real strength was it’s combat system. You can have the same fight play out in loads of different ways and the combat system was really well designed and unique. If you’re looking for amazing story and a deep lore, it probably won’t satisfy that itch. I don’t normally look to RPGs for good combat, and was dreading it being a drag and getting in the way of the good story stuff, but the combat is totally what hooked me and kept me interested.

    • THDS-YO says:

      I played it co-op with my wife an we frequently did things out of order, it is very hard, but in no way impossible.
      Heck we skipped over an entire plot area and came back to it 2 levels higher and slew the monkey out of everything for about an hour.

      I think allot of people ignore the environment and how you can use the rain,oil,cold,steam,poison,etc to inflict massive damage on the enemy, positioning is key and turn order is important, otherwise yeah, fighting will feel completely unfair if you try to fight anyone above your level, but we did that all game and did fine as long as we planned it out. That is an intentional design decision.

      Personally I am very much against the go anywhere fight anything at lvl one crap that most RPG’s have been doing lately. (Oblivion, Skyrim.. cough) it wholly cheapens the leveling experience and you end up fighting rats at lvl 20 with the same ferocity as dragons at level 5. (cough) Oblivion (cough). There is little to no varriety aside from ‘hack at them with your preffered weapon’. No tactics or preplanning involved at all.

  3. tumbleworld says:

    I bounced right off this a couple of times, and I thought I was a die-hard RPG fan. Is it significantly better as co-op, or something?

    • Ysellian says:

      Just not your taste. I personally loved this game both as a solo player or co-op, I just really loved playing around with the combat and didn’t care too much about the story to be honest.

      Btw co-op is a lot of fun because it can get pretty chaotic. The game can be very punishing making a lot of fights really difficult when you can’t control all the players.

      • nu1mlock says:

        I loved the game as well. I “never” played the game solo (only for a few hours, doesn’t count in the long run) but I wouldn’t call the co-op experience “chaotic”. I obviously played the game with a like-minded friend and it was never chaotic. He played as a mage and I as a rogue.

        Although the story is very scripted, there was a lot of quests we never completed that we might be able to do in a second playthrough. We’d, of course, pick different classes for even more gameplay, although I’m not so sure about playing the game without a mage – a mage can do so many things to the environment that’s hard to do otherwise (unless playing a ranger wasting AP on special arrows).

    • Shakes999 says:

      Same here.I installed and deleted it 3 times before I finally got somewhat in to it the third time. Then I hit a huge difficulty spike and realized I totally screwed the pooch on leveling my characters and didn’t have the heart to start over from scratch.

      Its one of those games Im sure ill beat one day but more to me being stubborn then anything else.

      • coppernaut says:

        I had the exact same problem in Wasteland 2 recently. Almost 80 hours, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’m a thorough gamer so I did every side quest possible and just found it to be a little too much. I rarely complain about a game giving me too much content, but Wasteland 2 overstayed its welcome with very slow game progression and possibly far too much to do. I had a lot of fun with it though, just sadly one of the few games I just won’t complete.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, it’s a game that severely punishes the wrong choice of party members and skills.

        • Eleven says:

          Yeah, I picked the “wrong” characters, and died repeatedly without a hope or even some clue about what I was doing “wrong”. I read a strategy guide, where the two or three viable strategies were laid bare, and found it so dispiriting that I uninstalled the game there and then.

          Divinity: Original Sin is basically unplayable for a general audience. There is a metagame that is so obvious, so instinctive to longtime CRPG players that they don’t bother to mention it any more, but the game will punish if you’re not in on it too. If you find yourself naturally drawn to the philosophy of it’s gameplay, you’ll marvel in how cleverly it tweaks the well worn conventions. If you don’t instinctively minmax your characters at the start of the game to have to have the optimum variety of AOE, crowd control and single-target DPS, or even if you don’t know what those terms mean without looking them up, you’ll never be the right type of person to actually glean any enjoyment from the game.

          Divinity: Original Sin is the most selfish game I’ve played in quite a while. If you’re in the know, if your know where this game is coming from, it will reward you well and you’ll have a great time. If you haven’t been paying attention to every minute detail of CRPGs for the past two decades, this game will give you nothing.

        • waltC says:

          Guess you never heard of “MooseEdit”…;) I don’t really understand the comparisons with Ultima VII, though (although if you’re playing the Exult version U VII is very nice because you can play it like you could never play the original–higher resolutions, better sound, etc.) I think Original Sin is a great game–one of the best–but I can also see where more casual RPG’ers might be put off by it. It’s not for the faint of heart, and the single-player is the heart of the game. It’s a light-hearted game not meant for those with a light-weight approach to RPGs.

    • khomotso says:

      I played it through, but never learned to love it. It came across to me like a summer blockbuster: it had great polish and production value, but came off soulless and forgettable. I wish more games of this sort had that level of craftsmanship, and I wish this particular one had found some way to make me care about the world, characters, or any damn thing going on.

      I wouldn’t understand hating the game, as someone says above – it really was quite well done. It’s just that I seem to be its demographic – tactical RPG enthusiast – and it still left me cold.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Same here, it wasn’t bad, I just…didn’t have fun with it.

      In Wasteland 2 I started caring about the characters and the story, so I happily played it through to the end even though many of the bugs and the technical limitations of the engine were annoying. Divnity I just gave up forcing myself through it after a while.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      To the people bouncing off it, I’m curious as to what classes you used for your two mains. I had one wizard (fire and earth) and one enchanter (air and water), and it’s been bloody amazing:

      1. Set some enemies on fire. Drop a poison-bomb rock on some other enemies. Teleport enemies A to enemies B. So A lands on B (hurting both), ignites the poison (burning everyone), creates a poison cloud, ignites said poison cloud (exploding on everyone), and now everyone is burning and/or poisoned. (You can even skip the poison part if you’re fighting undead, who exude poison when they get hurt.)

      2. Cast rain, create puddles and make everyone wet. Electrify the puddles with lightning. Watch as enemies bleed onto the ground, the blood mixes with the water, and everyone gets electrocuted.

      3. Face a few dozen exploding enemies. What are explosions? Fire! What loves fire? Fire elementals! Go get ’em, Marvin! link to youtube.com (or you could cast rain and put out all their fuses … if you’re BORING)

      etc etc. There are a ton of great interactions between the elements/surfaces/statuses, and a ton of ways to solve any problem (combat or otherwise). The story is okay — though it’s easy to forget what you’re up to sometimes with the non-linear main plot and access-out-of-order missions — but the combat is what keeps me coming back.

      I only ask because if I went all physical classes, or just had a single mage with only a few elements available, I could see it getting pretty boring.

      (Also, the Glass Cannon talent is probably the most overpowered in the entire game, but boy does it make for some amazing magical mayhem!)

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I was expecting strong story, and thus far I haven’t seen much of it. I mean, starting off with a town surrounded by orcs and undead? Couldn’t you think up something a bit more original?

        I’ll agree that the combat seems like the strongest portion of the game, but you’re extremely limited in what you can do early on, which means you’ll have people dropping out before it gets interesting.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I used Wizard (earth/fire) and Ranger for the two mains,with Madora as tank and Jahan for the complimentary air/water spells. Ranger is like having a third magic user on the team with all the specialty arrows, so it was a good combination for the combat tactics. I agree that if you don’t pick enough magic users it probably won’t be fun, or maybe even winnable.

        I think the reason I bounced off it, was that while the combat was unusually good for an RPG, I just stopped caring about the characters and what they were doing. I never felt invested, so the combat alone wasn’t enough to carry it.

        I might have stuck with it longer if it was more of a dry spell for other games, but there were some other good games coming out soon after, so it was a low threshold for bailing out and starting something else.

    • iucounu says:

      It makes absolutely no effort to explain to you how to play it. The tutorial is so generic as to be worthless, and there’s no way to tell what’s going to be important as you progress and what isn’t. So I bounced off it several times to begin with, began to regret spending money on it, and then went for the FAQ.

      Once you get a little bit oriented, and you can start to understand the value system(s), it all clicks into place. I loved it – actually finished it, which is remarkable for me. The biggest problem with it is just that Larian can’t teach it.

  4. All is Well says:

    The RPS lab clearly lacks fundamental equipment and should promptly be swapped out for this one, which comes with at least a modicum of sensible attire:
    link to petgensys.com

  5. Stevostin says:

    I don’t get how you can co-op that kind of game, except with your best half or your twin ? I understand you always have to play in sync, right ?

  6. Laurentius says:

    I had absolutely fantastic time with this game. It is so strange, such drought of cRPG with turn based combat and this year such a potent comeback. I really can’t decide between this ,Wastlend 2 , ShadowrunReturns:Dragonfal and The Banner Saga, all these games felt like GOTY for me, when I was playing them. Probably in almost every other year it would be my GOTY, this time it will share second place along those mentioned titles. All in all, Divinity:OS is fantastic game.

    PS. I have also question to people who say it’s not that great, nothing wrong with your opinion and such. I would just like to hear what games you are comparing D:OS to. I mean maybe I lived under the rock or something but I can’t for the live of me remember cRPGs with turn based combat and that kind of “no hand holding”. In fact last game that have these qualities is Fallout2. Am I missing tons of cool games ?

  7. FlopsyTheBloodGod says:

    Original Sin and the wacky but flawed Dragon Commander have taught me to love Larian. They’re just so FUN. They do both seem to be games that people either love or loath – maybe the way that the tone swings about wildly from grim-dark to zany comedy?

    • LordCrash says:

      The secret behind that: they make games for themselves. They love their own games. They don’t give a shit about market compliance or mass market appeal and they certainly don’t sacrifice their own believings and tastes for any compromises. True indie gaming mindset…

      • green frog says:

        Yeah, Larian are pretty cool in my book. The way they patched and polished up Divinity II won a lot of respect from me as well. If I recall correctly that game sold rather poorly, they could have just walked away but you got the sense that they simply had too much dedication to their craft to not follow through and make things the best they could.

  8. derbefrier says:

    I loved the game. great co op, great combat. tons of shit to do. The story was entirely forgettable but for me story in games is the least of my concerns.

  9. DrMcCoy says:

    wholly crowdpleasing

    Except for us GNU/Linux fanatics, who still have to wait…
    And for non-Windows people who would have liked to use the editor…

  10. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    WOOHOO CALLED IT. link to rockpapershotgun.com

    Aside from the fact that I really love this game, it’s also been sitting at #2 on Metacritic for weeks and weeks now. Hard to imagine a better success story since FTL.

  11. horsemedic says:

    I’m a little perplexed that no review seems mention that the combat balance is broken. Battles becomes trivial (and therefore boring) after you learn to use the environment and gain a few levels. By the second map area I was racing past major plot arcs so I could fight monsters three levels over me—which was challenging in a tedious, grindy way due to the damage/health modifiers rising exponentially when you fight something the game doesn’t want you to.

    The writing was ok, but not enough to make me endure the terrible combat so I gave up after 15 hours or so.

  12. SpacemanSpliff says:

    Divinity: OS is a great game that Larian should be proud of.
    But someone explain to me how its the successor to U7? It doesn’t even have a Day and Night cycle. U7 has freaking working astronomy.
    Ultimas libraries were full of books and they were full of words. Divinity has a library thats 100s of books you can’t touch and 6 on desks you can.
    Ultima had moongates where your party would have to find something to do for a week until the phases were aligned, forcing you to at the very least keep them fed. Divinity has those waypoint thingies from every game ever.

    I could go on and on, but the point is Ultima 7 is the game that proved people could make realised living worlds, and no one since has even tried to again in 20 years, including the eFing lord british, and if you just hand out the title no one will ever try.

    Oh wait they both have a murder I get it now.

    • SpacemanSpliff says:

      U7 You could steal every piece of silverware in town, and pile those up and use the pile as a makeshift staircase.

    • malkav11 says:

      I sincerely believe that Original Sin is about as close to a fully realized living RPG world as you are going to get in the modern age. Or at least with these sorts of production values. It may not reach U7’s heights (I couldn’t say, I’ve never played U7), but it comes much much closer to that sort of thing than any other game I’ve played in the last…decade or so. You’re not going to get a major publisher interested in something like that, because it’s risky and unlikely to sell in the kind of numbers they expect, and furthermore would be hard to adapt to console (I won’t say impossible because I don’t know that for sure). They’re much more interested in the next Skyrim or Mass Effect (or Dragon Age, but that feels like a series that’s being pushed in the direction of both Mass Effect and Skyrim because those games sold better). You’re not going to get the sort of budget you’d need to make a game that ridiculously detailed nowadays most other ways. Not even through Kickstarter. You might be able to get some obsessive hobbyist or hobbyists to put something on that scale together over a decade or more, but then you get something more like Dwarf Fortress: brilliant but opaque and pretty much graphics-free.

      Me, I’m perfectly content with what Original Sin manages. And since U7 had neither coop (far as I know) nor brilliantly tactical turn-based combat, I think there are points where Original Sin actually comes out ahead.

      • SpacemanSpliff says:

        The sun doesn’t set. The npcs have no schedule. The weather is zone based and never changes.
        It’s an alright RPG but its nothing like what I would consider to be living.
        I’ve seen this comparison to U7 everywhere its written about, and as someone who actually played both games I just don’t see it.
        It’s more like a good NWN game with less companions, where you can move barrels.
        And you really shouldn’t talk U7 if you haven’t played it.

        • malkav11 says:

          Those seem like very trivial and not particularly gameplay impactful (though certainly immersive) features to me, but also Larian really wanted to put those in and didn’t manage to raise enough money to implement them.

          Personally, I quite prefer not having NPC scheduling because then I can never find them when I need them, and day/night cycles often lead to me being stranded without shops or quest NPCs when it’s time for me to hit town.

          • SpacemanSpliff says:

            So you like a living world that stays perfectly still and waits for you to consume it?
            Feel like you’re telling a story when really you’re only turning pages?
            Where you walk from town to town but only in the order they let you?
            Honestly this sound more like what I get from reading a book.

            But to each his own, and you are kind of proving my point how thanks to the press surrounding divinity we have generation of players talking about U7 who don’t know anything about it.

          • malkav11 says:

            Or, you know, just have different priorities than you do.

          • SpacemanSpliff says:

            That isn’t a sentence.

          • noodlecake says:

            No, because books don’t have unique and fantastically well designed combat mechanics and pretty graphics. If I want some fun, strategic turn based combat I’m not going to read a novel to get it. I’m going to play Divinity or XCOM or Fallen Enchantress or something. I think it has more in common with those two games than most RPGs.

          • SpacemanSpliff says:

            I have no problem with Divinity its the first thing I said. I’m just wondering where a bunch of people get off comparing it to a game it has nothing in common with.

          • Apocalypse says:

            The gameworld stays not still. NPCs bleed out, NPCs react to events and move their locations, the story-line is already not 100% linear.

            Some people find an NPC enemy in a cave, others will find them below a cathedral much later in the game. There are several solutions and approaches to solve the game and progress.

            Could it be a lot more breathing and living? Jup, definitely. Would I like if they could pull this off in their next sandbox? Hell yeah!

          • SpacemanSpliff says:

            All of this is true, and what does that have to do with it being falsely compared to U7?

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      gritz says:

      Agreed 100%. The Ultima 7 comparisons for D:OS have baffled me.

  13. ssh83 says:

    I like this category. Reminds us how Kickstarter can be a force for good, since we tend to focus on the black dot instead. Hope crowd-sourcing will stay a competitive alternative to big $ publishers.