I've started a co-op playthrough of Divinity Original Sin 2, an RPG that feels like learning another language. Slowly, I've grown accustomed to the sheer volume of stats and abilities and decisions I have to make. I now approach situations methodically, identifying enemy weaknesses, and scanning rooms ablaze or bloated by gas, before I commit to an act.
But there's one thing that always gets me. No matter how careful I am, icy surfaces totally pass me by. It's as if they're invisible, the way I think I've clocked every variable, before my dwarf rogue moves two paces and tumbles onto his arse. I don't mind, though, as it's comedy gold; an act so funny I'm convinced there's actually nothing funnier.
Divinity Original Sin 2 is a rare game for me to play. During every Steam sale over the last four years, I have hovered over its purchase button, but recoiled at the last second. I told myself, "Ed, come on, this isn't Call Of Duty: Warzone. You will bounce off this like a rubber ball dropped on concrete." But I'm glad I took the plunge, as my friends have helped me crack its hard exterior and reveal an intricate web of choices below.
It's not like the games I normally play don't require thought, they're just a bit more forgiving, is all. In CoD it's more about making quick decisions on the fly, but if they don't work out, you can still win a duel with better aim. DOS2 isn't like that. You don't get away with anything; there are no second chances (unless you save scum, you cheeky devil). I feel in complete control over my actions in battle until I submit my decisions, at which point, I feel like I have none at all.
Fights in DOS2 are akin to taking an exam. I meticulously weigh up as many possibilities as my brain can muster, and even discuss them with my friends too. And yet, when I input my answer, I recline in my chair and wait for the inevitable disaster to arise. The machine processes my carefully constructed solution, then spits it out with a D minus. There are notes: "Did not take this variable into account, sloppy." I go to examine them, before suddenly, my entire party is engulfed in flame and my dwarf rogue has morphed into a neat bundle of entrails.
"I think my many slips on ice mark my progression as a new player through the world of DOS2, an RPG that I'm forever acclimatising to."
The results can be hilarious, though; incredibly painful, but comedy at it's absolute peak. One of my friends plays a summoner who can make it rain at a button press, or cause hail to lash the earth. More often than not, this means our arenas are slick with ice. It's such a regular occurrence it's almost become invisible to us. This has led to multiple occasions when we've handed in our solutions, totally forgotten about the slippery surface, and watched as our characters tumble - at a critical moment - onto their arses.
It might be as we're about to land a finishing blow, our triumphant voices in Discord falling silent as we witness my dwarf stack it; then swelling to raucous laughter. Failure in DOS2 is often a frustrating affair, but a silly slip on ice cools the burn. I mean, I barely feel the crushing blow of defeat as my character lays spread-eagled on the floor, ready to accept his fate.
I think my many slips on ice mark my progression as a new player through the world of DOS2, an RPG that I'm forever acclimatising to. Through these falls, I have learned to take stock of my environment a bit more, or to take into account how the elements interact with each other. Every time my arse hits the ice, it's the game's nudging me, like "hey, you need to learn from this pal". And I have taken this on board: I combined spikes with my shoes to prevent any further slips - that is, until I put some new shoes on and the cycle continues.
Sometimes, I'll go down a YouTube hole of watching people slip on ice. There's something immensely amusing about it to me, and now I've come up with a plan. I will record and upload hundreds of hours of my dwarf slipping on ice and complete the art of comedy.