Every now and then, a person comes across a game that feels just right. For me, that game is Divinity: Original Sin. A game made possible by a successful campaign run by the game’s studio Larian Studios. The kickstarter raised over $1,000,000 during a month of funding and has since sold over 160,000 copies since releasing on June 30th. According to the studio, these sales numbers make it their fastest selling game.
Divinity: Original Sin is unlike any game most people my age will have probably played, and that’s a good thing. The game will be very familiar to those from the PC gaming age of Baldurs Gate, Planescape Torment, and Ultima. Divinity: Original Sin takes many of the systems and mechanics from those older games that haven’t been properly utilized together in years and makes something that feels familiar to some feel very fresh to them and others. The game starts off with you creating two characters called Source Hunters for you to make in any likeness and names of your choosing. The Character creation is absolutely deep in this game and is also where some of the hilarity begins to ensue.
The character creation will start off with how your character will look in the game both in their avatar and portrait that represents them in game. Now you can pick from default classes and although there are a nice variety I would highly stress making your own. Your characters can range from insane combinations like an Archer with tanking abilities that summons animals, or a giant-axe-wielding melee character that specializes in using elemental magic. So use your imagination on other things you can put together. Now I won’t make a bunch of recommendations, but if you want the full experience of the game make sure one of your characters has the “Pet Pal” talent. This Talent will allow them to speak to animals which will have its own line of side quests and tips for completing other quests you may be doing. Another thing to let you know ahead of time there is a talent called “Lone Wolf” which will take away the ability to have an additional companion for each Source Hunter that has it but give a good increase of stats to the Source Hunter(s) that you choose to give the talent to.
Now to go over a few mechanics and beginning tips for Divinity: Original Sin – because I think you all deserve a little help going into this game. If you wish to just go in without any help continue to the next paragraph for how the game starts. There is a deep moral and conversation mechanic to this game that you need to always be aware of. Everything you do, even if its not conversation based, can have an impact on what the general public thinks of you. Going into moral choices has both Source Hunters giving an opinion on the things you do in the game. For example, you want to dig up a grave you know has valuables but if you have the game set up so that you do not pick your partner’s speech choices he/she could argue that you will not be digging up that grave, and believe me you won’t have a choice if you lose the argument. To avoid such things, I recommend having the AI for your party member set to none or loyal that way you can guarantee the choices you want to happen. There is also a mechanic in the game to be able to move just about everything in the game world around. However, people won’t be fond of you moving their belongings around very much so be careful picking up things. Since you can just pick things up at will, you might have guessed stealing is a thing you can absolutely do and one of my tips, thanks to Mr. Phil Kollar of Polygon, become an art thief because it’s very profitable. The best way to go about doing such things is to have one person in your party speak to someone while their back is turned to the artwork and use your other party member to steal the art and other valuables while sneaking. Those are probably my best essentials for starting in the world of Divinity: Original Sin.
**SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON**
By boat you arrive on the beach outskirts of a town currently shaken by a murder that you, the Source Hunters, have been summoned to solve. As you are traveling up the beach, you are learning quickly that the town has a lot more problems going on then someone just being murdered. About half-way you encounter an evil source mage and his goons which triggers your first battle in Divinity: Original Sin. Now, combat is turn based and you do whatever you want as long as you have the action points to do so. This battle is where you will begin to learn if the pair of characters you created compliment each other in combat, or if you should go back to the drawing board and start again. After you go through this battle, not too far will be a side dungeon that acts as a tutorial for you to really learn the combat. I advise you go through that dungeon because aside from the combat and environment there will be some treasures awaiting you inside. After you exit this dungeon, but before you head to town, make sure you follow the cries of someone (or should I say something) not too far from you. This is when you will come across a giant magical oyster who wishes to return to his deep blue home. This is very easy: just pick him up and throw him into the sea. This will earn you a chest with some early equipment upgrades.
Moving back up the beach you will come across the town’s Legionnaires doing battle with hulking red orcs. Sadly your first encounter with the towns “brave” guard is two drowsy drunks that will only allow you to pass if you kill them or allow them to escort you. I wish I’d just killed them and taken their stuff after finding out they just run at the first sight of the orcs as they escort you to town, but I’ll let you decide. When you see these orcs, be sure to rush to the beach and help the true-to-the-job Legionnaires that are trying to fight them off. After defeating the orcs you will receive some praise and thanks from their leader as he points you in the direction of your destination.
Upon arriving in town, you discover that in addition to the orcs and murder, the town is having problems with surges of undead rising from the grave and attacking the town. This will not concern you until quite a few hours later because if you go to take on these undead soldiers right away, I can promise you will be slaughtered within one or two turns trying to encounter them. When you first arrive in town, you will come in through the towns docks… to a burning ship that you will probably not be able to put out like myself. I had an idea of how to put out the flames – which was to gather a certain party member that you can find on the second floor of the mayor’s home. He is a mage that can cast a spell to summon rain, so I would recommend trying that as quickly as you can, but I’m not sure if it will work being that I did not get to try this theory myself so good luck.
But if saving the ship is not something you wish to bother with right away, you can move into the Legionnaire barracks and talk around. That’s something I recommend you do often: talk to everyone you never know what you will come across. From the barracks, be sure to go out the right side of them to come across two Legionnaires with a dazed female orc arguing on if they should spare her or not. It’s nice to allow someone helpless to live, however if you do what I did and let her live you will come back afterwards to two dead Legionnaires. Moving on from the barracks, make your way up the northern stone steps into town.
From here you can make your way to the Legionnaire captain to discuss leads on the the murder at this time. I did not go right to the captain and instead spent time exploring the merchant square, tavern, and other buildings. I would advise you to start by going to the house near the mayor’s that has a pair of healers: Thelyron and his apprentice, Evelyn. Speak to Thelyron about the success of his apprentice due to a magical stone that she has that heals people just by the slightest touch. Now move onto Evelyn, and she will speak to you of the stone and that she needs help choosing between two patients on who to use the stone on to survive. From here depending on your own moral focus pick who to save – a young lad who has his whole life ahead of him, or an older gentleman who has a family and not too many years left. Either choice brings upon a large lightning crash on both of your characters sending you to worlds unknown.
At this point you will awaken to a dimension not your own and a very wise imp… yes a wise imp. This imp explains to you that these magical stones are linked to portals that will open areas to assist your characters as you find more. At this point I’ve only found one extra, and it opened a resting area for party members, as well as a man who will offer you mercenaries for hire. After all is said and done in that area, the imp will offer you a teleport pyramid that is linked to another one back in your world. A warning to you is that when you use this pyramid to be sent to the other world, it will bring you into the private bath house of the mayor’s wife who is enjoying a bath. Now from here you will get into one of the rock, paper, scissors debate with her so that you don’t get in trouble. If you speech isn’t very high you will more than likely lose this debate. Either way just grab the other teleport pyramid, and run out of there before she calls the guard. Now you will have a pair of teleport pyramids that will come in handy for some interesting strategies in combat.
At this point, you may or may not have gone to the town tavern and there is something I should go over with you. There is a cult there that will try and persuade you join, which I personally did not. If you join, there will be some early loot, quests, and another companion to choose from to accompany you. I’ll leave the choice to you however on what you want to do with these guys. A couple other noteworthy things at the tavern is another companion that you can grab if you have an open slot. There is also a cat you can talk to, as long as you have the “Pet Pal” talent, for a quest to convince the mayors pet to be with him. Also note that the crime scene of where the murder occurred is here as well and you will need the Legionnaire captain’s permission to go in so make note of this location to be coming back to shortly.
From the tavern, I advise you to head to the Legionnaire captain to begin progressing more on the murder quest. He will go over the suspects and their “who’s, what’s, and why’s.” Here you will learn facts that make the wife of the murdered man the most obvious suspect, which is who I pursued first. As you are investigating, you come across the possible murder weapon, a book on how to murder, and a love letter from her lover saying they could be together if her husband was murdered. I recommend you go for all these things for the extra experience but be advised that it becomes apparent that this is all very circumstantial and that someone else probably committed the murder after you have the wife arrested. After the arrest is made, the healers apprentice Evelyn has mysteriously vanished and you begin to unravel a deeper mystery.
Wrapping up the beginnings of Divinity: Original Sin you are going to discover that Evelyn is part of a group involved in reanimating the dead. This is involved in the murder being that the body of the victim you will discover was stolen before being properly buried and now both her and the dead body are gone. You will be pointed in the direction of her house after looking through her things at the healers home and you will discover a spell to open up a secret passage to her lab. From this point, you will have exhausted most things involved with the murder and you will need to move on outside the town walls to find this lab. I am aware that she heads north; however, I’ll leave the rest of this murder for you to discover.
There are multiple side things to do inside the town that I did not go over. I don’t want to spoil everything for you – because what would be the fun in that? I will advise that you may want to make sure a character of yours is experienced in the way of talking to people if you want to have the easiest time with some of these quests. There is a lot to experience in just the first few hours you play this game, as you have read, and there’s much more that I didn’t even go over. I hope some of the things I went over will help you in the long run and all of you enjoy Divinity: Original Sin as much as myself and many others have!