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Divinity: Original Sin II preview: An ambitious sequel to one of the biggest, best RPGs of 2014

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 27, 2015
When you look up 'ambitious' in the dictionary, you find a picture of this game.

And as a handy, non-combat related side effect, you can talk to ghosts.

Spell-crafting

Traditional spells also return though, and again Larian has done quite a bit to flesh out what was a pretty bare-bones concept in Original Sin. We ran through this system pretty quickly in our demo, but spell books are now a more codified part of the crafting system—meaning you can combine two spell books to create a brand new spell.

We saw a few examples—the Mute spell plus Summon Spider equals “Summon a Stealthy Spider” and Lacerate plus Rain equals Blood Rain—but there’s no telling how deep the system goes yet. I asked whether you could combine second-level spells (i.e. Summon Stealthy Spider and Blood Rain) and got a pretty cryptic “We’d like to, but…” answer in return.

Four-player multiplayer

But my key takeaway: Original Sin II is going to ruin friendships.

Original Sin allowed for two-person multiplayer, which was a pretty novel concept for a narrative-heavy RPG. Each person would roleplay a separate character, participating in conversations independently and potentially skewing quests one way or the other.

Original Sin II doubles down, allowing for four-person multiplayer—and each person can create a unique character at the start of the game. It looks like chaos. Remember up above, all the ways I said your background played into the story? Those aspects are really brought to bear in multiplayer.

Getting into town, for instance. For Lady Gwynne, it’s easy. She’s from the town! The guards know her! Even though the town is semi-locked down, they just let her right in. Our human thief? He’s not above bribing the guards to get in. But our dwarf? The guards hate dwarves. Hate dwarves. After a brief (racist) exchange, they turn him away.

The dwarf isn’t permanently locked out, of course. In our demo it led to a lengthy side bit where the dwarf snuck into the city through the slums. It’s more about slowing down your friends—allowing you to finish quests the way you think they should be finished—than outright breaking the experience for someone.

Various quest solutions make a lot more sense for this four-person mode, where you’re potentially competing against friends. In that case, one player might forge evidence to get the dwarf out of jail—even if it means condemning another player’s mother to life in prison.

And the pranks—oh wow, the pranks. Fill a bottle up with poison and dye it red, then stick it in someone’s bag. “Health potion?” they’ll say with relief, only to find themselves drinking poison. Or rush into combat and stab your friend in the back halfway through the fight. Or go to the guards and accuse other characters of smuggling so that they get searched on their way through town (and potentially thrown in jail).

 

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