pax west 2016

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Take On Your Friends In Divinity: Original Sin 2
by Daniel Tack on Sep 03, 2016 at 10:40 AM
Publisher: Larian Studios
Developer: Larian Studios
Release:
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PC

While the first Divinity: Original Sin surprised me as an awesome throwback to the glory days of PC RPGs, the upcoming Divinity: Original Sin 2 is bringing even more to the table on top of the single player experience. Players can form special groups and actually take on their friends (or enemies, or random people) in turn-based arena combat, letting players engage with the elemental combinations, knockdowns, blessings and curses in whole new ways, far from the beach critters and swarms of spiders, undead, and NPCs. At PAX West 2016, I had my first opportunity to take on another player with all of the cool skills and abilities that make up the turn-based combat of Divinity: Original  Sin.

In the demo, players can only select from some pre-rolled core archetypes, like warriors, mages, rogues, and rangers. They come with full suites of everything you need to destroy other players, including the powerful source abilities that need to be "charged up" before use. To get source power, you have to move to certain points in the arena, which can be a risky proposition. You can go right for the power, but your opponent will see you going for it and set up a plan to stop you. If my demo was any indicator, this plan will likely involve poison, fire, and knockdowns before an untimely demise. While I was absolutely annihilated, it was an excellent way to demonstrate the risk-reward factor of source acquisition in arena.

Verticality is incredibly important in the arena as well. Not only does it make you harder to hit when you're up on a platform, but you also enjoy some additional range and damage bonuses. Planting a ranger or mage up on a tower is a great way to rain death down on your opponents.

Explosive elemental barrels litter the arena, so from the first turn you should begin to plan around these. Stepping near these barrels is an incredibly risky proposition, as they can be hit to lay out fields of fire or poison, or even set up a wet and wild area to add some electric doom to. As always when it comes to Divinity: Original Sin, being aware of your environment - and being able to manipulate it - is critical to success.

While the core draw for me will likely always be the single player RPG elements and campaign when it comes to Divinity: Original Sin 2, but arena seems like a fun way to showcase the myriad abilities available in the game in a fast and furious format. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it when Divinity: Original Sin 2 launches next year.