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April 26th, 2013, 23:45
I don't intend to play this game, but just for the sake of argument:

It's not about the action, as pleasing as it was, as much as it is the freedom to perform that action.

"Freedom" is not a term I'd use to describe the last Divinity game. In that game, there were x numbers of things the player could do at any point in the game, most of which could be skipped, but the number of options was fairly small and I suspect most people did everything they could have done. For instance, I spent a whole lot of time doing the save-load shuffle to make sure I got lots of Goblin hearts (though I can't remember what they were for, now). That means I did everything I could have done numerous times in the early game. On my first play through. That's not good game design, in my opinion. Likewise, I can recall doing a lot of save-load-shuffle for item rewards when I wasn't happy with what was on offer. If "lets see what cool things we can do in this are with these available options" qualifies as freedom, then I guess the game had it, but the list of options was woefully small and most of them were one-offs so the only way to repeat them was another play-through or save-load-shuffle. Overall, I'd describe the last game as kind of an MMO design, only without the mass quantities of other players and without the constantly environment being dynamically refreshed all the time. Might have worked if they'd had an epic story, but to me it just felt like an MMO grind with no point to it, since it wasn't an MMO.

If this reviewer is saying it's a sandbox game like Skyrim or the Fallouts then maybe I'd reconsider, these devs are capable of infusing their areas with a certain charm. But if he's saying "it's so cool because I can kill quest NPCs instead of working for them! And I can kill my team mates instead of working with them" is freedom, then to hell with that. What game doesn't allow people to be jackasses, these days? Game developers realized a long time ago most their customers are sociopaths. I think Baldur's Gate II was the last game I played where there was a sincere expectation that a lot of people would want to be "good guys". Since then it's just about picking from the right list of trivialities to give you the alignment you want, while being the same miserable SOB you'd have been if you'd gone the other way.
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