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Default RPGWatch Feature - Divinity: Original Sin II Review

October 3rd, 2017, 15:56
While many of are still going through Divinity: Original Sin II the first time, Maylander played it twice already and penned down a review for us to share his opinions on the game.

The overall writing is excellent, and the companions are a very good example of that. Larian did something unique when writing companions: They essentially wrote six characters, each with their own personalities, their own quests and their own backgrounds, and then they let you play one of them, and recruit up to three out of five of the others. The origin stories that you can choose during character creation are actually one of the cast, and you get to step into his or her role, in addition to the role as the leader. You can also choose to customize a character, or recruit customized companions, but that means missing out on quite a lot of interesting dialogue and side quests.

The only problem with this approach is that the characters are so involved in what's going on that you could end up ruining a quest for one character by doing another quest for someone else, such as killing characters that one of the companions need to talk to. The only way to avoid this is to be careful whenever a quest leads to someone seemingly important dying, and to make progress on the companion quests as soon as possible.
More information.
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October 3rd, 2017, 15:56
Thanks Maylander.

And for the record. the given rating means: An excellent game with some minor issues or weaknesses but still very highly recommended.
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:07
Good job, @Maylander !!
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:09
Only 4 out of 5 stars? You nuts?
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:12
Originally Posted by DarkELVES View Post
Only 4 out of 5 stars? You nuts?
Went back and forth in my head a lot with the rating. It's a tough one. It's sort of a strong 4, and an EE is very likely to be a full score. However, I've only handed out one full score, ever, and that was TW3 which blew me away from start to finish.

The "cons" mentioned are just enough to prevent it from getting a full score, but barely. As I pointed out in the article: It really is a fantastic game.

Edit: Also, Corwin gave the previous one a full score, but it's worth keeping in mind that Corwin is a much nicer person than I am.
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:16
Same score as Mass Effect: Andromeda (4 out of 5)? Something ain't right.

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October 3rd, 2017, 16:23
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
Same score as Mass Effect: Andromeda (4 out of 5)? Something ain't right.
They are two very, very different games though, mostly for different audiences. I do feel that DOS2 is the better game overall, but for me it's not by the margin you'd think. A "Star Trek like explore new parts of space" type of setting is pretty much my dream concept, which is also why I spent quite some time discussing that in my MEA review, whereas I barely mentioned the setting of Divinity (the atmosphere is more important than the setting in this case).
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:34
*thumbs up*

That's pretty much my take with the game.
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:35
Regardless of what the 4 stars mean in everyone's head, what it means here on RPGWatch is that it is an excellent game with some minor issues.
The review text very much supports that.
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October 3rd, 2017, 16:37
Lemme see… Oh a few remarks.

- Tag "noble" can come from a certain equipment (hat).
- Sorry, I skipped every paragraph where "lone wolf" is mentioned, not interested in that (crap?) a single bit.
- There actually is some handholding in the game, and those are "secret chests" on the map or some specific (and to me irritating) quest flags that appear here and there but never vanish nor can be removed like user flags.
- About closing exploration lines, you are the one who makes the atmosphere on your own, poison clouds, blessed clouds, etc. Dunno what other atmosphere you're talking about.
- The bug of inventory use after charm you mention, sorry, I didn't experience. Instead, the "charmed" person (possessed actually during dwarf rescue on b. island) instantly casted fire storm and wasted my 3 source points! Then the blasted demon jumped on ifan who, guess what, casted arrow storm right away. I just wish I had that bug of yours.

Great review anyway, although I wish some more details on crafting, cheating bosses, cheese you can do or not, a few OP things, etc, but perhaps it'd make a review too long.

About the score, I have to disagree, but will say why in "finished" thread in a day or two.
IMO this game is so awsome it will be remembered as a classic. At least till DOS3 appears.
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October 3rd, 2017, 17:07
It was ok, I finished it but seriously doubt I'd ever replay this game, unlike every other Divinity game. I like and enjoy tactical situations, but having to chain break my group for almost every single battle and the fact that the early portion of the game seems to be extremely biased against melee builds would see me playing other old favourites rather than replaying this.
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October 3rd, 2017, 17:08
Originally Posted by Myrthos View Post
Regardless of what the 4 stars mean in everyone's head, what it means here on RPGWatch is that it is an excellent game with some minor issues.
The review text very much supports that.
Hey man. I don't mean to give you, RPGWatch or Maylander a hard time. You work hard, and do a lot. All of you.

But review scores do matter; we see that here on an everyday basis. Something is not right when this game, recognized as stellar across the rpg community and web, gets the same score as ME:A, recognized as way below stellar across the same rpg community and web.

Maybe the scoring system needs some tweaking.

Thanks btw for listening. I'll shut up now.

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October 3rd, 2017, 17:24
Great review. I haven't played the game, yet, but I do know its hard to give a review a number, especially when you only have 5 to choose from. Actually I essentially have 4, because I've never come close to finishing a game I'd actually give a one star rating to. Why would I bother? Here in Austria there are also only 5 grades to give kids in school, and I know that we all torture ourselves on what to give some kids. Why does one deserve this and another that. I've often pondered long over what sort of rating I'd give a game I review. Also every rating must to some degree be personal. I would have only given the first game (D:OS) 4 stars for example (I know I'm in the minority) because despite the great gameplay, I found the writing, companions, and voice acting subpar. I know others weren't bothered by these things, or thought the game's strengths far outweighed them. Even if we changed the rating system to a hundred point system, we'd never all agree on the same number for the same game.
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October 3rd, 2017, 17:39
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Great review anyway, although I wish some more details on crafting, cheating bosses, cheese you can do or not, a few OP things, etc, but perhaps it'd make a review too long.
Yeah, it was already getting very long. In fact, I suspect it's borderline when it comes to overall length; if reviews get much longer, people probably won't even bother reading them.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
About the score, I have to disagree, but will say why in "finished" thread in a day or two.
IMO this game is so awsome it will be remembered as a classic. At least till DOS3 appears.
Keep in mind there's likely to be an Enhanced Edition of this game. It doesn't actually need it, but there is likely to be one. That's the version people will be playing years from now, and I agree that it'll be remembered as a classic.

Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
Hey man. I don't mean to give you, RPGWatch or Maylander a hard time. You work hard, and do a lot. All of you.

But review scores do matter; we see that here on an everyday basis. Something is not right when this game, recognized as stellar across the rpg community and web, gets the same score as ME:A, recognized as way below stellar across the same rpg community and web.

Maybe the scoring system needs some tweaking.

Thanks btw for listening. I'll shut up now.
Personally, I still think the MEA scores across various media are absurd compared to some of the games they hand out top scores to. For example, I rate MEA ahead of ME2, and nobody would react if ME2 got a 4. It's also miles ahead of DA2, which also got great scores.

I generally think people buy into hype too much in pretty much all directions. In MEA's case, the bad publicity due to the horrible early access created a sphere of negativity that gave it a reputation it simply doesn't deserve. For those of us who are into sci-fi games and exploring space, it's probably the best game since ME1, and some would likely rate it ahead of that one as well (I wouldn't be surprised if Dartagnan rated it ahead of ME1, given his love for exploration).

Originally Posted by forgottenlor View Post
Great review. I haven't played the game, yet, but I do know its hard to give a review a number, especially when you only have 5 to choose from. Actually I essentially have 4, because I've never come close to finishing a game I'd actually give a one star rating to. Why would I bother? Here in Austria there are also only 5 grades to give kids in school, and I know that we all torture ourselves on what to give some kids. Why does one deserve this and another that. I've often pondered long over what sort of rating I'd give a game I review. Also every rating must to some degree be personal. I would have only given the first game (D:OS) 4 stars for example (I know I'm in the minority) because despite the great gameplay, I found the writing, companions, and voice acting subpar. I know others weren't bothered by these things, or thought the game's strengths far outweighed them. Even if we changed the rating system to a hundred point system, we'd never all agree on the same number for the same game.
Yeah, that's an interesting point, which goes a long way to answer the old question about why rating scales are rarely used to their full extent.

Nobody wants to create a crap game. Almost every game has a minimum effort put into it, moving it beyond 1. Then comes the reviewers: We're unlikely to even bother with games at that end of the scale. We know they're rubbish. I do play some 3's from time to time, but it's mostly 4's. The only 5 in recent years, as I've mentioned, was TW3, which I still feel is second to none in the last decade or so.

Edit: I replayed DOS1: EE recently while getting ready for DOS2, and it's a 4 for me as well. T: ToN is a 3, however, which might surprise some.
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October 3rd, 2017, 18:30
LOL, you give this review to somebody who was blown away by The Witcher… and you wonder why it got 4/5… Next on the Watch: Fallout 4, The Perfect RPG….
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October 3rd, 2017, 18:31
Excellent review !
Completely agree with your conclusion, for me the biggest issue is quests that got broken due to my exploring drift.
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October 3rd, 2017, 18:35
Stop making asinine comparisons between unrelated games. Its a 5 star system. Thats only a maximum of 6 possible scores. Of course some games will have the same freaking number.
That doesnt mean one game is objectively better than another.

The score is independent
Sheesh.
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October 3rd, 2017, 19:00
Originally Posted by mbpopolano24 View Post
LOL, you give this review to somebody who was blown away by The Witcher… and you wonder why it got 4/5… Next on the Watch: Fallout 4, The Perfect RPG….
Well, why don't you step up and write the perfect review then? This isn't a paid, professional gaming site - it's a community of people who share a passion for RPGs. Props to Maylander for taking the time to do this - and do it as well as he can. If you don't like the review, or whatever bias he has - or whatever, then fine. But a snarky comment that seems to denigrate his efforts seems pretty lame. Why not offer some constructive criticism and thoughts?
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October 3rd, 2017, 19:39
Originally Posted by mbpopolano24 View Post
LOL, you give this review to somebody who was blown away by The Witcher… and you wonder why it got 4/5… Next on the Watch: Fallout 4, The Perfect RPG….
Already reviewed it here, gave that one a 4 too. The most important part is the verdict though:

I’m fairly certain Fallout 4 will divide opinions. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic game for anyone who enjoys exploring for the sake of exploring. On the other, it has frustrating moments, technical issues and a cumbersome interface. Overall, it’s an excellent game for me personally, as I have a fairly high tolerance for glitches and what not if the content is good enough, but I fully understand people who want to wait a bit until certain things are fixed. It really does boil down to how much you enjoyed the predecessors, as the formula is almost identical.
I still feel that's pretty accurate, as it's definitely a game that divided opinions, unlike D: OS2 which is very likely to be highly rated all over the place. Hence why I didn't even mention that sort of caveat in this particular review.

Edit: Here's a top 10 list I wrote here way back in November, 2006. It has changed a bit since then, but not much, though I do wonder why I put Gothic ahead of Gothic 2, and MM6 ahead of MM7. I also thought MM7 was in my top 5, not way down on 7th. Strange.

1. Baldur's Gate 2. This is simply amazing in every aspect.
2. Gothic 1 - still the very best open world RPG I've played.
3. Placescape: Torment - dialogues anyone? Doesn't get better than this.
4. Gothic 2 - bigger and better than G1, but still lacked a certain something for me in terms of atmosphere.
5. Baldur's Gate 1 - Basically BG2 but without all the improvements.
6. Gothic 3 - Yes indeed, you find it on my top ten, despite all the bugs. Once you get through it a couple of times you'll find that it has strong points no other game to date has(at least not in full 3D).
7. Arcanum - Had loads of brilliant ideas, but fails to be mentioned by too many as a great RPG, possibly because it had too many new ideas and not enough of what people expected at the time. I still consider it among the greats though.
8. Might and Magic 6 - this is quite possibly the biggest game I've ever played. I have no idea how many days or weeks it took me to get through it, but we're talking at least twice as long as any other game. The only drawback is the rather weird ending, but otherwise this is a winner.
9. Might and Magic 7 - a bit smaller than M&M6, but with slightly better graphics and smoother gameplay it was still a great game. I like how the game has various paths to complete it, not many games have that.
10. Neverwinter Nights 2 - does it really deserve it? Yes, for one reason: The ressurrection of Baldur's Gate. This is the first game in years that resembles BG in gameplay and NPCs, and I feel it should be mentioned on a top 10 list because it is the only game nowadays that brings new hope and maybe a new future to oldschool RPGs
Anyway, maybe I should put that list into every review, so people know exactly what type of games I care about, as this discussion tends to pop up every time, heh.

Not that I mind, I like a good RPG discussion, even if it's a bit off topic.
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October 3rd, 2017, 20:05
43 reviews on Metacritic. Of those 42 rate this game 88-100. One and only one statistical outlier rates the game 80. 658 User Ratings giving 8.7 mean average user score (despite some 0 review bombs averaged into mean).

Game has set crpg records on steamspy for concurrent user players. The CCU rating continues high and undercuts any argument that the massive high ratings for game are just "media hype". Gamers are playing and continue to play in record numbers -- not media hype.

The overly negative rating of this game here is a statistical outlier by any reasonable analysis. Who knows the possible cost to Larian Studios in game sales…

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