This is the fourth time I've gotten my hands on Divinity: Original Sin 2 since its Kickstarter launched last year, and while I didn't face off in PvP against Swen this time, I did get to play the first hour or so of the game's campaign. It continues to be an impressive sequel to an already impressive game. You can watch the video above to see an early build of the first hour of the game in its entirety, and keep reading to hear my impressions of what I played.
It's been interesting to watch Original Sin 2 evolve over the last year, but Larian Studios keeps adding features that I didn't realize I wanted until they were there in front of me. A simplified action point system, height mechanics in combat, and shields for physical and magical damage all add depth even though the game was never lacking it. But the coolest new feature I saw this time around were the Original Sin 2's pre-built origin stories.
I played the demo as a character named The Red Prince, a hand-crafted backstory for me to play through the game as, and just one of many to pick from. I chose his class, abilities, stats, and all the other stuff that comes with character creation, but he had pre-exisisting relationships in the game world. When I played him, people knew me as royalty, and The Red Prince's unique story quests revolved around that identity.
The other backstories that I didn't choose then became characters in the world for me to recruit or ignore. Last time I saw Original Sin 2, Larian showed me that members of your party could essentially declare war on each other, splitting the party and actually making them enemies, at least until their differences were resolved. But I wasn't sure why you would want to do that, especially when playing the game solo.
But backstories change everything. During the demo, the quest line of the other player controlled character in my party—being played by —made his character want to kill an NPC vital to my own character's quest line. I was forced to decide between attacking my ally or letting that NPC die, which isn't a decision I ever had to make in the first game. It didn't feel forced or scripted, it genuinely felt like our goals were simply at ends with one another.
This is one of the most exciting differences between Divinity: Original Sin 2 and its predecessor, because plot lines aren't going to be nearly as straightforward. Choices you make won't be binary decisions, there's nuance to every conversation you have. And considering you can now play co-op with four players, potentially all with their own handcrafted stories and goals, Original Sin 2 is going to have some of the most complex multiplayer politics I've ever seen.