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Times Digital Download: Divinity Original Sin
January 28, 2018 | 3:24 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan
Two brave souls stand against complete destruction.
 
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What would happen if The Lord of the Rings met Game of Thrones? One of the first questions many would ask is who’d win in a fight between Eddard Stark and Boromir, not that it would matter: Sean Bean has a propensity to die in whatever he stars, and for most of us, that would likely be the end of the matter.

Not, though, for the creative folks at Larian Studios. That seems to have fuelled the creative drive behind the Belgian developers’ fantasy release, with a little sprinkling from the magical realm of Walt Disney thrown in for good measure.

And while all of these elements may not hit you all at once as you begin exploring the superbly crafted realm of Divinity: Original Sin, many of you are sure to experience plenty of fantasy-based déjà vu as you work your way through this immensely enjoyable crowdfunded masterpiece that has been so lovingly put together by the people in Ghent.

While there are many unconventional aspects to Divinity, it is the familiar blend of the comfortable blended with the new that makes the game so immersive. The premise of the game is (seemingly) simple at first, but as any seasoned role-playing gamer will tell you, how a game begins and ends are often poles apart.



You and your friend – yes, there is a multiplayer option – but the computer will take over if you are in single player mode – are Source Hunters, noble, loyal warriors who tirelessly work to eradicate the vile strain of death magic known as Sourcery (yes, yes, I know) – who have been dispatched to the port town of Cyseal in the kingdom of Rivellon, around which the evil magic seems to have once again snaked its dark fingers.

Finding the source of the Source, though, will have to wait: Cyseal is being battered by an Orc invasion, and only the legendary bravery of the Legion and the wizard Arhu’s enchanted ballista are keeping the greenskins at bay. If the chaos engulfing the town isn’t enough to make people crazy and start flinging whatever they can get their hands on at each other, the town’s loving Councillor, Jake, has also been murdered, but with so much of the townspeople’s energies focused outward, there is little time to dwell on what’s happened within.

That’s where the Source Hunters come in, and as they begin to get to the Source of the mysteries surrounding Cyseal, they realise that everything is interlinked: the town healer’s apprentice, herself a Sourcerer, was placed in the town to destroy it from within, was embedded within by Leandra, the leader of a cult called the Immaculates, which prizes the power of Sourcery and lording themselves over all others (how nice of them) above all else.

To hasten their conquest of Rivellon, the Immaculates have signed a bloody pact with the orcs, promising them power that they’ve never quite received from the humans, who’ve always looked down upon them as ugly, green-skinned brutes. While the orcs lay siege to Cyseal from the beach, human soldiers who breathe their last on the battlefield are resurrected by the Sourcerers to fight against those they called their comrades in arms just a few days ago.

All of this, though, is only a smokescreen set up by Leandra, whose ultimate goal is to resurrect Braccus Rex, the Sourcerer King, and return Rivellon to its dark, fearsome past. To hasten her goal and build an army of minions loyal to Braccus (but mostly her), she’s tasked the villagers who inhabit the nearby Luculla Forest to mine Tenebrium, a toxic metal that she will use to create Death Knights, a mighty, selfless band of warriors – er no, scratch that – they’re immortal to both swords and sorcery (the good kind) that will help spread Braccus’ dread across the land.

But unbeknown to Leandra, the world as it she knows it may soon cease to exist: the Devourer of Time is returning to this realm, so that he may consume all in his wake, and that is the actual reason for the Source Hunters’ visit to Cyseal.

Turns out that the Source Hunters were once great generals who united the land in the face of terrifying, all-consuming darkness. Once they defeated the great other-worldly beast, they were tasked with guarding his prison so that the world they lived in would not ever experience another cataclysm. But the war they were in changed them: one grew ever most lustful for blood and power, the other became weary of it.

With no one to guard the beast’s eternal prison, he once again began to wreak havoc across the land. As the origin of all Source energy in the universe, such was his nature, such was his way. Punished for their dereliction of duty, the Source Hunters were exiled to the realm of mortal man as ordinary humans, their duties so far serving as penance for once again earning the right to ascend into immortality and return to their everlasting roles and vigilant guardians of the realm of Rivellon.

Divinity: Original Sin, Larian Studios’ fantastical award-winning game, is one that is sure to be enjoyed, not by gamers alone, but those who have always wanted to nurture in themselves that undying love for adventure.

That’s some heady stuff right there, and it turns out to be a lot more intoxicating once you get around to playing the game.

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The Short and Skinny

Name: Divinity: Original Sin

Genre: Tactical RPG

Producers: Larian Studios

What it’s about: Two brave souls are all that stand against the complete destruction of the world as they know it. The hour of judgement is at hand. Will they stand against the coming darkness?

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Max OSX, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Where to buy: PlayStation Store, Steam, Xbox Marketplace, iTunes, Humble Bundle, gog.com

IGN Rating: 9/10

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