Game Review: Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity, Divinity II
The Divinity anthology is a fairly old game now, but it actually has surprising play value despite its drawbacks. For sheer gameplay experience, it more than rivals more recent games like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -- and you will actually see elements of these games in Divinity, only done better. Which is not to say there's outright plagiarism, but just proof the old writers' adage, "all writing is re-writing" -- good ideas and story structures just tend to resurface again and again.
-- Mechanics suck. Strangely, it won't matter too much because you are basically playing for story and gameplay experience. What it does is favour certain character builds and makes playing other character types possibly too hard or annoying to play. If you then increase the difficulty beyond the recommended "Normal", then some builds become impossible.
- No full respec. You can re-do skills, but not stats without third-party software. You can end up with a build that won't be able to finish the game. And each game is so long that it can basically be a huge waste of time to restart.
+ A lot of content. There are a ton of sidequests to do, as well as a wide variety. If you boil down the tasks, they will probably distill into kill-this-for-me or "Fedex" fetch-this-for-me quests. But the dressing around each quest really gives it life.
+ Alternate outcomes. Especially in Divinity II, many sidequests have alternate resolutions. Ultimately it won't affect the main quest so much, but not many games offer this because it is a lot of scripting to handle.
+ Big environments to explore. Not as big as Morrowind or Oblivion, but you also don't have endless tracts of nothing. Each area has something so you don't have to run far to encounter something interesting.
+ Sense of humour.
-0 Samey environments. For older games, this is to be expected, so in consideration that these Divinity games are in fact older, there is no real penalty. But if you insist on top-class graphics and a ton of graphic resources, you won't find it here. That said, Divinity II does have decent artwork and models.
+ Continuity - If you played the previous games, you will see stories and cameos from previous games in subsequent ones, adding to the richness of experience and giving you a reward for having experienced the previous stories. Not as complexly done with the same range of significant alternate outcome as the Mass Effect Trilogy, but nevertheless a nice touch.
++ Fast paced and flowing combat with convenient targeting. One of the best interfaces for real-time combat, especially in Divinity II. Makes it slightly easy with auto-targeting, but it also means your manual dexterity as a *player* does not get in the way of playing the game since it doesn't affect the *character* you control. Comes with combat pause so that you can react more or less as quickly as the computer-controlled enemy. Something that the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games have only feebly resolved.
With respect to Oblivion and Skyrim, if you play Divinity II you will see similarities to both games, just in a more exciting way. Both Divinity II and Oblivion take you to alternate hellish worlds. Skyrim lets you be a dragon descent and ride dragons; Divinity II actually lets you BE A DRAGON.
As an older game, it holds up remarkably well compared with many newer games that are often more style than substance.
We highly recommend buying the older Divinity games on GOG (Good Old Games) because of the more immediate support through GOG: