by Preston Dozsa
previewed on PC
A second Original Sin
The sequel to the expansive, co-operative RPG that Hooked Gamers named their 2014 Game of the Year has added competitive multiplayer. What’s more surprising is that it shows a lot of promise.
The PAX East demo for Original Sin 2 was strictly designed to showcase the new competitive multiplayer mode in one of two maps. Each player only had two characters to control and multiple classes ensured that there was variety to choose from. I settled on a ranger and a mage, while Sven Vincke, Divinity’s creative director, chose a warrior and ranger.
The multiplayer demo I played was meant to showcase several of the new gameplay features that have been developed for the sequel. Jumping into the first map, it was quickly apparent that elevation will be a pivotal factor in fights, as it increases the range and damage for all attacks. For my ranger, who quickly relocated to the top of a wall, that meant that his attack range could hit the spawn area of my opponents, whom I quickly welcomed by firing a poison gas arrow into their midst.
Anyone familiar with the original game knows that environmental surfaces play a big role in combat. Larian have brought the mechanic back for the sequel, though they have included a bless/curse dynamic that alters what the effect of each surface is. As an example, Vincke cursed the fire my mage unfortunately happened to be standing in so that it would deal necrotic damage instead of fire damage. Later, I blessed the fire, causing it to heal my mage instead.
The final major addition to combat are Source surfaces, which grant points to characters that touch them to enable use of their secret abilities. Unfortunately, I could not try out any of these skills, as I was too focused on not dying to experiment with them.
Speaking of, I was the cause of my own misfortune in my match with Vincke, as I happened to accidentally cause an enemy and barrel to switch places via teleportation. I meant to throw the explosive barrel at the opposing warrior, but I accidentally wasted an ability point via a miss-click. And now the enemy was five feet from my mage with a big sword ready to cut him down.
Next, Vincke decides that the next step - to prevent me from regaining momentum - is to cast Shackles of Pain on my ranger so that any damage his warrior suffers will also be felt by the only character healthy enough to do anything about it. I attempted to stun the warrior, but only succeeded in knocking my mage out, leaving me wide open for a hail or arrows to pin my ranger to the ground. If there’s anything that I took away from this demo, it’s that there is a lot to keep track of in game, as there are numerous options for approaching any situation. So fans, take heart; the gameplay is just as complex as it was in Original Sin.
PVP will tie in with the cooperative campaigns, which Larian is expanding to include four players at once instead of the two in the original game. At the beginning of the game, players will choose an origin story and race that will drastically affect how other characters and factions perceive them, as well as how you perceive others. In conversation, it is entirely possible for players to pick different options in how they will approach a situation. This even extends to choosing different quests, which can cause players to fight against each other for the sake of the story. Though, no matter how divergent players decisions may be, the game will inevitably bring them back together for cooperation.
The brief taste of gameplay has me wanting to see more for how this system will work. The prospect of a game where players both cooperate and compete against each other at the same time is enticing. For now, it looks like Original Sin 2 will greatly expand upon the original in multiple different ways. Time will tell if Larian can make it work.