GeekParty’s David Roberts has hinted at how unforgivingly challenging Divinity: Original Sin can be.
Most of the time, this difficulty is welcome. It prolongs the life of the game and, seeing as Original Sin brings little in the way of randomness to the table (its world, and every encounter therein, has been painstakingly crafted by the developers), this means of extending your stay in the gorgeous and compelling world of Rivellon is certainly welcome.Except, sometimes, it can just be mean.
I’m going to spoil a fairly early (optional) encounter in the game, so be warned: If you have not yet explored the nooks and crannies outside the gates of Cyseal, this may make you unduly aware of what lies ahead. Given the context, though, that might be welcome.
I was actually on a side mission from Cyseal’s Legion commander, Aureus, to investigate the disappearance of some of his Legionnaires, sent to a church just to the northeast of Cyseal’s gates with the aim of clearing it out. When I arrived, I found the entire site coated in fire, flaming skeletons populating its interior. I decided to, instead of a frontal approach, work my way around through the graveyard at its back (a graveyard that is, itself, full of meta-humor and silliness, well in touch with the game’s willingness to make fun of itself).
As I was traipsing through the cemetery, though, I came across a man who was clearly mad (the game told me as such), raving about creatures of his consuming me. The dialogue ended and, seconds later, battle began.
Which was when a couple dozen bomb-bearing skeletons, fuses already lit, spawned in around me from all sides. The madman immediately shielded himself in preparation for the blast as I tried, fruitlessly, to pick off the numerous tightly-clustered groups of explosive foes before they charged in for the kill. Between their numbers and the lack of distance between my party and their foes, it was a losing proposition.
It took multiple attempts before I decided, on a whim, to try casting a rain spell. Their fuses out, my foes could no longer detonate at will, and they were quickly picked off with fireballs and even in melee, the madman sent to an eternal slumber among the other graves.
This is far from the hardest encounter I’ve had in Divinity: Original Sin. At least, this time, there was something of a trick to it. Still, it stands as an excellent illustration of just how utterly brutal the game can be. It intensifies the thrill from each moment of exploration, if only because there’s that constant threat of death at every turn.