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Divine Divinity Review
game: Divine Divinity
four star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Larian Studios
date posted: 09:10 AM Fri Nov 1st, 2002
last revision: 06:35 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

By Todd Allens

Without a doubt, Divine Divinity is one of the best RPG\'s of the year. This game solidly proves that \"if it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it.\" There are very distinct reasons we love our computer role-playing games and Divine Divinity capitalizes on just about all of them. When playing you\'ll notice that while the many quests and obstacles you face aren\'t quite reinventing the genre, they are making sure you stay right where you are. This is an addictive title. My hat is off to Larian Studios and CDV for their hard work. Thanks to their collaboration, you\'ll once again be kissing your social life goodbye.

Naturally you\'ll expect to encounter a strong story to back up any decent role-playing experience. Divine Divinity delivers quite a long one attached to the game in Adobe Acrobat format. While not exactly original, the story does help to set the stage for the game. Once you boil down the dialogue and drama, the story becomes recognizable. In the past there was a huge battle where the forces of good stood hopelessly outmatched, yet they narrowly escaped an all-powerful dark lord. He was banished and his followers began to die off as time passed, but nonetheless he has found a way to remerge and cast terror in the world again. Granted, that is a short synopsis, but veterans of the genre will be less than stunned by the plot. Still, though, it holds water and is beefy enough to hold your attention for the real treats in this game.

Graphically, Divine Divinity is quite possibly one of the best looking 2-D role-playing games around. There is a great amount of detail lurking within every nook and cranny. You can tell that the developers took a lot of time to create a really strong atmosphere, something integral to players\' immersion into a good title. The characters are large and quite detailed, each possessing their own distinct style. The large inventory of weapons and armor are also presented in a very satisfying manner. The animation is very fluid due to the developers\' extra effort put into anticipating the myriad of scenarios your character will find him/herself in. This all congeals into a lot less work for your imagination. Getting lost in this game is much easier thanks to the beautiful presentation.

Divine Divinity hits another homerun in the sound department. To compliment the great graphics is a classical score, which always manages to capture the feeling of your surroundings. There are quite a few voiceovers as well. While the voices aren\'t exactly outstanding, they fail to noticeably take away from the game.

Divine Divinity\'s interface and control system is easy to come to grips with. At the bottom of the screen you\'ll find everything you need to know, from your health to your current spell, are just a click away. There are times when players may become frustrated with the interface, but that can be remedied with hotkeys. I especially appreciate the ease with which you can execute both physical and magical attacks using the mouse. Simply left clicking an enemy once will send you into the melee, while right clicking will activate your current spell. You\'ll really love this if you choose to play a mixed character that employs both methods of attack because the transition from one to another is seamless.

Cosmetically Divine Divinity has got all its bases covered, but much of its beauty shines through in the awesome skill development of your character. Basically you can choose from three paths, the warrior, the survivor, or the mage. Players can also choose to be either male or female. The warrior employs many of the usual skills you\'d expect to find associated with one who spends most of their time swinging a sword or axe. The same is true for the survivor, or thief, and the mage class. The greatness of the system comes from the total freedom it gives you. Have you always wanted a mage with lock picking skills that can wear armor and swing an axe? When you think of the skill tree in those terms and the thousands of different combinations you can create, you\'ll start to really appreciate some of the beauty of Divine Divinity. You can always choose to be a true mage, warrior, or survivor if you want; this game is all about choices.

What would a great character be without a wide world to wreak havoc in? Divine Divinity will drop you into a massive, open-ended world full of interesting people to meet, rob, or do battle with. Developers say the game consists of over 20,000 screens. There are over a hundred NPC\'s to interact with that go about their own business, not simply standing around waiting to talk to you. Just about every object can be identified or taken a-la Morrowind. There are loads of quests to embark on too, ranging from murder mysteries to political intrigue. One of the early quests drops a tough decision in your lap. Two good men are deathly ill and you can only save one, but who are you to play God? That\'s just a taste of what your character will have to unravel.

Rarely do we get to play games that can include so many of the things we love about RPG\'s. Larian Studios has created a game that single-handedly produces a deep skill system that allows for endless customization, a large number of interesting NPC\'s, great graphics, and above average sound. I doubt many people were looking for Divine Divinity; it definitely has sleeper written all over it. Granted, this game is may seem unoriginal at first glance. One of the biggest things games are rewarded for is innovation and trail blazing. This game doesn\'t really do that. What it does do, quite well in fact, is remind us why we are willing to give up such large amounts of time to sit in front of a computer. This is a solid buy for any role-playing fan looking for a new challenge.