PAX West 2017: Divinity: Original Sin II: What Came First the Voidworm or the Egg?

Divinity: Original Sin II is finally in the home stretch of its highly anticipated release date. An early build of the first act has been available through Steam Early Access for about a year now and it’s a safe bet anyone reading this really wants to get their hands on the final version. While it is still just a little too early to go into a full rundown of the final game, Hardcore Gamer did recently get to spend some time in Act II which will not be available prior to September 14. For those curious about some features that are not currently available, we’re willing to share our experience with the not quite final but really getting close to completion build.

Recently Larian Studios revealed their final origin character Fane and with him the undead race that can be used for creating custom characters. Each playable race in Divinity: Original Sin II can be selected as a body type for custom undead character, leading to even more individualization options for players. The undead lizard was one of the more interesting models that resulted from the addition of this new feature, as they look as if a dinosaur skeleton from a museum decided to take up arms and march into battle. In addition to looking different than the more conventional RPG character choices, the undead require strategic reworking in combat. An example of a different approach players will need to take with the undead is heal potions damage them and poison heals them.

Having Fane in the party opened up some interesting options when some freshly slain individuals of no consequence whatsoever were encountered. Using an ability he was able to see nearby ghosts and was able to communicate with them and perhaps assist them with resolving whatever issue was preventing them from obtaining proper rest. Taking on these quests to lay these souls to rest would have been the noble and heroic thing to do. This was a play session with limited time, however, and while these consequences may have been weighed if this was a personal save file, nothing I did carried any consequence once the appointment concluded, and as such Fane absorbed these lost souls into his own source power. Evil? Perhaps, but it was rather amusing at the time.

A slain dwarf lay next to the now empty flesh husks of the recently consumed souls, but Fane did not dine on this fresh soul. Don’t think that Fane was getting soft all of a sudden as he had a different sinister plan for this beautiful bearded face which is where he chose to rip his face off and construct a mask of it, allowing him to appear as a dwarf to all other inhabitants of the world and have access to dwarven racial abilities. It was then explained by one of the presenters, the same one who commented on how evil absorbing the souls into source was, that multiple masks can be collected, so that Fane or a player created undead character can masquerade as any race as they choose in a given situation. Non undead characters can also wear these masks, so making four masks of each race can allow the player to disguise the whole team for any given situation for some Hannibal Lecter based shape-shifting trickery.

After we finished committing horrible acts of abusing the recently deceased the party decided to take on a more heroic endeavor. We traveled to a nearby farm and found some rather distressed chickens. Using the Pet Pal perk, we were able to ascertain by talking with the chickens that the big mother hen known as Big Marge (possibly a Pee Wee’s Big Adventure reference) was greatly distressed because something ran off with her eggs. Despite being undead and largely skeletal in appearance, Fane had just feasted on some souls of the recently deceased, and being as souls are part of a complete breakfast, he didn’t need to use Big Marge’s misfortune as a starting point to seek nourishment. Fane and his companions decided to be heroes go on a journey to retrieve the chicken matriarch’s unprocessed omelettes. Without giving any spoilers, we’ll say that the egg retrieval quest revealed that some of the enemy creatures grow quite a bit larger in the areas of the game that aren’t available in that Early Access build.

This newly-seen content of Divinity: Original Sin II indicates that the high amount of player freedom available in Early Access is just the tip of the iceberg in what will be available in the final version. Consuming wayward souls for source wasn’t even remotely surprising, but taking orders from a mother hen to rescue her unhatched chicks was a bit out of left field, but since this is a quest that was randomly stumbled upon in a thirty minute play session from a game that is likely over 100 hours per play through one can only imagine the amount of unusual missions that await players in this upcoming title. While this quest is a strong contender for the silliest thing that have been personally observed in Divinity: Original Sin II, it’s not indicative of the tone as a whole, as anyone who has experienced the Early Access build can attest. But having side quests like this in a game that can deals with such dark subject matter can be a welcome moment of levity.