Beyond Divinity is the latest title from Larian Studios; you might know them from their previous RPG “Divine Divinity”. I never played the game but apparently it was a very good RPG with a strong story and solid game play.
Beyond Divinity takes place years after Divine Divinity. You are a servant of the Divine One, you fight evil everywhere you can. Unfortunately for you, you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. An Arch Demon, Samuel, appears out of nowhere during your battle with a powerful necromancer. He destroys your entire fellowship and leaves only one alive: you. The Demon takes you to his dimension where he has big torture plans for you in mind. However, your Death Knight guard did a lousy job and you profited from that to escape. Although you didn’t get far, you pissed off the Demon.
Samuel soul-forges you with a Death Knight as a punishment for both you and the Death Knight. Neither of you like this new situation and although you like the movie “Stuck on you”, you don’t think the Death Knight feels like having a hamburger place with you.
You both decide to escape from the dungeon and later the dimension. You need to flee to Rivellon where the curse can be undone. The task won’t be easy.
Unlike other RPGs you start immediately with a party of two members, the Death Knight and the hero. Which is a nice change although it took me some time getting used to it.
The game has 5 acts, the first act is pretty linear and is excellent to get used to the game and getting into the story. You have to escape from the citadel where you were kept prisoner. Along the way you’ll have to take care of guards, do some quests for NPC’s and get to know your new best friend: the Death Knight. Quite a charming chap with a taking personality I must say.
Act 2 takes you to the Imp village, it’s a very open act, you’ll get quests from all sides and you have the freedom to choose where to go first. Some areas will be harder than others so you might want to gain some strength first before trying that particular quest again. Doing a quest in an easier area is the perfect solution then.
Act 3 evolves around the Temple, which humans conquered from the Raanaar (the new race in the Divinity universe) and meeting the Raanaar Rebels. This was my favorite act, very big, a lot of quests and many cool monsters and NPC’s.
In Act 4 you’ll have to prove yourself to the Raanaar in their academy, they want to know if you’re worthy of learning the secret art of riftrunning. Creating your own rift is crucial to escape from the demon dimension to Rivellon, but you’ll have a long road ahead before this happens.
When the game is finished you have the option to play in an endless loop of newly generated Battlefields, this way the game never ends but you don’t really have a goal anymore except for the quests Battlefield traders give you.
The storyline from Beyond Divinity is really amazing, the more you play the more you get to know about the story and it’s really something that sucks you into it. I was actually writing a lot more when describing the acts but decided to delete it all since it was just giving away too much spoilers. It’s really something you have to experience for yourself.
Let’s focus on the gameplay for a moment.
As said before you have two characters to start with, you can follow the path of warrior, wizard or survivor. Your initial choice only affects your starting stats points (more in strength, more in intelligence or more in survival). You’re free to spend points from then on.
Personally I had a Death Knight with melee powers, gave him lots of strength and constitution (vitality). I made my Hero a Survivor, points in survival and agility to give him a crossbow.
There is a particular interesting secondary stat that is called “Luck”, intrigued as I was I decided to boost that to the max. Having a lot of points in “Luck” makes you find magical items more often, and boy, did I. Compared to people without this luck-factor I had some major kick ass equipment, the side effect was that I had invested both skill and stats points purely to raise my luck while other people used those to get nice magical attacks.
I had a lot of luck, but others had cooler skills to use. So I decided halfway the game to turn my Survivor into a Wizard and enjoy some magic whoop-ass powers as well. By that time I had so mych equipment that boosted my luck with +15 and things like that I could unlearn my Luck-skills and invest in some magic stuff.
It’s quite amazing how many skills this game has, that’s one of the reasons it’s really cool to have 2 party members to start with. Every level up is one skill point extra for both characters. When you laid the base for your character you can easily give other skills to him that are not really his path. A survivor can have some melee and magic skills etc.
You can create a very versatile character this way. My survivor had warrior skills for more accuracy with the crossbow, magic skills for some impressive spells and survival skills like “pickpocket” to steal stuff from the NPC’s (which is so cool to do!)
Every act has a Summoning Doll, which is actually another member for your party.
Summoning Dolls do have a range though, when they walk out of that range they die. When they die there will be a short time penalty before you can summon them again. I only found them really useful when one of my characters had some skills to boost them. In the beginning I just used them as mules, placing some stuff in their inventory etc. Later on I placed some skill points in radius so their range was a lot bigger and invested some points in Summoning Doll level upgrade.
Demons and other creeps alike soon regretted mocking the Death Knight with the “Aren’t you a bit old and evil to play with Barbie?”-comment.
Battlefields are also something new. Battlefields are an ideal way to gain some more experience and find some very cool items to ease your journey through the game.
Every act has its own Battlefield you will have to unlock by finding one of the big magical Battlefield keys somewhere in your current act. Every Battlefield has a certain amount of dungeons. It’s necessary to find multiple keys to unlock every dungeon in the Battlefields. Gaining access to a level 5 Battlefield unlocks the level 5 dungeon and all dungeons under that level.
When you gained access to a Battlefield you can go and leave there whenever you please.
Every Battlefield has a small camp where merchants have placed their camps. They are the ones that give you the Battlefield quests, sell their equipment and teach you various skills to unlock in your skill tree.
Another thing I really liked in the game was the voice acting; unlike in the demo where I found the Death Knight a horrible voice to listen to I really enjoyed him in the full game. It’s always a good sign if you’re starting laughing not realizing there are other people sitting around you and watching you with a weird look. And it happened quite some times, I really loved the humor in this game.
Graphic wise the game is not impressive, although certain spells are really beautiful and amazed me. There is nothing wrong with the 3d models in the game but the settings and backgrounds could have been nicer.
Overall I had a blast with this game, it has been a while that I played a good story RPG and this is one. It took me around 80 hours to finish the game and even then I did not complete all sub quests and battlefields.