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Minor spoilers for quests near the beginning of Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

Man, I don’t know how it is when you have to sync up your schedule with someone else, but when you’re playing this game alone, I have not experienced a time suck like this since I gave up Civ.

Every time I play it’s “I should really stop…but there’s someone right over there. I’ll just talk to them….OK NOW I’ll stop…but after I check around this corner…..OK Now. Stopping. Really. Oh, hey, a dog to talk to!”

And then, at some point, I remember I have children that need food and need to go to bed and shit.

There’s just so much! And it’s all interesting!

Though we gotta talk on this: I’m not sure how to blog on this. Usually, I play for an hour or so, something happens, I ponder on what happened, we write about it. Here, it’s just such an onslaught of content, it’s so non linear, we’re doing such different things….

There’s so much of it I can’t even really remember everything I did last night. How are we going to have coherent conversations about this?

But I’ll try.

Let’s see….last night… Got to Fort Joy. Watched a lizard magistrar get executed for helping dudes escape. Ran into Ibn Schnitzel. Helped an elf. Immediately lost track of Ibn Schnitzel. Followed an elf. Found a cave. Spent forever chatting with people in said cave. Found an undead dude who had been trapped there for a thousand years and helped him get the spear out of his chest. I now have a cool spear. Met a crab that was also a sourcerer and was very happy about being both a crab and a sourcerer. Met a sad woman who missed her family and was grateful that I talked to her about them. Met a healer who couldn’t get someone to take a potion.

There’s probably all sorts of shit I’m forgetting.

But the BEST part was the part so specific to Lohse. I’m very curious as to whether you get such instances with Sebille. I had to talk to the leader of the cave elves. She’s blind, as someone took her eyes. She “looks” at me, and is all “I can see what’s in your head….” and Lohse’s “thing” in her head starts getting angry. Everyone is panicking. I have to make persuasion checks and strength checks and shit to keep it together. I failed (twice) and, when so doing, got something like 100 dialog options all of which were “Kill the elf.” Just scrolling forever down the dialog options with nothing but “Kill the elf.” And I did not want to kill the elf. It was like that scene in the Shining when you realize he’s been typing the same thing over and over.

So I freaked out and all hell broke loose and I decided “meh, better reload.” I didn’t have to, but I’m not strong enough to deal with that sort of fight yet.

But DAMN. A mechanic where you have to keep yourself sane, and, if you don’t, that happens. That “Kill the Elf” thing was amazing. Totally nailed the idea that a) she was now nuts and b) she (and the player) didn’t want to be.

And this in a character that most people won’t ever play! You’ll never see that! Mr. O will never see that! We’ll never see all the moments they likely had for the prince and Fane and Schnitzel and Beast!

That is some serious fucking video game writing.

How are we going to blog about this?

Feminina:

We keep running over our planned game time too. “Let’s just loot this…let’s just talk to that person…hey, what’s that thing up there? Oh, we’re in a fight, I guess we’ll just finish that…”

That’s very interesting, with Lohse and sanity! Fascinating. I’ve had some character-specific conversation options while trying to recover some stolen oranges (you’ll see). They obviously put a lot of work into this.

Dude, where was the undead guy with the spear? We did a thing for him and were trying to go back and report about it, but couldn’t remember where he was. He’s in the elf cave? Because I swear we looked all over in there last night and couldn’t find him. We need to let him know we broke his soul jars for him!

And how do we blog…I guess just by talking about whatever we did, seeing what was different (it’s nice to be able to compare!–we don’t have to play the game twice to learn about some things that are different) and seeing if we can make any sense of it.

Butch:

So, just like always. Cool.

We’re just gonna have to remember SO FUCKING MUCH.

Dude, it is a vortex. And one I find myself wanting to go back to. Like, all day. Silly chores.

But man, total opposite of ACO. That game, I was like “Hmm…maybe if I play another half hour I’ll have something to talk about tomorrow that isn’t just ‘infiltrated fort, killed Kevin.'” This game I play half an hour and I’m thinking “AAAA! TOO MUCH! I’LL FORGET IT ALL!” But then I play another hour.

They did SO much work. True, I’m but three hours in, but it’s gotta be, thus far, the most fleshed out RPG world I’ve seen in a game. By far.

Dude, that sanity thing was amazing. When it just said “Kill the elf” over and over and over. The whole mechanic. The elf is pleading with you to hold it back, and it’s check after check after check. Amazing. And such a great use of the dialog mechanic. Had that been in a cutscene, or even “press a button to choose” like Detroit, wouldn’t have worked. Having to scroll through 100 responses just to see if there was any other option only works in a multiple choice system like this, a system that’s usually derided as being unimmersive.

Just brilliant.

Ah, OK, just got that quest.

You have to go through a hatch in the ground that’s in one of the alcoves in the elf cave. You find it after playing hide and seek with the kid (or, at least, that’s how I found it), and lizard has to dig it up. Just go left after entering the elf cave and find that alcove and the hatch.

Feminina:

Ah, the hatch! That’s right. I knew he was somewhere in there. We’ll go back. Gotta see if he’s happy about the thing.

And yeah, it’s absolutely true that remembering all the stuff is the hard part. There are so many things! Weird, interesting little things that may or may not be important in the long run!

We’re going to have to start taking notes. But I feel like with the last one we eventually got into a rhythm where we’d done enough of the same stuff, and noted enough of the same things about them, that we had stuff to talk about.

We’ll do our best.

Butch:

Well, I just played and learned things you likely already know. The hard way.

For example:

Healing potions kills Fane. In combat. At badly timed times.

If you’re in inventory, and you give someone, say, all your pumpkins, and pick “consume,” the person holding it doesn’t consume it unless you switch the active character. I’ll miss those pumpkins.

You have to actively talk to companions to get them to say anything interesting.

Sigh.

But I met Beast! I like Beast. Did you meet Beast?

And I got a song! Dude, you are so missing out not playing Lohse. I found this dwarf who recognized me (Lohse was famous before getting arrested), and he had a lute, and he played and I sang. Real, voiced, song. I love songs. And then he gave me his lute, and I used it, and started to play, and the insanity voice went “DESTROY THE LUTE” and she’s all “No! No! I want it!” and smashed it. And she then asked, all sad, “What was the point of that?”

Are you still thinking that sanity is not a theme of these games?

Feminina:

Oh yeah! Healing kills Fane! Sorry, we also found that out the hard way. Could have warned you!–but forgot.

But poison helps him, so if you find any bottles of poison, just send them his way and he can fling them at himself in battle.

Also–and we just learned THIS the hard way–if anyone ever casts “decay” on you, DO NOT TRY TO HEAL. It will make healing (food, potions, etc.) kill you. So long, victory in THAT time-consuming battle!

We’ve met Beast, but not traveled with him. I kind of want to travel with him, but also I kind of want to romance the Red Prince, so I’ve been focusing on him. We almost traveled with Lohse last night, to fill a gap in our party caused by Fane’s unfortunate death in a place far from where we could get any resurrection scrolls (obviously we were going back for him!), but it turns out he still counts as being in the party, even if he’s dead (or…er…more dead than usual?), so she wouldn’t come with us.

Gotta get back to him and revive him and hope being down one party member doesn’t cause us any trouble. It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

Whoa, you can’t ditch him, even dead[er]? Tough, man.

Decay. Check. Eww.

Beast is pretty great. You’re gonna love Beast. Frankly, Mr. O would’ve loved being Beast.

Of COURSE you’re gonna bang the lizard.

NEW SENTENCE! But one our readers should have REALLY EXPECTED EVENTUALLY!

Lohse is pretty great.

How far in are you that you’re romancing dudes? I’m still level two or three for fuck sake.

Feminina:

Oh, I’m not romancing him yet. I don’t even know if it’s possible. I’m just optimistic.

But no, you can’t ditch dead companions. Gotta go resurrect them and then tell them you want to travel with someone else. No “oops, he’s dead, that’s one uncomfortable conversation we won’t have to have!”

Although here’s a tip: If you leave them dead in the wilderness in order to go back to Fort Joy to pick up resurrection scrolls, and it takes you long enough, their bodies will magically teleport back to where you first met them. On the beach, in Fane’s case. Which both makes it easier to get them back to life, or undeath, and is kind of confusing if you spend all that time trekking out to where you thought they were, only to find nothing there.

Butch:

Ooo! Key tip. Thanks.

So what does “unchain” do? If you click on a companion it gives you the options like “Talk, Examine” and one is “Unchain.” You figure that out yet?

Feminina:

I think it means tell them to stop following you…like if you wanted one person to move on ahead and the rest to wait, or something. Say, if one person is good at disarming traps and wants the rest to NOT WALK ON THE TRAPS and set them all off while I’m trying to disarm them. Just as an example.

Not that that’s happened. Yet. In this game.

Or, just as another hypothetical example, one person wants to carefully walk between patches of poison or fire without the other one BLITHELY SAUNTERING RIGHT INTO it and dying. This was a popular tactic of Wolgraff’s. (I know it’s all my fault for not telling him not to follow me, but come on, dude. DON’T WALK DIRECTLY INTO FIRE, it’s not that hard.)