It also helps that I ended my last play session on a heck of a cliffhanger, with a battle against magisters being interruped by a gigantic void worm. The first session posted at the starts with fight against said worm, while my second play session revolves around just about getting off of this initial island that is mostly comprised of Fort Joy and a marsh wasteland.
It's been practically a month since my last foray into Divinity - Original Sin 2. A bit part of this was because of the directionless muddling I was doing to try and access Braccus Rex's vault, but even more than that was the strain this game was putting on my iPad's hard drive. At 17.15GB, I have to do a lot of juggling with app offloads and reinstalls just to maintain room for it.
In fact, my break came about because its file size was such a huge headache that I deleted the app entirely for a couple of weeks--which left me hoping that its cloud save functionality was actually good and would let me resume once I decided I wanted to. For the most part, this is true, but it took more effort than I was hoping for to be able to resume progress from a fresh install of the game. I had to connect my iPad to my PC and move some files around to get this done, though I understand that the latest update to Divinity 2 also allows for save syncing with Steam cloud saves, but obviously only if you own the game on both mobile and PC (I do not).
This time, we're looking at what seems to be the PC counterpart and evolution of Regency Love. There's no apparent lineage between the creators here, but Ambition - A Minuet in Power certainly bears a close resemblance to Tea for Three's excellent (and underrated) mobile title about the trials and tribulations of navigating the complicated social web of old European high society.
Back in February of 2021, Genshin Impact added an event called Theater Mechanicus as part of its big Lantern Rite festivities. This mode was a sort of tower defense game that challenged players to build death traps of elemental towers against waves and waves of Hilichurls, Ruin Guards, Abyss Mages, and other common Genshin Impact foes.
The major twist with the event was that your character's power completely didn't matter. Whether you were a whale with a full bench of maxed out, S-tier, five-star adventurers or a free player with nothing of the sort, Theater Mechanics was an accessible, challenging, and super-satisfying event to take on in single-player or co-op. The only bummer about the whole thing was that Theater Mechanicus was a time-limited event and it disappeared after just a couple of weeks.
It is on this 10th entry in the Divinity - Original Sin 2 Gameplay Journal that I completely found myself at a loss of what to do. After trekking back to Amadia to bask in the praise for rescuing Gareth, I found myself with some clear instructions but not a good sense of how to perform them.
The plan itself is simple: steal a boat to get off this island. It seems the best chance to do that is to pick up some weapons that can pacify the Shriekers guarding the harbor. Those weapons are hidden away in the tomb of someone named Braccus Rex, which was easy enough to find, but all I could find there was a blocked door, rude skeleton, and not much else to go on.
For this entry, we looked at what would probably make a good case for reinterpreting Doom as a turn-based affair tuned for mobile. Jupiter Hell may not be on the App Store, but it sure as heck feels like it should, and it brings sci-fi horror, heavy metal, gore, and gunplay together in ways that remind me of old-school 90s shooter aesthetics.
I've been playing Luca Redwood's latest release, Infinity Island, for almost a week now, and I'm a little perplexed. The mind behind innovative, premium titles like 10000000 and Photographs put out an idle game fueled by ads and in-app purchases that is remarkable mostly by how pedestrian it is.
In it, you collect little pets on a cartoonish desert island by launching a hook out to sea to retrieve boxes of loot. These pets produce currency automatically that you can use to purchase various upgrades, almost all of which serve to help you produce currency faster. At various points throughout the game, you can also opt to watch ads to double your rewards or make in app purchases to accelerate your progress. If you ever reach a state where progression seems to plateau, the game offers to reset (or "Infinity") your island and allow you to spend some other currency to accelerate your progression rate on the new island.
You see, Genshin Impact is a service game, but since last winter there had been precious little added to the experience. Post-Dragonspine, a couple of story quests showed up and a trickle of new characters came and went, but there was nothing really new and exciting for players to latch onto--regardless of whether they played daily or dropped off months ago. This summer showed a glimpse of excitement with a temporary archipelago being added to the game, but the whole experience felt like stopgap effort designed to prevent more of the player base moving on to something else.
The more I explore The Hollow Marshes, the more two things are evident: First is that The Divine Order is categorically evil. Second is that these marshes are confusing as all heck. In both video segments for today, I alternate between wandering around like a lost puppy and stumbling upon magisters that are doing bad stuff. At least one of those things makes me feel better about killing that blind, defenseless chap from the last entry.
The first video starts with me wandering up on some sorcerers that have been crucified, seemingly by The Divine Order. The nearby elf suggests there is nothing I can do to help them, though I find a way to seek vengeance soon enough. Not far from the brutal scene is a camp of dead Seekers that eventually leads me to the group of magisters that killed them. I didn't think twice about attacking, and feel like Divinity - Original Sin 2 has finally surpassed any point of sympathy or curiosity I might have had for The Divine Order. There's no perspective they could have that makes what they are doing seem worth it. They will continue to die by my hand as often as I can make it so.
In any case, my fight with these magisters got cut off prematurely, so I finish it off at the top of the second video here. From there, I find a mysterious dungeon with a cursed door that has killed some greedy magisters (good), though it doesn't really do the same to me (weird). I couldn't puzzle out how to open that door, but I found some more magisters to kill in order to meet Gareth, a Seeker who is looking for weapons that will help him steal a magister boat to get off this island. My guess is those weapons are behind that dungeon door and that that's my next step in Divinity - Original Sin 2's main quest.
All that said, I spent much of the rest of my time in this play session kind of wandering. It is almost never clear to me where I am supposed to go in this game, and the map system seems horribly unclear. Perhaps it's all these years of playing mobile games but I wish at some point there was just a way to teleport to the next thing I wanted to do or an arrow that could point me to where to go. I am finding some things along the way as I wander, but some of it is equally as puzzling so it doesn't quite feel all that rewarding.
I'm really hoping that in my next entry or two I'll have these weapons and be on a ship off this island. Only time will tell though. Maybe I'll be marooned here forever. Until next time!
The Hollow Marshes continue to get weirder and weirder the more I explore them. After some much-needed character maintenance at the top of the first video, I came across my first true crossroads in Divinity - Original Sin 2 that didn't feel like a forced choice. The second video has me actually encountering a Shrieker, which was mentioned as The Divine Order's super weapon in the previous entry, before wandering up on some more Voidwoken.
In the last gameplay journal for Divinity - Original Sin 2, I said goodbye to Fort Joy as I wandered deeper into The Hollow Marshes, and I was not exactly prepared for what I found. This area is packed with new info and lore about what is happening in the battle over the Sorcerers (i.e. you, your party, and anyone blessed with magical abilities), but with all these reveals I also encounter more and more questions.
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Genesis Noir. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
It's becoming a trend now: PC card games by and large work well on touch interfaces. That is part of the reason why this entry focuses on Roguebook. Other big reasons we're taking a look at it include the fact that Richard Garfield--creator of Magic: The Gathering and (more recently) Keyforge--worked on the design of the card game while the game itself was developed by Abrakam, the team behind what is still my absolute favorite digital collectible card game, Faeria. Side note: Faeria is also great on Steam Link.
Now that I have my quest legs, Divinity - Original Sin 2 is feeling more and more like an epic quest than a curiously rich playground. It also seems like a good sign that I'm ready to break free of the chains keeping me in this starting area to crack open this game and really see what's lying underneath.
It only took me four entries in this journal to finally advance some quests instead of just pick them up! Fort Joy has been an entertainingly complex starting area, but it always just seemed I was spinning my tires trying to find the key to moving things forward. I was getting into fights and learning things about the world, sure, but my quest log just seemed to keep adding tasks and I wasn't sure exactly how to check them off the list.
All last week I was away on a trip, which seemed like a good test for Divinity - Original Sin 2. Would it be a good game to actually fire up outside of the confines of my own home? It turned out to be a less than ideal test environment though as I did not take transit to my destination and my time away was full of programmed activities. During any downtime that I had, I preferred dipping into more familiar standbys like Genshin Impact or League of Legends: Wild Rift.
But now I'm back and the Gameplay Journal continues. This entry really highlights how deep a game Divinity - Original Sin 2 compared to basically any other mobile game (and arguably most other games in general), as I spent almost 45 minutes in a small prison area, and spending most of that time in a single skirmish. It was pretty awesome, but Divinity - Original Sin 2 still seems to go out of its way to remind you that all of its depth and potential comes with some jank.