'Divinity: Original Sin'

From: Larian Studios

Rated: T (rated only in Europe)

Who it's for: Who it's for: Fans of deep, old-school RPGs.

Console: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Grade: A-

Do you remember sitting in a friend's basement loading up on Oreos and Hawaiian Punch, all while leading your carefully crafted character though whatever twisted adventure the Dungeon Master dreamed up?

Yes, I'm talking about good, old-fashioned role-playing games, the type that took pencils and paper and dice with more than six sides. And those who played — be it "Dungeons and Dragons," "G.U.R.P.S." or, my personal favorite, the "James Bond 007" game — knew the joy of escaping our boring, everyday worlds into some sort of fantasy existence.

Some computer games do a better job of transporting us back to those days of marathon questing, and whether or not you were one of the geeky "D&D" kids, it's a blast to sometimes make this escape.

While today's computer RPGs favor real-time action, with all the virtual dice rolls happening behind the scenes, there's still a loyal contingent for the classic turn-based, methodical adventures.

A product of crowdfunding sweetheart Kickstarter, "Divinity: Original Sin" comes from Larian Studios, a Belgian company that already has released a couple of underrated "Divinity" games.

For "Original Sin," Larian went to the people to see if there was enough interest to warrant a third game. After more than a million dollars in pledges, the studio moved forward and turned out a spectacular, old-school RPG.

The story itself is pretty standard fare. The two main characters are "Source" hunters who track down evildoers using — you guessed it — "Sourcery." (At least I never witnessed any character utter, "May the Source be with you.")

Set in a large, open world, "Original Sin" offers plenty of rich side missions to augment the main story line, many of which tie together to create a seamless experience that will draw you in for at least 50 hours.

(Courtesy image)

Some players more used to the modern sensibilities of games such as "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" likely will find some of the conventions here off-putting. "Original Sin" sports an overhead, isometric view that allows you to see a large swath of land at once.

Another throwback to classic RPGs is the turn-based combat. That's right, you can take all the time you want to plan your strategy and execute your move without having to worry about the enemy sneaking up behind you and burying an ax in your skull.

Now, I'm not saying "Original Sin" looks or feels like an old game just because it relies on some of the mechanics of gaming past.

I expect most players will find the turn-based aspect of combat beneficial while trying to figure out the best way to use and combine spells to take down some of the game's crafty baddies. Baddies, I might add, that can use the same spell combinations on you.

You also will find plenty of reasons to use your magic outside of combat to solve many environmental puzzles, a rarity among RPGs where the best excuse to use spells in the field is healing yourself or another player.

The game's graphics are gorgeous, and you don't need a supercomputer to run it in all its high-resolution glory. The environments are diverse and there's plenty of area to explore.

The sound is a bit more uneven, with a few decent voices and some nice orchestration, but it has an overall vanilla feel that really doesn't liven things up much. It doesn't make the game less fun, but it doesn't enhance it, either.

Really, the game's biggest fault is its steep learning curve. The menu system isn't as refined as it could be, and it takes both thought and practice to figure out how the systems fall in place.

There is a tutorial, but it's brief and incomprehensive, and beyond that, you're on your own. This also adds to the classic feel of the game but will eliminate casual fans.

Those interested should note that "Divinity: Original Sin" is not available at retail outlets in the United States. You can order a copy from Larian in Belgium or get it digitally from Steam.

Those who love a great, old-fashioned RPG can't go wrong with "Divinity: Original Sin." And for extra nostalgia, just add Hawaiian Punch to the mix.