Patrick Nolan gets hands on with Divinity: Fallen Heroes at EGX Rezzed…
Larian Studios recently announced title, Divinity: Fallen Heroes, has appeared with a playable demo at EGX Rezzed in London this week where I got a chance to play it.
The demo seemed to begin at the start of the game where a short introductory cutscene plays and introduces you to the plot. From what I could gather from playing the demo and talking to a writer at the event, the story of Fallen Heroes is a sequel to Divinity: Original Sin 2 but does not directly follow any of the several endings presented in the former game. I’m not going to spoil the endings to Original Sin 2 here but from what I could understand the ending was retconned in ‘a wizard did it’ manner to ensure that as many characters from the previous Divinity title could return in Fallen Heroes. Apparently this change in the story is explored in a later mission in the game but I did not see it at the event.
As we see in the announcement trailer for Fallen Heroes, characters such as Malady, Ifan and Loshe make a return appearance. In fact, the demo is introduced with these three specific characters. Your unnamed character as well as Ifan and Loshe are paladins in the Divine Order who have been tasked with capturing Malady who is onboard The Lady Vengeance; she is accused of stealing certain magical artefacts. The plan goes perfectly, both the ship and Malady are captured, but as your characters are returning home to the city it is noticed that it is being attacked.
This is where the gameplay began. Your character is informed that there are two places in the city that are being attacked and where your help is required. Ifan suggests defending a military garrison and Loshe wants you to aid some civilians. It seems as though the choices made here will affect the relationships you share with the two squad mates, but it also greatly changes the environment, objectives and enemies you will be dealing with. After making that choice you are swiftly presented with another, what soldiers will you send into battle. In the demo you could select one hero character, either Ifan or Loshe, to send into battle and then three other generic soldiers that filled basic class archetypes seen in previous games: warrior, rogue, archer and wizard just to name a few. There were also a couple of special gadgets and items that could be selected which offered various benefits in combat such as one that fully refilled AP (action points, the resource that controls what your character can do each turn) and a magic item that comically polymorphed enemies into cows.
Many of the gameplay features seemed reminiscent of the Xcom style gameplay you might have come to expect after seeing the trailer. The combat sequence I engaged in after selecting my squad also confirmed these suspicions. Your team is now controlled entirely within a single turn and only have access to three AP instead of the four in Original Sin 2. In both of the mission options there are timed objectives that needed to be completed; if you took too long then the mission is automatically failed. You are also going to have to handle multiple objectives per mission. In the demo, one mission involved destroying ballistae to protect the ship you arrived on and another objective involved defeating a boss enemy. Beyond these changes, gameplay functions in a similar fashion to Original Sin 2; if you have already played it you will be well acquainted with many of the abilities and magical powers on show here.
As for the overall impression of the demo? It was very much what was expected. If you enjoyed Original Sin 2, you will probably have a good time with Fallen Heroes no matter what, the only substantial changes are seen in the removal of character customisation and the open world environments. The introduction of the Xcom formula into the mix takes the place of the features that have been removed. Perhaps the demo could have more thoroughly shown how character interactions will work in the game when onboard the Lady Vengeance, especially how combat missions will affect these and vice versa. Either way we will probably see more Fallen Heroes as the year goes on and as we get closer to the yet to be announced 2019 release date.