Divinity: Original Sin 2 pro tip: when all else fails, try turning your enemies into chickens. Seriously.
Things were actually going pretty well until a giant worm from The Void popped out of the earth. I wouldn't say I was fighting a flawless battle against Bishop Alexander, head of a death camp for sorcerers and arsehole supreme, but things seemed manageable.
Then Mr. Voidwoken Drillworm showed up, and my party members started dropping like non-Voidwoken flies.
It didn't help that while a quick dialogue allowed me to shout to Bishop Alexander and his cronies that the massive hunk of overcooked gnocchi wasn't gonna differentiate between us, so we should work together to bring it down, they mostly seemed content continuing to take potshots at me and mine.
"Fuck you," I said to Bishop Alexander in real life, with my own mouth. "You're a damn coward, and I'll give you hell for this, just you wait."
And I did, eventually. This, however, is not the story of that victorious effort. This is a story that demonstrates why losing in Divinity: Original Sin 2 — something that happens very often — can be just as fun as winning.
Most of my party was down, and my main character was in rough shape, but I didn't want to throw in the towel just yet. I decided to examine the boss, hoping to find some kind of weak point. No dice.
In fact, the opposite of dice: the worm was immune to basically every status effect in the game. Poison, fire, disease, freezing — none of those things were gonna make a dent.
As I scanned my ability bar looking for an answer, a wry grin crept across my face. My main character started the game as a metamorph, a class that can sprout animal parts from his limbs and also turn people into chickens.
Would it work on a massive, multi-story tall boss? No way. In other games, silly abilities don't work on bosses. Original Sin 2, I thought, would follow a similar mould.
I double-checked the boss' immunities. Everything was on there... except "chicken form." By this point, my enemies had begrudgingly knocked off a lot of the worm's armour, so his resistance to spell effects was lower than usual. "OK," I figured. "Here goes nothing."
Poof. Just like that, the giant worm became a tiny chicken.
Due to the number of fire and void tentacle effects on screen, the chicken is tough to see. Couldn't be helped. Sorry about that!
I laughed with a sort of incredulous mania. I was still probably gonna lose the battle, but what a magnificent way to go out.
The great thing about "chicken form" is that, in addition to being hilarious, it's a legitimately useful ability. Divinity: Original Sin 2's battles are often down-to-the-wire affairs, so if you can take away an enemy's ability to attack or move, even if just for a turn, you can potentially sway the tide of battle.
Chicken form leaves enemies helpless for multiple turns, though they can also be kind of hard to pin down since they start running around like a chicken whose head is about to be cut off.
I ended up falling to Bishop Alexander and his goons in the end, but only after we dispatched the chicken-worm from another dimension. In the process, I gained tons of valuable information about how I could fight that battle on my next go-around. (Spoiler: I ended up chicken-forming Bishop Alexander too, and then I pounded his tiny, feathered body into mush.)
As I pointed out in my impressions piece last week, normally doing the same things over and over again in games is frustrating as hell.
In Original Sin 2, though, there are just so many wild, unexpected things that can happen, and many of those things end up being strategically viable. I can only think of a handful of games that have ever rewarded me this much for asking "what if?"
In a haze of sweaty desperation, I fumbled my way into what ended up being a winning strategy and, in the process, gave new meaning to an old adage: better to die a man than to die a chicken.