If Divine Divinity was a campy Ultima 7 mixed with Diablo, then Beyond Divinity is a campy Ultima 8, also mixed with Diablo. From the start, and through the five Acts that comprise the bulk of the game’s subterranean plot, you control a party. This is a bit of a departure from the earlier title’s Diablo-style single-character controls. Going at it alone isn’t optional; the game’s chief plot device revolves around the idea that you, a great hero of the Light, have been “soulforged” to an evil Death Knight by a meddling Archdemon. If either your hero or the Death Knight dies, the game is over and a reload is required.
The interface has been changed to accommodate this new approach, which is to say it’s simplified to the extreme. Learning the hotkeys is required homework if you want to painlessly switch the party leader or swap the spells and skills assigned to the right mouse button. The biggest change—and one for the better this time—comes in the form of the new skill system. Instead of a set of fixed skills and spells, you uncover skill books to teach your party members skill attributes that can be mixed and matched to create custom abilities. The skill you create is assigned to a slot, and as you level up, points can either be spent improving that skill, or in creating another new one. Suffice to say it’s a complete overhaul from the first game.