Underrated gem everyone should try, though with some potentially game breaking bugs. Play with guides listed below to avoid them.
Divine Divinity was released in 2002 and the massive popularity of Diablo II around those times was probably what blocked its possible rise to the fame it deserves. Both games are focused on hack and slash combat with similar systems, like isometric camera, random loot generation or skill trees, though Divine Divinity being a singleplayer game allowed its world to be built much larger than Blizzard's game's. And Larian Studios did just that.
Introduction to the story (spoilers for the beginning part of the game): The game tells the story of a man without memories who awakens in Aleroth, a town of healers, the leader of which, Mardaneus, has gone crazy and the player is asked for help with finding a source of his madness deep in the catacombs below. The main plot starts after Aleroth, once the player levels up and is able to leave without being in significant danger from nearby monsters. Saved from a dragon riding assailant by a wizard Zandalor, the player learns he is one of the three Marked Ones and they're the only people being able to stop the Black Ring organisation from summoning the Lord of Chaos to their world. To do so, they must gather the Council of Seven - most worthy representatives of all races, who together could help defend the land of Rivellon.
Positives: While the main plot itself might not be the most original out there, the world of Divine Divinity is huge and well detailed and its questlines are amazing, especially when compared to what games usually have nowadays. Players aren't held by their hand at all times, they will receive quests wanting them to enter areas filled with higher level monsters, they often have almost nothing to follow and must complete puzzles in order to advance. Some quests also feature more than one ending. There's also a lot of secrets in the maps, which might reveal great treasures to people keeping their eyes open.
Players aren't restricted to any classes. In the beginning you get to choose your model - a warrior, a mage, a rogue (available in both male and female form), with each of them having some different stats and starting skills, but from now on you're not restricted in the slightest - want to be a sneaky thief summoner who wields a greatsword? Go for it.
Bonus points to the game for Larian Studios' sense of humour - little jokes are placed here and there through the game, be it in notes, quests or animations. I'd love to share a few of them, but that would mean spoiling the fun and surprise.
Negatives: The main problem with this game are bugs. There's a bunch of situations during which you can accidently break many quests, including the main ones, simply by forgetting to do something or even declining a side mission. Fortunately, there are guides which list said quest breakers and let you know how to avoid them, such as the spoiler-light "Avoiding Quest Breakers" by Xendarii.
Another thing players have to watch out for are the skills. Some of them either don't work at all or are useless compared to others. For that we have the "Skills" guide by Sir Percival.
For an overall guide (with spoilers) featuring maps, quests, character building information and so on, I can recommend GameBanshee's one.[www.gamebanshee.com]