After playing Baldur's Gate 3 and Divinity Original Sin 2, I'm more convinced than ever that I've found the best power in any RPG

Divinity Original Sin 2
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

I've found myself in an underground prison in Divinity Original Sin 2, and one particular sight has just sent me into a frenzy. A sequence of events in Fort Joy involving a statue, a button press, and a hatch have taken me on this unexpected detour, and I have no idea what to expect . I'm greeted by a dark and dingy hallway, with cobbled, hardstone floors, spider webs decorating every corner, and rundown walls in need of repair. Either side of me are doors leading to a handful of cells, and after sending my Eternal scholar companion Fane to pick some locks with his skeletal fingers, I set about exploring. 

It's then that a sudden wave of excitement washes over me. Usually a chest, fancy piece of loot, or a particularly intriguing discovery would elicit this feeling, but right now, I'm positively pumped to see a rat scurrying in the corner. Yes, really. A rat. Why am I so jazzed about a critter being here? Well, it means I get to use my newly acquired talent, and it's far and away the best skill in the game. In fact, it mirrors my favorite spell in Baldur's Gate 3, and I just can't get enough of it. 

The talent in question is Pet Pal, which allows me to talk to animals. I mean, who wouldn't want this ability? Not only does it open up a whole other side to the adventure, but it's already presented me with a variety of surprising scenarios. After using a similar ability so much in Baldur's Gate 3, playing Divinity Original Sin 2 has just cemented my desire to see this feature in more RPGs. Honestly, the more games that let me converse with animals, the better. 

Critter communication 

Divinity Original Sin 2

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Naturally I race over to the rat as soon as I can and strike up a conversation. Just learning her name is Eddie is enough to bring a big smile to my face, but the little fellow is also pretty helpful. Eddie gives me a lock pick, or as she calls it, a "pointy lock un-doer", and then proceeds to tell me about this place I've found myself in. My chat with the rat brings to mind countless occasions in Baldur's Gate 3 where I got to speaking to pigs, dogs, and more. When I first stepped into the Sword Coast, I was instantly taken by the Speak with Animals divination spell. I'd never really experienced a game that let me do this before, and each and every time I came across an animal in the world, I had to see what they'd say. While the mere presence of wildlife helps virtual settings feel more alive, being able to actually converse with them brings an added level of depth, and makes the world all the richer.

As a latecomer to Larian's RPGs, I had no idea that Divinity Original Sin 2 had a similar feature. You can imagine my delight and surprise, then, when I recently began my journey as Lohse in Rivellon and discovered that a similar feature existed in this fantasy RPG too. So much of Divinity has reminded me of Baldur's Gate 3, but nothing could beat the moment I saw a pop up tutorial window when I encountered a sheep for the first time. "You can't understand what this animal is trying to say!" the text read. "If you had the Pet Pal talent you could have a meaningful conversation". I quite literally gasped. Nothing was going to stop me from acquiring this talent at the first possible opportunity.

Dialogue with dogs  

Divinity Original Sin 2

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Fortunately it didn't take me long to chat with some animals once I'd leveled up and unlocked the skill. It's already proven to open up the way to some very memorable interactions, and it's even saved my skin in one dangerous situation that was also helped by my stint in prison. After I'd spoken to the rat, I came to blows with a magister who was torturing a poor soldier. Clearly my presence was not welcome, and I was soon having to fight him and his lackeys. I looted everything the magister had, and while I did clock that he had a red ball on him, I didn't think much of it at the time.

It wasn't until later that this shiny red ball, together with my Pet Pal talent, would prevent me from getting attacked by some Source hounds called Bruno, Argos, and Emmie. While they at first appeared very fierce and aggressive, with Bruno barking out that I was intruding, one squeeze of a ball melted that all away and they were suddenly just excitable dogs who were absolutely delighted to catch a squeaky toy. 

Aside from the novelty factor of actually talking to animals - which never really wears off - it's also often just downright humorous to hear what they have to say. But what I enjoy most is that you can never really predict what will happen, or what line they'll hit with you. It adds to the sense of adventure and discovery constantly, and just as it was in Baldur's Gate 3, my time spent conversing with creatures great and small has been one of the biggest highlights of my time so far in Divinity Original Sin 2. From polite rats to chatting with cats and conversing with hounds, playing Larian's RPGs has awakened in me a wish that more adventures feature an ability that lets me converse with animals. As important as it is to know if you can pet the dog, the question I'll have going forward now is can you talk to the dog? 

My favorite Baldur's Gate 3 NPC is everything I love about Larian's RPG: "I had no idea there would be Rolanites or a Rolan nation or Rolan empire".

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.