First, I pre-emptively thank you for warning me not to let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. I'm not stomping out of the room--I'm a big fan of Larian, and Divine Divinity is one of my favorite games--one I would love to play again today if only I couldn't remember nearly every detail of my playthrough 13 years ago as though I only finished it last week.
I've decided to retire before finishing my playthrough. My party is level 15 and I'm playing on Tactician. I have an aero/hydro/witchcraft mage, a crafting two-hander, Wolgraff whom I've kept a pure rogue, and Bairdotr whom I've kept a pure ranger. I'll try to keep this concise (by my standards) as I admit this is partially to serve as closure for me--it's very hard for me not to finish a game I start and this will be the first in a very long time that I give up on. I have a lot of smaller criticisms, mostly regarding a general lack of polish and balance, but I'd rather focus on what I see as the main problem:
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is replete with combat filler to artificially extend the length of the game to "modern" standards.
In my opinion, there are at least twice as many battles as there should be. Being generous, only half serve a purpose beyond extending the length of the game and slowing the pace of exploration. Later in the game, closer to one in three battles feels meaningful.
This wasn't so bad early on. Upon arriving at Cyseal, I've read that a lot of people were overwhelmed with all the city exploration and talking. Lots of quests, very little combat aside from the (level 8) graves and the tunnels. I tried to mix up exploring the surrounding area and exploring town alternately to mitigate this, which I think is how the developers intended the game to be played. It also wasn't as bad in the Cyseal region because combat was generally more interesting and challenging. Fewer skills were at my disposal and more improvisation was required. Several battles required retries or breaking up into two formations of two in order to flank or divide enemies.
I started to get bored in Luculla/Hiberheim where the story to battle ratio worsens considerably. I realized I probably wasn't going to make it once I got through the endless goblin fights en route to the mines. This took me two days as I was only motivated to play in 30 minute sessions. I'm currently inside the mines and have determined I am definitively done. Combat at this point isn't exactly easy by typical game standards, but I'm never dying and the last interesting battle was against Boreas. The same sort of tactics always work. I employ some deliberately inferior tactics against bosses to mix things up and increase challenge, but this is not desirable during filler battles which I just want to end as quickly as possible so I can find the next morsel of meaningful content.
I'm not using an overpowered party. I have stupid role-playing skills that aren't useful (which I do not regret taking), my rogue would be better if he didn't dual wield daggers (which suffer doubly from the enemy's armor absorption), my mage uses staves which are inferior in every way to wands, and Bairdotr would be better as a second mage or a second two-hander. I really like my party as-is and I imagine it's probably a relatively "fun" party to play.
I'm extraordinarily bored at this point and I can't push on without becoming bitter, or annoyed at myself for wasting gaming time. It's almost as bad as playing an MMORPG. I don't think I have a short attention span. My favorite PC game of the decade is Dominions 4, a game which absolutely consumes the whole of one's focus, in my case often intefering with sleep. I don't think I'm lacking in patience either.
The most common complaints about Original Sin were that there wasn't enough story and that the game became tedious after Cyseal. Enhanced Edition was supposed to assuage that, and Tactician was supposed to make redundant combat more interesting by spicing up all the encounters. If this is the more interesting mid/endgame, then I am very happy indeed that I waited for the Enhanced Edition because I doubt I would have made it past level 10 of the original version.
I can't get past the notion that there's just too much combat in this game, and that the only reason there are so many encounters is to raise up what should have been a 30-40 hour game to a 60-80 hour game so that modern gamers feel they are getting their money's worth. This just doesn't work for me. I see so many glowing reviews that admit, yes, the game becomes boring, tedious, easy after a while. The reviewers then give the game an 80-95% rating anyway. I won't write a review, but if I did I would certainly weight the abundance of filler content much more severely against the game. In my eyes, it drags down into the realm of mediocrity what should have been a solid game I could recommend to any CRPG fan.
I would have loved to let Larian take my money and give me less.