- Developer/Publisher: Larian Studios
- Platform: PC/PS4/Xbox One ($39.99/$59.99/$59.99)
- PS4 version tested. Copy provided by publisher.
Ask anyone in Ann Summers and they’ll tell you that roleplaying by yourself is a little bit strange, but that won’t stop you falling in love with Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. Talking to yourself might be a little unsettling at first, especially if you wind up disagreeing with yourself, but it is a really nice little touch that helps you take on a role or two in the chaotic land of Rivellon.
At the very start of your adventure, you’ll create two, hopefully complimentary heroes. As with so many other RPGs you are encouraged to role play as your given hero, and in this case, that includes conversation. So what happen when your two heroes talk amongst themselves? Well, obviously you control both sides of the conversation.
Like I said, it’s a little uncomfortable at first, but it does allow you to develop different characters for each of your champions that you can project into dialogue and decisions outside of the two of you. Naturally, it’s a little simpler with a friend by your side or online to take a character for themselves, and Divinity: Original Sin offers both local and online co-op so you can play however you’d prefer.
Rivellon feels more alive than ever with a really impressive style and wondrous gameplay mechanics. As soon as you load up the game you’ll see this beautiful, vibrant world with bright bombastic colors. It may not be the most technically brilliant game, and it won’t be winning any pixel contests, but Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition delivers this beautiful, thematically appropriate atmosphere that soaks up the tone of the gameplay and story.
Despite its legacy as a challenging title, which holds true on console as much as PC, Divinity never takes itself too seriously. The first town you encounter is under attack from all sides, yet still has time to have sunbathing wizards, terrified undead legionnaires and an amusing talking cat. You’ll be snickering to yourself as you discover the games incredible host of hilarious, unusual and downright weird characters.
The story is exactly the sort of over the top fantastical narrative you would expect, involving a murder, forbidden magic and a dragon who intends to eat everything. There’s also a huge variety of side quests to uncover to. The quest menu is a little daunting, with dozens of active quests listed for you to tackle. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to find out exactly what you should be doing. You might find that you’ll be directed to a specific character, without much hint as to where you’ll find them. It can be a good excuse to explore, but naturally sometimes you just want to get stuck in.
But you shouldn’t come into Divinity expecting an all out action adventure. This is lovingly crafted as a homage to the earlier RPGs, and you’ll be going through a lot of dialogue before you enter combat at all. This isn’t a bad thing as the story and characters are well worth getting to know, but expecting to waltz into the epic war between good and evil might not be as aggressive as you might expect.
When you do fight though, expect a lot of options. You won’t just be just mashing buttons and unlocking special attacks. Divinity is a turn based game where one wrong turn can be a deadly mistake. Each character will be given initiative at the beginning of combat and that will decide who goes first. You’ll have action points that you use for everything from moving to using items and attacking. But this is not a slog fest, and charging your warriors against one another is a sure fire way to lose some team members. Divinity has such an impressive list of tactics that you will learn to master in order to overcome even earlier enemies.
While hundreds of games have exploited the concept of elemental combat, few do so with such depth as Divinity. An early spell for any wizard class is rain, which might not seem like much, but it can protect against fire pits and more importantly, create puddles, advantageous for anyone who has a grasp of lightning. There is a lot of need for cooperative strategy between your team of up to four heroes as well. An archer can fire a poison arrow that releases a cloud of green gas. This could then be ignited to burn as well as poison an enemy inside it. Not only that, but will create black smoke that obscures targets and protects from projectiles.
Obviously there is so much more to learn than these few aspects, and you’ll be surprised at all the options you can use to turn the tide of battle. Be sure to save often as well, death is all too common in Rivellon.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition makes you feel smart. When you out maneuver an enemy, overcome an impossible challenge or out think the challenge, you’ll really feel like you’ve achieved something. There’s this sense that you’re getting smarter as well as better equipped. Leveling up is less about the ‘ding’ and more about the new avenues it can open for you. That being said, you will be reloading a lot, and saving has frequently been necessary. Combat is very uncompromising and wandering into a difficult fight is a mistake that can take hours to recover from.
Every skill and attribute that you acquire opens up a new way to play. Strength helps you throw barrels as well as swing swords while charisma can help you avoid conflict all together. On top of all this, the controls are tuned so perfectly for the console. You’ll know exactly what you can do and exactly how to do it. There are a few issues though, the movement speed is just a little too slow, and you’ll find you’re pacing through the same locations over and over getting a little bored as you do so. But that being said, the only other real complaint is the inventory. Having each character with their own inventory makes a lot of sense, but can take a while to prepare your team for combat. You’ll be switching out between characters sending arrows, wands and armor back and forth between them all. It’s a pain, and takes a little longer than your average RPG, but is well worth the minor hassle.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is one of the best RPGs that has come to console. You’ll find everything you want in the game, and it shows you just how far RPGs have come. Divinity demands your attention, and creeps into your thoughts. You’ll come back again and again trying to figure out a single encounter, while hours will slip by unbeknownst to you. Although this is not the epic action piece that fans of Dragon Age: Inquisition might expect, it’s a smart, stylish game that makes you think about your surroundings, options and position with even the simplest encounter.