With so many amazing AAA games being released at this time of year, it’s hard to know which ones to invest your time and money in. With Larian Studios tactical turn-based RPG, Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition, the answer is easy, if RPG’s are your thing, you need to make time to experience all that Rivellon has to offer. Previously released on PC in June 2014, you’d be forgiven for thinking a port of such a complex game from PC to console wouldn’t work but it’s made the transition smoothly and although has a few issues, boasts an intelligent combat system and a whole host of extras added to the original game.
The thing that instantly struck me upon arriving in Rivellon was the beautiful, gorgeous sun drenched graphics, the beach from which my journey begun is awash with colour, the gentle sounding waves roll up gently onto the brightly sandy beach, decorated with sea life. Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, for what it represents, looks every bit the part of it’s genre and the beginning location, which would lead me eventually into the harbour town of Cysael is certainly a fantastic way to begin an adventure of this magnitude, setting the tone and feel wonderfully for what awaited me ahead.
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition: Xbox One [Reviewed] , PC, PlayStation 4
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 27 October 2015
Price: £44.99 [Disclosure: copy provided by PR]
Although every RPG centred around saving the world isn’t overly original, the story for Divinity is well written and the choices you make will actually have a profound effect on the lives of those around you, with the consequences sometimes not working out as you’d hoped. The story starts with two Source Hunters, hunters that hunt sorcerers who have succumbed to madness after a darkness tainted the land and the magic that used to heal, called Source. You arrive on a beach in Cysael to investigate a murder amid rumours a sorceress is nearby.
Character creation is everything you’d expect it to be although not as complex as RPG’s of late with just a few simple options of heads, hair, underwear (strangely) and class. It’s always a hard choice for me when starting an RPG with choosing a class something I’ll spend a while debating, the great thing about Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition is the fact that you are able to learn skills from all classes via skill books providing you use the points obtained from leveling up in the right tree, so even if you mess your character selection up a little, there’s still room for experimentation as you go along.
What I love about Divinity is that even though the world is being overcome with darkness and you spend a huge chunk of time being set on fire by skeleton pyromancers and chewed by zombies, the game is absolutely brimming with humour, albeit sometimes cheesy, there’s literally a laugh to be had around every corner, whether it’s simply listening to other NPC’s conversations or the ever sarcastic wit of your companions, it may not be the appropriate time to make a joke but you will find yourself cracking a smile every so often while listening to the conversations unfold. The fact that you can talk to animals also feels a little bizarre but I found myself chasing them down to hear what they had to say, and they are definitely a subtle way of putting tips within the game with the little critters knowing an awful lot about the area or giving you a hint for your latest quest.
As far as hints and tutorials go, the one thing that may put off the more casual gamer is the lack of hand-holding and quest guidance. Quests require you to think for yourself and figure out what to do and where to go, I spent a great deal of time wandering around to find my next objective, often stumbling into different enemies and NPC’s and getting sidetracked completely. There is no beaming marker hovering over the heads of quest givers, you have to investigate and speak to as many people as you can to get a grip on the game and your surroundings and that may be frustrating to some who want a more streamlined experience. Once you get over the first few hours of uncertainty and try to intake all the information that has been thrown at you, the experience can prove quite a rewarding one. The crafting system is also very hard to figure out and you will have to read every book you come across or do a lot of experimenting to know what ingredients will actually make something of use.
Combat is very well thought-out and elements will play a huge part in all your battles. Enemies will launch fire, poison and even water at you all with sometimes devastating affects. If you or your allies are on fire and losing health, casting a rain spell will wash it all away but as I’ve found out on many occasions, casting electricity when your whole group is standing in a puddle will electrocute you all, stunning you for two turns which basically means you’re an idiot and you’re going to die before you even get the chance to fight back. The foes you face aren’t dumb either, everything you do to them can be done back to you which makes every encounter exciting and challenging, if you have neglected side quests and run into a high level area, you’ll definitely find yourself regretting it and running as fast as you can back to town with your tail between your legs, even on the lowest difficulty.
There are also suspicious barrels of oil and poison just lying around, out in the open that can either be an advantage or a hindrance depending on where you started the fight. If you enjoy a challenge and using your brain in combat, you’ll definitely enjoy figuring out the enemies weaknesses, which ones to eliminate first and combat as a whole with a range of destructive skills and spells available. It’s all done using Action Points, and every move or skill you use will deplete them until your turn is over and you get to watch helplessly as your enemies get the chance to retaliate.
Overall, Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition is rewarding experience that pays homage to games like Baldur’s Gate. Combat is demanding but exciting and will keep you on your toes. With multiple possible outcomes for the quests you encounter all depending on the choices you make, it can really make you feel in control even if you ran around for an hour trying to figure out how to progress in it. With the added option of splitscreen co-op and online co-op available you don’t have to face the journey alone, and with two heads almost certainly better than one, the experience can be made a whole lot better (and hopefully easier) completing it with a friend, or a complete stranger. It would really be a sin to miss out on this game.