In-depth isometric RPGs haven’t always been my thing. There was something about them that intimidated me – the complicated combat systems, inventory management, in-depth levelling of characters and a huge adventure that could last up to 100 hours. Now, I feel nothing but shame that I considered those features flaws.
Nowadays, I can play through an RPG like Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition and appreciate it for those qualities. This is a game that features an in-depth combat system that sees you carefully planning each and every move you make. This is a game that is heavy in lore, with a ton of side quests to follow along with the main story arc. This is a game that will take you what feels like forever to fully complete. It is all these things, and I love it.
Divinity: Original Sin was originally released back in the summer of 2014 on PC. It received high praise from critics and in turn expanded its already large fanbase. This success has seen it receive a console version – the ‘enhanced edition’. This isn’t just some shiny, prettier version though. Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition features improved visuals, enhanced sound, voice acting for all characters in the game, brand new content including new quests along with a reworked story and ending. Developers Larian Studios have gone all out with this release – the improvements are plentiful and it really pays off in the final product.
Much of what Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition prides itself on is the freedom it offers the player, beginning with character creation. You take control of two main characters, each being built from scratch by the player. Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of depth to the design of your character’s appearance, but you are able to choose what classes you’d like to take the role of. The fact you have two main characters means you’re able to experiment a little – whilst I typically like to main as an up-close battling warrior, the fact I had was able to create and control two characters meant I was also able to try something completely different too. I actually found that I preferred a more magic-focused character – something I’ll bare in mind for future RPG endeavours.
You’re able to define exactly how each character plays by fine tuning their personality and allocating stat points how you please. It’s a flexible system, its depth preparing you for the experience ahead.
You’re instantly thrown in the deep end with Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition. There’s no hand holding here – the world is there to be explored and you’ll be doing so with little help from the game. There are tutorials to begin with but they’re so minimal that you’ll only learn the basics of the game from them. You’ve really got to invest yourself to get the most from the game – it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. There’s a variety of difficulty settings though so it’s accessible for newbies along with RPG veterans.
One of the first things you’ll learn is that each action comes with a consequence; this isn’t a typical RPG experience where you can essentially take the law into your own hands. Don’t expect to be venturing through towns, taking things willy-nilly and invading the personal space of NPCs. If you do something an NPC doesn’t like, you will be confronted by them. It’s a nice change from the typically consequence-less gameplay ethics of other RPGs on the market and will certainly have you carefully thinking before acting.
It’s not just minor actions that come with consequences. Throughout the story there’ll be tough decisions that need to be made – decisions that will affect the world around you and how your playthrough plays out. This isn’t just limited to your actions but also your words; you have a lot of freedom within the dialogue to respond exactly how you please. It’s a fantastic quality for the game, offering you an authentic experience that you can truly tailor for yourself.
RPGs are known to be content heavy games and that’s certainly the case with Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition. I knew after exploring the first town in the game that I was in for a huge experience – there’s an abundance of things to do and places to explore. Whilst there’s a ton of main quests to complete, the plethora of side quests will blow you away – there’s so many on offer that story progression will certainly take a backseat at times.
The sheer volume of quests can make it difficult to keep track of progress though. You’ll be doing so many different things in such a variety of places that you’ll constantly forget what to do or how to do it – the game isn’t always forthcoming with details either.
Of course, the quests wouldn’t matter if the game didn’t feature a decent battle system – thankfully, Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition features combat that is both immersive and very clever.
Battles happen in real time but are turn-based, your party and enemies each allowed to perform their actions on their relevant turns. Combat is in-depth with abilities and attacks plentiful – be warned though, the same applies for your foes. Battles are certainly dangerous and require a lot of thought if you’re going to succeed. They aren’t quick affairs either – some of the more complicated battles will last quite awhile.
Whilst battles are engaging, the way the environment and elements are integrated really adds an extra degree of thought to each confrontation. Is one of your enemies in water? Use a lightening attack and deal extra damage. Have you been caught in a burning oil slick? A water attack will save you from that. The depth is fantastic and it’s certainly very clever – most importantly though is that it makes battles all the more enjoyable. Of course, the aforementioned lack of tutorials means there can be quite a learning curve before you fully get to grips with combat. It offers so much diversity and so many different ways to succeed – you just have to work it all out yourself.
Aside from battling and questing you’ll also have to carefully manage your inventory. This can actually be quite a frustrating experience – you have to manage each character’s inventory individually and with the amount of items you’ll obtain along the way you’ll occasionally find yourself overwhelmed. There’s also a rich crafting system that offers a lot of freedom to create new items and equipment – again though, a lack of tutorials means this can be a daunting experience too.
Whilst it features enhanced visuals, Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition doesn’t really reach the visual mark of some other RPGs on the market. That’s not to say it doesn’t look good – the console release is certainly on par with the highest settings of the PC version. Environments look great and the bright colours certainly bring the world to life, though character models can be a bit hit-and-miss. Nothing ever looks bad in the game, it’s more a case that you’ve seen better elsewhere.
Often, the transition to consoles for PC games can be a difficult procedure – especially with the lack of a mouse and keyboard. Fortunately, the controls are satisfying on a console controller. Whilst it takes awhile to adjust and you’ll feel like you’re fiddling between buttons to begin with, once you’re a few hours in it begins to feel natural.
The console version also comes with split-screen co-op – a fantastic experience for those who miss the couch-sharing days of local multiplayer. The second player will be controlling one of the created characters, so there’s never a case of one character being a lot more powerful than the other either. It’s really enjoyable to play through, though it’ll take a ton of multiplayer sessions to finish the whole game.
Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition is one of the most expansive RPGs I’ve ever played – there’s simply so much to do with so many different methods of doing so. It can be a little intimidating at times with the game lacking in tutorials, but once you learn how to play and how each mechanic of the game works you will have a blast.
Many games toy about with choices and the consequences of your actions, but it’s taken to a whole new level here. With the addition of fun combat that manages to be really clever along with a huge amount of quests, Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition is unmissable for RPG fans and a real treat for console gamers.
– Battles are enjoyable and full of depth
– So much content to play through
– The freedom to play exactly how you please, despite the consequences
– Enjoyable multiplayer components
– Lack of tutorials can be a little intimidating
– Hard to keep track of quests and what to do
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4