When I first heard I was reviewing Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition I thought I might be, by the sound of the title, viewing a late night dirty movie on Channel 5. Luckily for all of us concerned it’s not anything like that. Unlike soft pornography this game reminds me of the past in a fond way, harking back to the grand old days of games like “Baldur’s Gate” and early “Diablo” efforts. A tabletop RPG adventure where you control the usual suspects of magic, sword and might to compete in turn based dungeon and dragon adventures.
The story of the game starts with two characters in your party that you choose. In the menu and with the help of the familiar ‘build a character’ screen, you decide on your characters best profession, looks, stats and what exactly turns them on and off. That last thing isn’t true. Anyway, if you’ve played any RPG in your gaming life then you know the drill. In this game it’s important to find the balance of the two characters initially and then you’re off deep into the story.
The story itself is the usual kind of thing you get in a game like this, there is a dark force out there…somewhere…and you’re the answer to stopping the dark force…. blah, blah, blah…add slaughter, monsters and magical objects and you’re cooking up a typical run of the mill fantasy game. All that’s missing in Original Sin is a home village that’s been burned down at the start with you seeking revenge for your dead uncle or favourite pet cat. But wait, as I learnt throughout the game you can’t, and shouldn’t, judge something by its cover. As you get deeper into the lore and narrative you find yourself wanting to find out more about the D&D story and you find yourself not skipping the dialogue trees so much as you would at the beginning. The writing has a fizz to it and the voice over actors really commit to the dialogue, which helps in the selling of the overall fantastical premise. The interesting way they’ve tackled the dialogue trees is quite refreshing and unique. If you’re playing on your own when controlling two characters, you might find an occasion when they disagree about some decision in a quest and they play rock, scissors, stone to see which path to follow. This is a very simple but brilliant device.
The gameplay itself, unlike that soft core Channel 5 film, is very dense. It could, to the layman, seem over whelming, but to the RPG nut it’s a dream come true. With detailed stats, a wealth of quests and over 50 hours of gameplay, you could easily lose your job, forget to wash and become a social outcast. Your team of heroes venture forth, following the usual quests, side missions and general exploration of this fantasy world. You chat to people, chance upon a story and find hidden secrets or artifacts to level up as fast as you can. When you have to fight, and fight you will, it’s a turn-based affair. You can position your team around your enemies in your desired formation, using the team’s relative skills, magic, tanks, and archers etc….and like a perfectly good game of chess, let the battle commence. This attack system is very well designed and perfected to within an inch of its life. It is familiar, but feels really fresh and unique, and it never got boring unlike some other final fantasy games I’ve played in the last few years.
The quests are a mixture of big story arcs to a small murder investigation to any number of random side quest that you might just chance upon. These quests are interesting and dynamic in their execution, but there is a tendency because of the games ethos in not to be hand holding, to get a bit lost. I found myself having to repeat my journeys many times, or repeat dialogues over and over again in order to unlock that next stage in the quests journey. Also it’s worth noting that the first few hours of this game really do drag, especially when you come across the first city as it’s not a good marker for the rest of your experience. PUSH THROUGH is my loud advice because there is a lot more to offer from this game and the devil is in the detail and the complex world it creates so effortlessly.
Even though Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition has a retro look to it and isn’t the most handsome of creatures, it has a beautiful charm to it; one that fits perfectly inside its D&D world. Creatures, heroes and landscapes appear well rendered and the landscapes are lush. The soundtrack mixes brilliant orchestral sounds with thumping choir voices – all of which are impressive without being hugely original.
This is one of those type of games from the last generation of consoles, that only ever appeared on a PC. So it’s very refreshing to see a port come over to our side without sacrificing its core dynamics. The control system seems to all make sense without being too confusing and works really well with the Xbox One controller. The inventory system itself is a bit hard to work out and can become frustrating, but I think that was the same on the PC version.
One of the most interesting tools used by Larian Studios is how your actions affect the real world. Now we’ve heard all this before in our gaming history with promises of your choices affecting the story. Rarely does a game do it well, and mostly it’s just a choice between taking the good or evil pathway. Do the wrong thing, or a seemingly innocent thing, and your pathway on the quest can tumble into an unexpected diversion. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the world is always rewarding and there are tons of interesting things to find and do.
With the new upgrade from PC to Xbox we have both online local play and online multiplayer modes which are ideal opportunities for you and a mate to tackle the campaign. It works well, with no lag or pop up from my time on it and the cooperation needed makes the whole experience extra fun and gratifying to play.
This isn’t a short game and you could easily plough 100 of hours into Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition if you were intent on discovering everything it brings. If you are a fan of the genre, it’s a must buy and I will promise you this…you are going to have a lot of fun. I don’t think personally I will go back to the game after this review, but don’t get me wrong, everything included here is really good, but… it’s just not my thing…like those softcore late night dirty movies on Channel 5.
But if it is your thing, make sure you enjoy it fully and please add another star!
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