First released on PC summer of 2014, Divinity: Original Sin was received largely positively across the Board. Over one year later and developer Larian has now brought the game across to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. I have always been wary of games designed for PC being ported across to console as often a keyboard and mouse system is hard to remap for a console controller. That and the intrigue to see just how enhanced this re-release will be has led to seeing how ‘Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition’ plays on Xbox One.
The game opens with the player creating two new heroes who will serve as Source Hunters, members of an Order dedicated to fighting the practitioners of a new dangerous form of magic known as ‘The Source’. The story starts with the new heroes being sent to investigate the murder of a Councillor in the port town of Cyseal, believed to be by the hand of a ‘Sourcerer’, user of ‘The Source’.
Whilst the character creation is limited in terms of physical customisation, it does have a preset list to choose clothing and physical appearance. In choosing which character class the two heroes will have can be selected from twelve classes and each hero can have a different class. Picking two classes that compliment each other will be instrumental progressing through the game.
The opening few hours are slow to develop the story and instead of tutorials to hand hold players into the game’s mechanics, the player is left to discover and learn how things work by plodding through a lot of throw away missions and side quests. By talking to people and characters you encounter, you can test the waters of what interactions the heroes can result in. You can start fights just for the sake of it and see the reaction of the people if you follow the traditional RPG game of stealing everything that has not been tied down, and they will begin to mention that a mysterious thief is at work. The game allows the player free rein to go full good or evil in their actions through the game but there is no level to say how evil or how good the heroes are as a result.
The combat for me was the highlight of Divinity: Original Sin. Using a turn based system similar to Xcom, each character will have a set of actions that can be chosen per turn. Each will use action points to move position, an attack or to use an item. Strategy is a key component to the combat and how you build your characters depending on their class will be a huge factor in battles. How you upgrade their skill trees and weapon or spell choices will help develop a battle plan for the different enemies you encounter.
One strong element to combat is how the environment plays a role in any battle where elemental and weather spells and attacks can be used to take advantage of the fight location. Always look around the area the fight is in to help plan your position and attack strategy. If you see patches of oil on the found, these can be set alight with fire attacks to burn enemies for extra damage. You can even combine weather spells such as using a rain spell to create water puddles near enemies and follow-up with a lightning attack to cause electrical damage.
Such a depth in combat variety really lifts this side of the game and is hugely satisfying once mastered. Early on it can prove difficult taking on strong enemies and being one shot killed is very frustrating. Learning how each character class works by themselves and then how they can complement another hero’s class is a challenge due to the lack of tutorials, I found myself restarting the game just to try different class types early on.
So what makes this re-release justified to use ‘Enhanced Edition’. Coming over from PC, visually both consoles have the same level as PC on Ultra settings. All NPC characters are now fully voiced for a console audience but the voice acting and dialogue can be rather cliché with some interesting attempts at regional accents!
The biggest new feature is the addition of local split screen co-op, allowing the player and a friend to each control one of the heroes. This adds a great element at a time where this feature is becoming more and more rare in modern console gaming. Then inventory and menu systems have been refined and the ending to the story has also been revamped so for those who may have played on its original release, there will be something new to appreciate.
Overall I enjoyed Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition but it needs to be said that this is not a game for the casual RPG player. There are a number of aspects to master to get the most from the gameplay from learning how to build a character based on their class type to developing their skill attributes and weapons. There is quite a bit of inventory micro managing as each hero has an individual one to look after. Getting to grips with the combat can be frustrating at first but you get such a rewarding satisfaction when it all comes together.
If you are looking for a game that you can invest a lot of time in and a deep combat system then look no further. Larian has done a great job in bringing a PC designed control system based on keyboard and mouse to console controllers. It does take time to learn how to navigate the many menu but has been made so intuitive for a controller that once a Player gets used to the remapping it will become second nature.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is a good example of how a PC port to console can work and keeping its grounded foundation in olds school RPG games. A solid buy for diehard fan of the genre.