Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition PS4 Review
Brilliant. Go play it. There review done. Ideally you’d blindly accept my word and drop your hard earned cash down on a copy of Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition right now. However, apparently you’re here to learn a little bit about the game before you do and want to be told why it’s good instead of just accepting it. I guess I’m going to have to do my job then and put some words on this page that describe the game in question. Damn.
Divinity feeds right into the traditional high fantasy storytelling mould as it starts out with a seemingly simple plot that evolves into the fate of the entire world depending solely on you – or at least your two characters. Divinity’s story opens when the two main characters land on a beach in Cyseal with the aim of solving what appears to be a straight forward murder. However it doesn’t take long before you find out that a void is coming to destroy the world and the only way to stop it is by finding magical items called Star Stones which will help you mend the Tapestry of Time and save the world. Oh and as if that wasn’t inconvenient enough your two characters, the Source Hunters, are the only people who can save the world because for some strange reason they don’t appear on the tapestry in the first place. Still with me? Never mind just take leap of faith and trust that it’s a great story.
Then there’s the writing. It’s excellent and can fully flesh out any character, no matter how big or small they are, in a handful of lines. From the forgetful, hard of hearing mayor and the spiteful captain of the Legion to Walter the Wishing Well all of the characters are memorable and well-drawn out. Many games boast about their difficult moral decisions, but Divinity actually delivers and shows you the consequences of all your actions, be they good or bad. At one stage an elderly elf asked me to assassinate the last member of an orc clan that slaughtered his people. It seemed like a good cause until I realise the orc in question didn’t have a bad bone in her body and she was just a young girl when the slaughter took place. Let’s just say there’s more than a few ways to deal with the situation and more than a few outcomes.
The game doesn’t know the meaning of hand-holding. You have to figure everything out for yourself by reading books, talking to people and double checking your quest log. Many of the game’s quests are intertwined so you might end up hitting a wall in one only to find out how to get past it while playing another. Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you’ve finished a quest or if there’s more to go, and due to the intertwined nature of the quests sometimes it can be hard to know if you’re doing a main quest or a side activity. However, this sense of not knowing is part of the game’s charm as it allows you to truly carve out your own adventure in a way not many other games do. For example on one occasion I didn’t realise going into a certain area of a mortician’s house was trespassing. When he saw me there he attacked my party and we ended up killing the man. However, I later realised he was needed for a quest, but there were several workarounds – I just had to figure them out. This level of depth is present in every aspect of the game, even the simple activity of opening a locked door. Do you find the key, pick the lock, smash it down, or teleport another party member to the other side?
Just like a countless number of other RPGs Divinity has a party system. It contains your two main characters and has room for up to two other companions. The system works flawlessly as it allows you to develop characters to complement each other in combat, or even split them up to solve puzzles and flank opponents. There’s even online and couch co-op which allows you and a friend to take control of either one of the two main characters. You can even have a disagreement with your partner which will be resolved via a round of rock, paper, scissors, but if you’re unhappy with the outcome you could always betray your friend in combat to get your own way. One of Divinity’s few issues is its inventory which is badly organised to begin with but made worse due to the fact that you have to constantly switch between four characters to access everything you own.
The combat is turn based so expect lots of just standing there as a skeleton swings a battle-axe in your direction. Joking aside it actually works really well, but I won’t go too in-depth with it here for the simple reason half the fun is figuring things out for yourself. Although one cool feature I will mention is that you can take advantage of the elements in combat, for example an archer could shoot a poison arrow that releases a gas cloud into a group of enemies, then one of your mages could send a fireball into the cloud igniting the gas and causing burn damage to your opponents. You can also take advantage of levelling up to turn your warrior into a fire wielding battlemage, or your wizard into a smooth talking, back stabbing, poison connoisseur, or if you’re at all curious about what a rat might have to say you could simply give your archer the ability to talk to animals.
The game is by no means pretty, the graphics are fine and you can tell what everything is, but it’s no Naughty Dog experience – that’s for sure. There’s also no way to remove dead companions from your group, so if one dies and you’re fresh out of regeneration scrolls you better reload the game before it saves and you’re stuck with a three person party. The only other real issue I could find, and it will depend on the person playing, was the slow opening hours and minimalistic tutorials. The game has depth, in fact buckets of the stuff, but it doesn’t really explain a lot of its different systems all that well which results in the first few hours moving along at a snail’s pace as you test the waters and learn how to play. That’s not to say there’s no tutorials, you’ll come across a new text box nearly every time you open up a new section of the menu or pick up a new type of practical item, such as a repair hammer.
Confession time: I didn’t actually play the original version of Divinity: Original Sin but you may have noticed that the title mentions that this is a review of the “Enhanced Edition“, so what’s been enhanced? Well as far as I know there is now controller support across all platforms and considering it was originally a point and click game controlling your character directly with the analog stick feels really good. All of the character are now fully voiced, so you won’t have to do too much reading. There’s some new character builds, and it’s fully playable in split screen. Apparently the story’s been rewritten and there’s a new ending in place, but because I didn’t play the original version I can’t speak to these improvements – all I can say is the story I played was excellent. If you own the original game on PC then the good news is you’ll receive the Enhanced Edition update for free.
This game is astounding. Go buy it. Oh I suppose you’ll expect some kind of proper conclusion. Divinity is packed with enough content to keep you going well above the seventy hour mark, and enough choices and outcomes in every situation to make you want to start a new game the minute the credits begin rolling. There’s even so much I haven’t mentioned like its drag and drop crafting system, four main areas, side splitting sense of humour, and way more. There are some flaws in the graphics and inventory departments but they shouldn’t be enough to put you off trying Divinity: Original Sin. Due to its lack of hand-holding, and the fact that it can be quite difficult if you try to rush means it certainly isn’t a game for everyone, but it’s worth at least checking out. I really can’t wait to see what the developers do with the sequel, it just might be a day one purchase for me.