Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition PC Review

Anniversary collections are a great way to remind yourself how old you are getting as a gamer. We already had Mario’s 25th anniversary, Link joined in the fun not so long after, and Sonic hit his 20th last year. Some of the younger games are beginning to hit their age, with the Divinity series hitting its 10-year anniversary this year. Larian Studios, the developers behind the hit franchise, are celebrating this milestone with an appetising Collector’s Edition box set that includes all three games and an ample of tasty goodies for a very reasonable price.

Let’s start with the games. First up is the original title, named Divine Divinity, a single-player action-RPG that came out on PC back in 2002. On its release, Divine Divinity was praised for its depth, story, and graphics, but above all, the game’s world was very compelling and a joy to make your way through the long adventure. At that time, it offered a different experience compared to the faster-paced Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction expansion. This version of the game has been retooled to work at higher resolutions for newer PCs and operating systems.

The follow up, Beyond Divinity, was released two years later. It built on top of the same mechanics as Divine Divinity, but this time you were in control of two heroes – the player and another warrior called Death Knight – and you spent most of the game controlling both of them as a party. The two characters had to always be within a certain distance of each other, and the game ended if any of them meet their doom. It was not as well-praised as its predecessor, but Beyond Divinity was a good and challenging RPG. Just like Divine Divinity, this title has also been given the retooled treatment so that it will work on newer PCs. Both titles look quite ancient with their rendered character models and animation, but somehow manage to still be charming in this modern age.

A title more closer to the present times is Divinity II: Developer’s Cut. This game transitioned from the isometric view to a full 3D camera that sat behind the character, making it feel and play like modern RPGs. Divinity II has had a few tweaks over the past two years, originally starting off as Divinity II: Ego Draconis, then getting a remastered version along with an expansion in Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga. Both are included in this Developer’s Cut, but a cool thing about this packed-in version is that it includes Developer Mode, a feature that lets you open up the console command and mess around with the gaming world. Bored of playing as the hero? Then switch it up by loading in a different character model, such as a chicken. Can’t be bothered running somewhere? Then use teleport. It’s an amusing addition that lets you do anything you want in the game, even cheat. On top of that, each of the games are DRM-free, but what is cool is that each copy of Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition comes with a Steam code, allowing you to add all three games to Steam. For some strange reason, Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity do not work with the Steam overlay. I researched why, and it seems that the way the game was handled to be updated for modern PCs does not allow the overlay to work without causing problems for the game. It’s a shame, but not a deal-breaker.

Well, you now know the games in this collection, so let’s get into the real meat of Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition: the extra rewards you get for purchasing the physical product over the digital download. Everything comes in a black cardboard sleeve case with the Divinity wings logo presented on the front. Two DVD cases sit inside. The first one contains all three games, but also inside the game case are two cards that come with unique DLC items. One is for The Golden Grail in Divinity Original Sin, the next instalment of the Divinity series that acts as a prequel to the first game, which is due out early 2013. The other is a DLC code for The Golden Jetpack in Divinity Dragon Commander, another title that is due out in 2013, but rather being an action-RPG, it is a blend of real-time strategy, action and RPG systems – and you get to fly a dragon! Larian Studios has stated that these items will only be available in the Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition, and with only 25,000 physical copies of this set being produced, hardcore fans of the series might want to snap it up before it vanishes for good.

Music is the topic for the second DVD case. Included here are two discs, with one covering a “best of” collection of tracks that span the three games, and the other – the more interesting one to me – features unreleased music that were cut from the final release of the games. Two double-sided posters are tucked away as well, featuring art from Divinity Original Sin and Divinity Dragon Commander, along with the case’s logo and, my personal favourite, a poster that shows all the enemies from Divine Divinity.

Finishing off this wonderful set is the hardback Developer’s Journal, which spans throughout the history of Larian studios. The book is a fascinating insight into the world of their game development. It documents all the team’s troubles and enjoyment while creating these games, including, but not limited to, snippets of letters and emails, problems with released games and how one guy began flooding their offices after taking a bath upstairs. If you are a person who is interested in the workings of a studio, then this book is a great read and is something I feel should be included in any collection sets that other developers release. Lastly, there are some stickers hidden behind the journal, but these aren’t all that exciting to be worthwhile to speak about.

As you have probably gathered, the Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition is a rather tasty box set, and it’s not expensive, going at around £20 or less at respectable online retailers. There are hundreds of hours to be enjoyed from this set, and the games, while old, are still fun to play. If you cannot adjust to looking at older games, then you might find it painful to play through two of these titles, but if you are a fan of the genre and are looking for great RPGs that you might have missed in your lifetime, then this package comes highly recommended. Divinity Anthology Collector’s Edition is a well-put-together party to celebrate the history of the franchise that welcomes newcomers and fans who just want to experience the series all over again.

8 out of 10