The classic RPG can now be played on consoles.
Divinity: Original Sin arrived on PC in the Summer of 2014, bringing with it obvious influences from the old Dungeons & Dragons RPGs, such as Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale, and gaining plenty of interest from PC RPG gamers. It did so well that Larian Studios decided to release an Enhanced Edition, a new version of the game that not only made thousands of tweaks for the PC players, but also brought the game to the Xbox One and PS4. Much like certain other genres, the classic RPG rarely succeeds when it makes the jump to consoles, but can Divinity: Original Sin buck that trend and enchant the console gamers with its deep story and complex systems?
Players begin by creating a pair of characters, and even at this early point things get quite deep. Although the appearance of these characters is fairly limited, choosing classes for them may take a little thought. There are twelve to choose from, including a new Inquisitor class for the Enhanced Edition, and choosing classes which work well together is important, although not essential. However, beyond this, players are able to tweak the abilities and stats of their characters in multiple ways to create truly unique characters. All but the most experienced RPG player would need to be cautious here, as it is just as possible to mess a character up completely.
The story is of your standard fantasy RPG fare. Some dangerous magic known as the Source is being wielded by a shadowy group of sorcerers and time is being destroyed. As Source Hunters, it is down to the main characters to stop this and save everything. Of course, there is an abundance of side quests that will distract the player along the way, and the player can have multiple quests running at any time, although keeping track of them is more difficult than necessary.
The two characters created by the player will then be the core characters throughout the game. The player will be able to bolster their party with two extra characters along the way, giving them a party of four. There is a huge choice of additional characters to choose from throughout the game, allowing tailoring of the party to the needs of the quest.
The sheer openness of Original Sin is one of the highlights, leaving players with plenty of choices not only of how they achieve what they need to, but also what they do. But everything has consequences. Stealing from NPCs may not see the characters being chased down by guards, but it will affect the world in general. Most NPCs can be traded with, gathering materials and the like leads to an incredibly deep crafting system, and it is even possible to talk your way out of many conflicts. The systems are deep and involving, and will likely be quite intimidating to the more casual gamer, but are incredibly satisfying once the player puts in the time to learn.
And the same can be said for the combat in Original Sin. The combat is turn based, and everything that you can do, which is quite a substantial list, costs action points, be it attacking, using items, casting spells or just moving. The environments can also be interacted with in many cases, such as setting oil on fire, and even the weather can mix things up. The combat is not easy though, and even the most tactically minded will find themselves grateful for the quick save option on a regular basis.
Perhaps most important in this Enhanced Edition is how well it plays on the consoles. It has to be said that, for a game with so many complex systems and menus, playing with the controller works surprisingly well. There is no doubt that the game is best played on the PC, with a keyboard and mouse, but it doesn’t take too long to learn the controller mapping, and once the button assignments have been remembered, it is actually quite fluid.
The other big additions to the Enhanced Edition are the inclusion of a huge amount of voice acting and the split screen co-op. The voice acting, which now applies to all of the thousands of lines of dialogue in the game, is very well done, There are a few occasions where annoying voices pop up, but for such a vast undertaking, it is quite impressive.
The split screen co-op is also impressive. Each player can take control of one of the two main characters, and can actually wander off by themselves. Items can be divided and even the other party members can be split between the two players. When it comes to a difference of opinion regarding major choices, these are resolved through a quick game of rock, paper, scissors.
There are very few games like Divinity: Original Sin available on the consoles, and that is what makes this Enhanced Edition such an attractive prospect. Deep and complex systems with minimal guidance make this a hardcore RPG that will not suit the casual gamer. But for those willing to spend some time learning the systems, the transition to console in no way impedes the enjoyment that can be found in Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition.