What once started up as a humble project on Kickstater has turned in to perhaps one of the best RPG’s to even grace the PC in quite some time. Thanks to the efforts of Larian Studios, Divinity: Original Sin was easily my favorite RPG on the PC. So when the company announced that not only were they bringing an enhanced port to the PC, but also the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I jumped at the chance to see how the ported version of the game fared on the consoles. With no access to a keyboard, Larian Studios’ would have to work some kind of magic to make this work, but not only have they pulled it off but they made the port such a joy to play that I can easily pick either the console or PC versions at anytime to pass the time.
Game Name: Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One (reviewed), PC
Publisher(s): Larian Studios
Developer(s): Larian Studios
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Price: $59.99 (Free for original title owners on PC)
But this wasn’t just any port, nope, not by a long shot. Instead, Larian Studios’ has crammed in everything that made the original PC version such a hit, but with more. Updated graphics, controller support, tons of customization and options, and more importantly it now supports co-op action via online or split screen. How freaking awesome is that? Does that get you excited? Well it better as this is perhaps the single most enjoyable turn based RPG that I’ve played in a while, and that was on the PC when it first came out, so now both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners are able to get in onto the fun and play at the same time!
So What’s The Game About?
Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition starts off as a typical RPG story, putting you right smack on the door stop of a killing. Since how you are what’s considered a “Source Hunter”, you are requested to look into this killing, which starts you off on to an epic journey. However this is where the game starts to show its own roots. Unlike other RPGs, you start off with two characters that you are able to customize and the options are pretty beefy. Male, Female, class types; Knight, Fighter, Battlemage, Wizard, Witch, Cleric, Enchanter, Ranger, Rogue, Shadowblade, and Wayfarer. So there’s plenty of options for those who as well as changing your characters appearance, starting abilities and names. And since there’s a pretty large amount of options, you literally can spend a good 20-30 minutes just setting up your team, but it’s worth it and I’m happy to see that Larian Studios didn’t make change the ability to do this on the console version.
And since you’re starting off two different class types, you’re able to put together a pretty decent combination of melee, ranged and healing, that is if you plan accordingly. I actually started off with a Battlemage and Knight at first but then after playing the game for an hour, I decided that maybe a true caster/range type would be better, so I went back and selected the Witch and Knight. That’s not to say you’ll do the same as I did, but I want to get across that you should pay attention to what’s being offered to you during the selection period. Last thing you want to do is play for an hour or so, just to start all over again.
Alright, once you’re done with setting up your characters, the game will start and introduce to you a completely voiced cut-scene that fills you in with your task at hand. Yes, it’s completely voiced and in fact, every conversation in the game is voiced! So if you don’t want to read the screen, no worries as Larian Studios has just put every RPG to shame with this. But back to the game, alright? So you’re dropped off at a town called Cyseal, where you finally get to do some exploration on your and eventually some combat. However not to worry as the combat is really simple starting off, but don’t mistake simple for easy as if you don’t pay attention to the battle you can and will likely die. Well, I haven’t died yet on either try and remember I’ve done it twice now, so I have faith in you. After this fight however, you’re given an option before the training wheels are taken off; Go on the path to continue to the game or embark on a training dungeon. Want some advice? Take the training dungeon, even if you’re a RPG veteran or even if you’ve played this on the PC before. There’s loot in that there dungeon and everyone knows that loot is perhaps the best part about any RPG.
The controls in the game are relatively simple to grasp as well, however sine this is a port of a PC game, the game is menu heavy. This tends to slow the game down a bit as you have to hit a button to switch between characters, equipment, inventory and so forth. It’s an necessary evil and unless this was put in place, I don’t see any other way that this game could have been ported over to the consoles. It’s a bit overwhelming and maybe a pain at first, but it gets easier to navigate.
So what makes this RPG so Good?
For me, a RPG has to have a world that is interesting and have a decent amount of content for me to deal with. With Divinity: Origin Sin Enhanced Edition, that’s exactly what Larian Studios has created. The world is open and vast with tons of interactivity. For example, towns are full of lively characters, which again are all voiced, who will either help you on your journey, spit out random nonsense or a mixture of the two. But it’s not just the towns that are alive, but also the environments outside of the tons, the dungeons you frequent, right down to the design of those dungeons.
Then there’s the graphics and sound department, which holds up fairly well. Now I’ve seen some reports of people comparing the console version to the PC version and stating that it’s identical. I’ve seen the game at 1080p @ 60fps , 2K, and 4K resolution, and those are freaking impressive. So while I won’t say that the consoles rival that, I admit that the console version does look pretty damned good. The characters are detailed and look great, the environments you visit are breathtaking, in fact, I found myself stopping to bask in the view multiple times. Yes, it’s that good. However, not all is sunshine and puppy dogs, folks. While the game does feature a 1080p resolution, due to co-op split screen, the frames per second had to be sacrificed and hence the 1080p @ 30 fps. The game still looks amazing, however at times you can see that game isn’t so fluid, but that rarely happens.
The sound is equally impressive with the voice overs for every character in the game, include animals, yes even the animals are voiced. But the sounds effects are boss as well, from simple grunts and dinging, to swords clashing and destructive spells behind cast, raining down destruction on its foes. The soundtrack is decent as well, yet it’s not something that will strike you as being remember-able or cause you to start tapping your toes. It gets the job done, however.
And if you played the original Divinity: Origin Sin, that’s ok as there are new quests, new people to meet up with and yes, even more, content to tackle. So if you were pondering about playing this updated version, well it’s hardly a choice if you have the original version on the PC as the enhanced edition is a free update; but if you were going to pick it up on the consoles, well it’s also worth it.
Then there’s the crafting system, which lets you craft new items such as weapons, potions, armor and so forth. In order to gain those new recipes to craft, however, you’ll have to find books that will reward you with the recipe. Even still the crafting system leaves a lot to be desired, as there’s little explanation on how and what to craft, leaving gamers to resort to looking for recipes on the internet or from friends. A perfect example is the books you do encounter, as sometimes a book will give you a recipe, other times it’s pretty vague, leaving you to experiment on your own.
But what about the combat?
If there’s one thing that you’ll encounter in any RPG more than the loot and people in trouble and all the locations you have to visit, well is the combat, and the combat in Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is done well. Before I go into this, however, I do want to leave a word of caution for those thinking about picking this game up. While this is a traditional turn-based RPG, it does tend to be a bit slower than most. Between the menu navigation and the how the game handles combat with action points, this may put off some gamers.
Speaking of action points, anytime you get involved in combat, your characters use those action points to dictate how the combat flows. Every move you take, every action you make all depend on action points and this will force you to put on your thinking cap while trying not to die in battle. If you attempt to get close to an enemy, you may run out of AP when you get there, leaving you open for an attack. At the same time, staying too far away from the enemy may not give you that advantage you need and may put you out of range of your firing range, but maybe not out of theirs. See what I’m getting at here? Every more, item usage and attack are all balanced around the action point system and it may take some time to get used to but you will get used to it. It’s a change from other RPG’s on the market but the tactical nature of the game doesn’t hurt it at all.
There’s also the little thing of environmental damage that you have to watch out for, as it can be both beneficial and damaging for you at the same time. Poison clouds, lava, and even explosive barrels can play an important part of your battles. Spy an explosive barrel next to someone and light it up for some extra damage, or see if you can get that one enemy to somehow step into that lava or poison cloud to lend you a helping hand. But be careful as it works both ways (Hehehe!) and you can be damaged by it as well. Speaking of which, watch out for friendly fire! You can actually damage yourself and team by hitting them with attacks and spells that were meant for the enemy. Do this enough and you’ll piss off any companions that you pick up along the way and they’ll leave your party for good. So watch the friendly fire or it will bite you on the butt, got it?
That all said, the game does have the line of fire issues, especially when enemies are all grouped together or if they’re behind something that affects said line of fire at things, which forces you to waste precious AP in order to get around to get a good view to attack. Nothing that breaks the game but it is annoying at times.
I heard this game has multiplayer, is there?
Ah, yes! The co-op multiplayer is where the game really shines. The ability to start playing the game by yourself, only to have another play drop-in/drop-out for some co-op multiplayer action is fantastic. Seriously, this is easily the best part of the game. In fact, if you’ve played any of the Telltale Lego games, the split-screen works similarly. When you and the other player are in the same area, both players share the same screen, however when you go your own ways, the screen will split up and provide each player with their own UI. It happens seamlessly and works out really well. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, having someone else playing with you is actually a plus, as each player can control the in-game dialogue and choices, meaning that you don’t have to do the same thing as the other player, which can lead to some pretty interesting outcomes. And thankfully the game doesn’t miss a beat while running in split-screen either as I didn’t encounter any slowdown
That said, I’d love to see this become more commonplace in other RPG’s, it’s really a lot of fun.
*Review copy provided by publisher
In short, Larian Studios has shown a huge labor of love by cramming it’s kick ass RPG and getting it ported over to the consoles. It looks good, it sounds good, plays fantastically and will provide even the most hardcore RPG gamer countless hours of game-play. There’s a certain charm that the world of Divinty presents and if this first effort of getting the game to work with the limitations of a consoles controller worked this well, I can’t wait to see what they manage to pull out with Divinity: Original Sin 2, that is if they decide to port that over to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well.
And seeing the reception of Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, I can’t see why they wouldn’t want to.
- Easily one of the better looking RPGs on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- Tons of customization options.
- Combat is fun and engaging.
- Everything is voice acted, EVEYTHING! how kick ass is that?
- It’s all playable on the controller.
- Split-screen co-op is a great option and a fun way to play the game.
- The story is a bit long winded.
- The camera angles tend to restrict combat with line of sight issues.
- The UI is still a bit clunky and the font is hard to read on a larger TV.
- The crafting system is a bit rough around the edges
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