Release Date: October 27, 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher: Larian Studios
Developer: Larian Studios
Divinity Original Sin Scratches that Old School Itch
With the release of Divinity Original Sin 2 on the PC, I decided I’d take a crack at the original Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition and see what all the hype was about. To my surprise I found the epic, hardcore fantasy RPG I had been looking for all these years.
Divinity Original Sin originally released on PC June 30, 2014. It later recieved an enhanced edition on PS4, Xbox 1 and again for PC. This review is based on the PS4 edition.
Developed by Larian Studios, Divinity Original Sin provides a throwback to old school isometric RPG’s such as Baldur’s Gate, XCom and the original Fallout. Story-wise wise it can be compared to the likes of Dragon Age with its deep immersive world and characters. Much like Baldur’s Gate and XCom, Divinity Original Sin is a turn-based strategy game that can be played alone, online or local coop. Player controlled characters interact with one another via “dual dialog” in which disagreements can and often do happen. This leads to a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine a resolution. Stats in certain attributes help win these disagreements quicker and often changes how the world views you.
For a game that released in 2015, I have to admit that it looks and sounds gorgeous, even when compared to current AAA games. The background music when walking through the market place in Cyseal City made me feel like I was walking through some renaissance fair. The ambiance on the docks made me feel I was really standing there. Waves, seagulls and merchants talking about their lives surrounded me. The lighting effects in certain dungeons gives off an eerie feel, yet walking through the town and seeing the trees blowing in the wind filled me with awe.
The First Hours
You start the game by creating a pair of source hunters who are, in a sense, the authorities on magical dealings. They are a combination of bounty hunter and investigator, seeking to right the wrongs of the world. For my characters I decided to create a ranger with some magic spells as well as a fighter who also had some magic in him. I made sure one of them was given the ability to speak with animals. This opened up whole new lines of dialog, as well as some interesting quests that yielded much needed experience and treasure. The amazing thing with leveling in this game is that your ranger can become a magical powerhouse..
Like many recent RPG’s, your choices and actions change the outcome of certain situations. For example, when I first played through Cyseal City an NPC instructed me to kill an orc and take an amulet from her. This particular quest has numerous options on how you can proceed. 1) Do what he asks and kill the orc for the amulet. 2) Convince the orc to give you the amulet and lie about her death. 3) Turn in the man for attempted murder and he will be arrested. 4) refuse the quest and fight the man. 5) Give the amulet to the man then turn around and kill him to get more treasure. I took the greedy route and killed the man for all the loot.
When it came to the battle system, I felt as if I was thrown in the deep end of the pool and told to swim. Divinity Original Sin takes no interest in hand holding. A lot of my time spent with battles involved trial and error. One of the coolest things I learned during my first few battles was how the elements complimented one another. I mistakenly used a spell called midnight oil, which soaks the area of effect in oil. At first just thought it slowed the enemies. When I shot a fire arrow at an enemy in the pool of oil, the entire area ignited. The area of affect ignited, burning all of the enemies in it. It was at this point I started experimenting with spells. Through these experiments, I learned that combining the rain spell with electricity has a beneficial outcome.
Every battle in Divinity Original Sin seemed like a chess match for me. I had to position my guys in the right spot and set up the right spells to take as many enemies down at once. Despite all that preparation, one screw up could result in disaster. If it didn’t go as planned then the enemies get the opportunity to do the same and they have access to those same elemental mixtures. I had one enemy lob a gas bomb at my party creating a cloud of poison. Another launched a fire arrow into the miasma, causing a large explosion and leaving my party in a cluster of fire. It’s moments like this that makes you realize the importance of every turn and how the game requires patience.
Unfortunately, this fantastic game comes with a few downsides. Its inventory management system takes the cake for its awful execution. Each character has their own inventory. I would have preferred a grouped inventory system instead of having to search through all of my characters things. By the time I finished the first area, sifting through all of the inventories turned into a nightmarish chore. They do offer bags to sort certain things in, but you aren’t able to name the bags, so you have to search through multiple ones until you find the one you are looking for. The game also lacks an ability to sell junk at the click of a button.
Another major issue I had with the game was the quest design. The quests themselves were fun and engaging, however the quest log lacked substance. Much like the rest of the game, it didn’t hold your hand or point you in the right direction. You had to read books or pick up certain items before the log updated with another clue. In my whole experience with the game, I rarely saw a quest marker.
I didn’t play the original on PC, so I can’t talk much about the improvements from that version to this one. But from what I’ve played of Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition, I found a rare RPG that just left me wanting more. Even after sinking over one hundred hours in to this game I am already looking forward to my next play-through on a harder difficulty.
- THE GOOD
- Tactical Combat
- Character Customization
- THE BAD
- Inventory Management
- Quest Log Lacking Information
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition offers a well written, rich story, in-depth character customization and tactical combat that keeps you planning out your next five moves before your first has even finished. Divinity Original Sin is a game that requires a lot of time, patience and commitment and rewards players with a game that can simply be defined as special. While its inventory management and quest log are low points of the game they do not take away from the otherwise fantastic experience and journey the game has to offer.