Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Review
Isn’t it interesting that just a few years ago, everyone was convinced that certain genres of games like Command and Conquer and Diablo would NEVER make a splash on consoles simply because of the lack of mouse and keyboard? And yet, here we are in 2015 with a couple of excellent C&C game from last-gen, and the excellent Diablo 3 console port. It doesn’t even have anything to do with processing power of graphical prowess; all it took was for a developer to take some time and figure out the best control scheme for these games, and voila!
Divinity: Original Sin was a huge surprise for me when it first launched on PC. I had never played any games in the series before, and after a ton of prodding by friends who insisted that I would love the love, I pulled the trigger and purchased a copy for myself. It was worth every penny. I couldn’t remember a time in recent memory (not counting JRPGs) where I played a traditional, turn based RPG that was as complex as DIvinity: Original Sin. The game does not care to hold your hand at all; it is blisteringly difficult, forces you to spend hours upon hours on mundane tasks like managing your inventory, and if you are at all an OCD completionist like I am, expect to spend the remainder of your life looking in every barrel for every item you can find. I loved it.
It’s not the best looking game out there (though the Enhanced Edition does look pretty decent on my TV), and for those that aren’t megafans of turn based, pen and paper styled RPGs, the game can end up being a bit tedious and overwhelming, but once you put some time into it, D: OSEE becomes an incredibly and rewarding experience. It’s the sort of game that’s hard to get into, especially since console RPGs recently have been more of the action variety (Dragon Age, Skyrim, Fallout, Destiny, etc). The far more deliberate pacing of both the overall game itself and the combat is something that takes getting used to, but the feeling of accomplishment the game gives you is something that not too many games can offer. It’s like completing Dark Souls for the first time.
Instead of delving too much into what made the original D: OS so great, we will instead focus on what makes this Enhanced Edition stand out. Obviously you get an “enhanced” (better looking) version of the original game . Beyond visuals, you get full voice acting for most NPCs, new areas and spells, the ability to dual wield weapons, and my favorite new feature: local and online split screen co-op. The split screen co-op is especially nice since it allows you to wander off on your own to go exploring, unlike most other games where you’re restricted to a certain area within the line of sight of your partner. This opens up a whole slew of opportunities for exploration, as you and your partner can now tackle completely different areas at the same time, making exploration that much more efficient.
Of course, a game like D: OSEE means nothing if the mouse/keyboard controls don’t translate well over to an Xbox One controller (or Dualshock 4), so really, the playability of this game can only go as far as how well the game implements its many systems for a controller. In that regard, I’m happy to report that Divinity plays wonderfully from the comfort of your couch with a controller in hand. Even the inventory system, which was probably my biggest dislike of the game, with its heavy use of menus and overwhelming layers, worked out very well with a controller. You simply access your main menu (inventory, logs, character, etc) by holding down your right trigger and pulling up a radial menu, and access your character commands the same way with the left trigger. Simple and clean; that is, until you get to you inventory. Have fun managing, crafting, and combining. It’s a quite a bit to take in.
Combat works by simply pressing Y to pull up your skills menu, the scrolling left and right to select each skill/item. Once you’re finished with combat, you simply click Y again to tuck away your skills menu, and continue about your exploration. Everything else works much like one would expect; move with the left stick, rotate and zoom with the right, A to select things, so on and so forth. Every now and then you’ll speak to an NPC and you get a giant, intrusive dialogue overlay that blocks out most of the screen. A minor annoyance, and one of the few times that shows Divinity is still, at its heart, a mouse/keyboard PC game. Other than that small niggle though, I’m very pleased with how the game transfers over to consoles.
If you’re someone who played Divinity: Original Sin on PC, then there’s probably not a whole of reasons to get the Definitive Edition. Unless you’re a massive fan of the original game, and/or crave a co-op mode, most of the additions probably don’t warrant another purchase. However, if you haven’t played the game and have been wondering what all the hype is about, then the Enhanced Edition is the version to get. If you at all have the patience for a turned based RPG that doesn’t care about instant gratification, then you need to get this game now. It’s not perfect, but the engrossing story, deep combat, and wife open exploration make for one of the best RPGs in recent memory, and the fact that it works on a console is even more reason for newbies to get it.