Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition Review
Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC and Microsoft Xbox One
Roughly a year ago the world of the PC gamer was spoilt for choice; Wasteland 2 proved to be flawed yet popular and Divinity: Original Sin took the wave of nostalgia and rode it all the way to the top of the GOTY listings for many of the annual awards. Old school, difficult, but wonderfully written and deeply engrossing, Divinity: Original Sin re-ignited that lingering love for a good old fashioned, tough RPG.
Here we are a year later and not only have the good people at Larian successfully kickstarted Divinity: Original Sin 2 (in a few days!) they’ve been busy beavering away at this new enhanced edition. Free for owners of the original PC version and lovingly ported across to both Xbox One and PS4, RPG lovers have never had it so good - not least of all, all those RPG lovers who have traded in the PC elite gamer life for a more chilled out console living room experience. Now these guys and gals can enjoy the delight that is Divinity:Enhanced Edition, all wonderfully mapped to your joypad of choice - heavenly (note controller support has also been added to the PC version)
Initially, some had issues with Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, although anything negative was fairly instantly overpowered by the groundswell of good feeling that the game garnered through positive reviews and seemingly never endingly positive word of mouth. For those that didn’t take to the original, often it was because of the old school feel that it had adopted. These days gamers are used to quest markers, easily followed objectives, simple fetch quests and clearly defined quest paths - Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition does away with all that, forcing you to pay attention, read your logbook and make key conversational decisions which directly have a proper impact on the way in which you complete a quest, or in some cases multiple quests. It’s also unforgiving in its combat difficulty; it will let you wander into places you simply aren’t levelled for and it will have no qualms at all about wiping out your entire party in under three of the turn based combat moves. In this regard, it’s pretty merciless. That said, to kick things off with the differences between the two versions...the difficulty settings have been reworked. There are now more options available to players (all will be new games as you cannot carry over a save from the original version on Steam); Adventurer is easy, well so they say, Classic is the same as the original, Tactician includes enemies and monsters only seen in this mode and Honor mode is the ridiculous iron man style one save, one life mode. These changes simultaneously make the game more accessible for new players, which on console is everyone, as well as giving older players from the PC a reason to start the adventure all over again.
Often though the actual combat itself (turned based) isn’t particularly taxing it can just feel difficult as there are many ways to skin a cat, most of which require experimenting due to the lack of hand holding, some with much more chance of success than others. Spec’ing up your party to complement each other is essential and upgrading them so they have the correct mix of special skills is also, for the most part, something that could turn the tide of an encounter. For this enhanced edition the combat has been made more balanced with the game now affording you the ability to dual wield, use wands and more, thus providing you with even more tools to tackle what is known for being a tough adventure.
The Enhanced Edition boasts a plethora of improvements over the original, along with the fact that it is now available on the console platforms. Everyone, PC owners included, will benefit from a long list of improvements and new features. Across the board the amount of polish is clear, with improved graphics making the colours really pop as well as the addition of a raft of more animations and special effects, it’s clear a lot of time and effort has gone into this new version, it isn’t a simple cash grab to console. The changes themselves don't end there either; the addition of full controller support, which is natural as it’s been ported across to PS4 and Xbox One is also now present for PC owners. For such a deep, rich, complicated old school RPG the introduction of the pad actually works fantastically well. Playing on PS4 the controls are sensibly mapped, sure there is a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to the way in which you pass items between characters and you split/re-join people together but after an hour or so it all starts to feel natural and second nature. The script has been re-written, and more importantly dialogue has been added to replace the excessive amount of reading required in the original version, with hundreds of lines of dialogue now having been recorded as replacement. There are even additional characters that have been added, all fully voiced to further bring the world of Divinity to life, and it’s no surprise to report that it really makes a hell of a difference. This along with the upgraded look and feel of the game really means the game has been completely upgraded in the minute to minute adventuring.
Story-wise there are further improvements, which is great as even in the vanilla version it was brilliant, with a revamped ending which includes plenty of new writing, quests have been tweaked and there is even a brand new ending which has been completely re-vamped, thus furthering the enticement for older PC players and treating the new respective console crews. One more excellent improvement is the loot system - it has had a little update as well making it far easier to navigate, as well as being mapped to a pad along with now a vastly easier way to pass items between characters. This is particularly handy as local and online co-op has been introduced, along with a really simple way of completely splitting your party, allowing one adventurer to run off (split screen if local). As a result you can have party members very much miles away from each other so the new ability to easily pass items between party members using the magic pocket system, wherever they may be, is most welcomed.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition takes a difficult but excellent old school RPG and improves it in almost every conceivable way. With fantastic voice acting, a compelling storyline, that old school lack of hand holding and challenging gameplay it really is one of the games of the year. A treat for all existing owners of the PC original and an absolute must for RPG lovers who only have access to a console. A must buy!