I’m not a huge RPG gamer, I have played the big ones: Diablo, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age and Fallout. Many of these games have a simple and easy to use interface and set up, something that is probably a huge factor in making them stand out in my games library. Divinity Original Sin is a game that I have never played on PC, not for any specific reason, but now Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition has come to the Xbox One, so there was nothing stopping me from dipping my toe into a deeper, more complex Role Playing experience.
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition follows the same formula as many of its ilk: you play as a party of heroes on an epic quest. You can have up to four members in your party at any one time. The first, and the most glaring difference is that instead of creating your character, the lone protagonist that will lead you through dozens of hours of gaming, you make two. This is where I had my first problem, and yes, it was literally ten minutes into the game.
The character creation section seems rather threadbare. There are some options to change the names of your main characters but in terms of physical customisation, there are only a few options in each setting: Face, Hairstyle, Hair Colour etc. I had hoped for more in Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition but sadly your character will look largely similar to anyone else who plays the game. Physical appearance aside, you have your standard selection of class, gender and skills. The aspect that got me turned around was the character’s AI. The AI allows a character to interact with NPC’s in the game without prompting from the player. Initially, I set the AI on both characters as empty, after all, I didn’t want the game deciding how my party would handle a situation without my input. It lasted about ten minutes before the strain of having a conversation between both main characters by myself, got too much. A quick restart and I set my Wizard as a Free Spirit, but this only opened up a new range of controller-breaking frustration.
Much of Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition’s interaction is done through the tried and tested method of conversation. Most characters have something to say that will help you on your quest (including the odd animal if you have the right perk). In standard RPG fashion, if you have stats high enough you can intimidate, charm or reason with characters, instead of the usual dice roll, Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition makes you play rock paper scissors with whoever you are trying to overcome, because everyone knows that Rock Paper Scissors is the most definitive and intimidating of all the schoolyard games, but I digress. I have yet to win this mini-game and it caused me a great deal of frustration. I was often challenged by my free-spirited Wizard in conversations with NPC’s, I would inevitably lose the RPS mini-game and then had to end the encounter in the way the AI judged best, totally ignoring what I wanted to do in the first place. I can see why this feature would be great when playing online, with each player having their say, but when I was playing offline and by myself, it felt like an unnecessary obstacle that was constantly thrown in my face.
Much of the voice acting isn’t up to a AAA standard, often emulating the same quality as a Sci-Fi budget movie: a straight to DVD title. I found it hard to grow attached to any of the characters, none of them seemed to have much of a personality, any charisma or were all that likable. In such a lore and story-heavy title, I can’t help but feel that Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition dropped the ball in this regard.
Divinity Original Sin was originally released last year and I have to say that the graphical quality of the Enhanced Edition was a bit of a disappointment too. It lacks the life of Diablo, the grandeur of Skyrim and the overall awesomeness of Mass Effect. It looks like a budget title, it’s not painful to look at but the top down angle and low graphical quality don’t do the title any favours. I had issues with enemies going unnoticed in the combat sections because they were the same colour as the ground that they were standing on (I’m looking at you Burning Skeleton dude). There is a range of issues like this, none of which are deal-breakers but enough that after a dozen hours or so of play, that I was getting thoroughly fed up with them.
The combat in Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition will be the main divider for its audience. When exploring the world, looting caves or just having a wander around the map, the game is in real time and you can see other people going about their business. When combat kicks in, we are transported to a turn based system. Using Action Points, each character can move around, attack, use items and so on. Once again, there is nothing new in the formula of this approach and by and large, it works well. The tactical elements are immense as more enemies flood to the fight you can easily be battling away for half an hour at a time. Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition doesn’t offer any mercy in combat with brutally hard encounters if you stray too far from safety. When a character dies, they don’t just respawn after the fight. In the early stages of the game you have to use a Resurrection Scroll to bring a character back. I have to admit to taking my lead from the Wiki page as almost all of the finer details of the game, of which there are many, are never really explained through the helpful tips that flash on the screen. Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition is a complex game that is not for the beginner and is instead aimed at the veteran PRG player.
The controller mapping doesn’t do Divinity any favours either, with multiple radial menus assigned to different trigger buttons, it can be a bit of a jumbled mess when trying to upgrade characters and equip that shiny new armour. There is just a little too much going on for the controller to manage, in this aspect, I feel that a mouse and keyboard input system would be far superior.
I won’t talk about the story of Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition as it is spoiler heavy but I can assure you that it is a fairly standard tale. The game really comes alive when you play online with friends. Each party member can be controlled by an individual player and this is when teamwork and communication come into play. As a sole experience, Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition is like a flat can of Coke or a cold cup of coffee, it is a disappointment that I only got through because I had already invested the time into it. As a multiplayer game, it is fantastic. The online gameplay can be annoying if one party member refuses to play ball, but by and large, Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition should be played online whenever possible.
Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition is a rather hardcore RPG, it is not for the faint-hearted and definitely, packs a significant punch if you are not ready for it. The game looks and feels like a budget title and lacks the polish of many RPG’s. Divinity Original Sin is a game that should be played with friends, the solo gameplay can be frustrating, but when playing with a friend it can be a real blast with tactical combat and engaging interactions.
• Graphics – 69/100
• Audio— 71/100
• Gameplay— 86/100
• Story— 84/100
• Replayability— 80/100
• Value For Money— 86/100
Overall – 79.3