As an avid video game player, I typically know right away whether I’m going to forcefully drag myself through a game due to its inability to hold my interest, or if the next few weeks of my life will be dedicated to its enticing journey and I neglect all other responsibilities. When I first loaded Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition into my Steam library, I will admit I was skeptical. I was afraid it would lack originality and would relate too closely to titles such as Diablo or Torchlight (not at all insinuating they’re bad games, let’s just make that clear.) I craved something fresh. Quite instantaneously, my doubts became water under the bridge. Boy, was I in for a treat.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is an enriched version of Divinity: Original Sin which is a fantasy RPG with a unique combat system and an assortment of customization. Much is encompassed within this upgrade, portraying a more enjoyable experience for not only PC players, but for those who own a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One as well. As a PC owner, I must admit I was most relieved Divinity now offered controller support, for my keyboard skills aren’t particularly up-to-par. Ahem. Anyways, I found myself quite fond of having access to any angle of my characters and their environment at any given time, which wasn’t previously available due to the isometric view. And yeah, maybe I stop every once in a while during gameplay to admire my heroes and all their glory. Full rotation and all. What can I say? They’re pretty hardcore.
Speaking of which, creating a character was fairly time consuming. First off, you are able to customize both of your Source Hunters. Was this an exciting feature? Yes. Was it going to take decades to modify them? Absolutely. Questions flooded my mind. Which class would my heroes prosper at? I mean, there were only twelve to choose from. What skills would benefit them the most? And most importantly, what stylish hairdos would my protagonists appear the most badass in? I had all of this freedom and I was stumped. Hours later, I eenie-meenie-miny-moed and forced myself to be happy with my characters.
I’m just kidding, it wasn’t hours.
Okay, maybe it was.
Anyway, you have complete control of both Source Hunters (if you’re playing single player mode, which I was because I don’t have any friends). Obviously you’ll only be able to control one of them at a time and the other will aimlessly follow you around, but you get the gist. They are your partner in crime, or they’re not. It’s really up to you because you can make them disagree with each other in dialogue at any given time. I’ll expand on that later, though. Along with your Source Hunters, you can hire or acquire other companions to assist you on your journey. Each companion has their own unique characteristics, meaning that one ally may be of more use than another, depending on the situation at hand.
It can really test your patience.
Beginning in a sandy stone-like environment, your Source Hunters must unravel the mystery pertaining to a certain Councillor’s death in Cyseal. You’ll first notice tutorial pop-ups bombard your screen. I know how it goes: as regular video game players we don’t think we need tutorials. Tutorials are for the weak. But for someone who hasn’t yet played Divinity, I highly recommend you skim through the snippets because you will want to know what the heck you’re doing.
For example, the combat system in Divinity is quite dynamic. Typically in RPGs you encounter an enemy and you button smash or click vigorously at your enemy until wa-la, battle over. Adios, onto the next. Divinity re-introduces a powerful turn-based battling system, incorporating action points and tactical movements. You can even use the environment to your advantage. If your enemy is chilling in the water, shoot an electric bolt and they’ll be shocked–literally and metaphorically. Okay, that was a bad pun.
Yes, this game requires strategy in regards to combat, which is a challenging yet fun experience. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. The battles are difficult at times, especially if your characters aren’t leveled high enough. It was a bit of a head scratcher, but the challenge was fairly refreshing more the most part. A negative aspect to this type of turn-based combat is how lengthy some battles can get. Sometimes you’ll discover that five minutes later you’re still attacking the same group of the undead. Not even that, depending on how far your enemy lurks depends on how many action points you have to use to approach them. You read that right–in order to move toward an enemy in battle you must sacrifice your AP. It can really test your patience.
On the plus side, I discovered early on that if you happen to be engaged in combat where NPCs are nearby, they will join you in defeating your foes. At one point, a dog joined forces with me against a zombified man who rose from his grave. Unfortunately, my canine pal didn’t make it.
No, I’m not over it.
Like I formerly stated, the beginning of the game offers a lot of tutorial opportunities. There’s even a separate tomb you can explore right away that is a tutorial all itself. It introduces what seem to be simple techniques and controls but will help immensely along the way. Even when it boils down to conversing with your fellow Source Hunter, you’ll want to know what it means to “Reason”, “Intimidate”, or “Charm” them. I’m personally doing my best to keep my Source Hunters on good terms with one another, but that’s just me. But what happens when you disagree with them or even a simpleton you stumble across along the way?
The opportunities seem endless along with Divinity’s detailed world.
You may think I’m joking, but I swear on my deceased canine friend that I previously mentioned (may he rest in peace) that I am completely serious. You literally have a rock-paper-scissors battle when you’re in a disagreement and it is brilliant. Depending on whether they agree or disagree defines how compatible your two protagonists are and will influence your social status, in general.
In Divinity, your protagonists will build a global reputation. I discovered this by accidentally stealing a barrel in Cyseal, the first town you visit. All of a sudden, guards hauled at me with their swords. You can assume I was fairly careful after that… kind of. See, I’m so used to games where NPCs didn’t care if you explored every aspect of their home. So here I was, trying to open all these doors and some of the civilians would get so mad at me. Needless to say, many weren’t too fond of me after my unintended snooping. Their “attitude” toward you actually decreases. If you happen to aggravate a merchant, they’ll jack up the prices on their products. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for cheap merchandise, so I will be a suck-up to get my rightful discounts. No shame.
Like any other RPG, there are main quests and there are side quests. Divinity offers what seems to be an infinite amount of expeditions that will help unveil the secrets behind what you have to do with altering the fabric of time. Likewise, the game sometimes lacks direction which causes you to run around frantically in hopes you’ll get lucky and talk to the right person.
The opportunities seem endless along with Divinity’s detailed world. The environment is absolutely intoxicating. Like, literally intoxicating at times because of poisonous clouds you’ll inevitably be a victim to at some point.
In total seriousness, Divinity is a gorgeous game. Even the tiniest artistic details add so much to your experience that it will put you in an “awe” state, even if for a brief moment. I found myself marveling at how beautiful the water looked for goodness sakes. It’s that pretty.
Though I haven’t yet mustered through everything Divinity has to offer, I am particularly fond of the game in general. I have, indeed, neglected my other responsibilities (oops) and have spent a good chunk of my life slaving away as a Source Hunter. But how could I not? It contains humor and impressive dialogue in addition to inventive new ways to interact with characters. The possibilities are endless, whether it happens to be unlocking a “Compassion” trait for your protagonist or having a melee-driven character learn magic, there is no limit. You have total freedom to mold your characters into who you want them to be. Granted, the combat can get difficult and dragging at times (to the point where you’re throwing your controller across the room), but remember – being patient, tactical, and strategic is a necessity.
A PC copy of Divinity: Original Sin was provided by the developer. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.