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Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Impressions

Som Pourfarzaneh Posted:
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I may have missed the boat on Divinity: Original Sin’s vanilla release, but with Larian Studios’ relaunch of the game in October, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice.  I’ve been blundering through the Enhanced Edition’s wonderfully expansive content for fourteen hours or so, and have yet to scratch the surface of its open-ended gameplay and story.

For our official verdict, check out Chris Coke’s review, which makes some nice comparisons between the PC and console versions, and points out the additions that the Enhanced Edition brings to the table.  For my part, I’ve been playing through Divinity exclusively co-op, and have some thoughts about what the game does well, and where it needs work.

First off, Divinity absolutely nails isometric RPG combat.  Its use of Action Points to determine how far you can move or what types of skills you can use in a turn is intuitive and well-implemented.  Coupled with the fantastic variety of abilities that are available, you’re given a turn-based RPG experience that has a bit of a resource management flair to boot.  Furthermore, utilizing the elemental attributes of your skills and environs is paramount to your success.  If you’re fighting burning skeletons, for example, you’ll want to cast a rain spell or use some water arrows, which will greatly enhance your combat advantage.

I also like the availability of NPC companions that will adventure alongside you, and the brilliantly realized co-op mode.  The NPCs in Divinity are mostly ludicrous caricatures that add a tremendous amount of character to the world and story, along with new dimensions of variety in gameplay.  Adding in another player with her/his NPC companion gives you an effective party number of four, which usually results in some epic - and ridiculous - actions both in and out of combat.  There are plenty of opportunities to accidentally hit each other with poison gas while attempting to fight zombies, and a very smart rock-paper-scissors system to resolve disagreements between you and your friend during dialogue sequences.

The amazing scope and world of Divinity can’t be overpraised.  The story and characters walk a very thin line of epic fantasy and self-aware humor, and the dialogue threatens to break through the fourth wall on several occasions.  Besides trucking through the long and complex overarching narrative, there are tons of activities to pursue, including side quests, crafting, and bugging the heck out of your friends by checking every single NPC’s merchant screen to see what they have to barter.  There’s a lot to do, and most of it is worth your while.

There are, of course, a few areas where Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition stumbles, and although they’re not game breakers, they can be nonetheless annoying.  Chief among them is the irritating quest log, which gives you a lot of flavor text about the world’s goings-on, but a dismal amount of information about what you’re actually supposed to do.  While the lack of handholding is a bit refreshing, the log can be frustrating in its rudimentary user interface, with overlapping quests listed separately instead of being nested categorically.  The rest of the UI in the game is serviceable, if also fairly unsophisticated, although inventory management could still use some work.  Additionally, there are times where your - and your character’s - line of sight can be temperamental, resulting in you accidentally stealing an item from an NPC’s store by clicking on it or firing an arrow into a tree when it seemed like the way would be clear.

Overall, however, the positives of Divinity: Original Sin well outweigh the negatives, and it’s well-worth your time and investment.  Especially nice is that if you already own the original version, the Enhanced Edition is a free update, which is an excellent departure from the normative fashion in which re-releases are usually monetized.

Are you playing Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition?  What do you think?


Som Pourfarzaneh

Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.