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Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Review; A World That Begs to Be Explored
Before heading into the review, it’s essential to point out that I completely missed out on the opportunity of playing Divinity: Original Sin when it first came out. Hence, it is impossible for me to compare the Enhanced Edition with the original version.
The turn-based combat gameplay element is something which I consider very sacred. It’s not something that appeals to everyone, and personally, I’ve come across very few games that have left me impressed. What Larian Studios has managed to achieve with Divinity: Original Sin can only be termed as greatness.
In most role-playing games, players are slapped with training wheels during the initial hours of the game. Divinity: Original Sin doesn’t work like that. Larian Studios has no intention of holding your hand and gradually pull you into its enriched fantasy world. Instead, it drops you right into the deep end of the pond, bringing both an element of frustration and excitement.
This becomes obvious the moment you begin your adventure, since even the starting tutorial is going to leave you with several unanswered questions. The game is designed to have players learn on the go or from their mistakes, burdening you with inconsistent difficulty.
Minor mechanics such as mixing different elements or utilizing the environment to your advantage can only be learned through play. I had to learn the hard way that a poison cloud can be ignited to explode like a cluster bomb. Alas, I felt very confident by having my fire mage (with poison immunity) step right into that green viscous cloud, proceeding to blow my entire team up.
Thus, Quick-Saving becomes a crucial companion throughout the game. Especially in combat; each turn has an RNG element and it can prove advantageous to save right before you attempt to knockdown the foe in front of you. Prepare to smash the F5 key fairly often.
Divinity: Original Sin gives you 11 classes to choose from. Consider these as mere templates since you’re free to tinker with your character as you please. There are no restrictions in place that bound your character in any significant manner.
The character creation screen, however, can be felt overwhelming. Since at the start you’ll have little idea about how attributes such as Perception and Concentration work, or even the long list of skills and talents lining in front of you.
Don’t let that intimidate you. One major aspect of Divinity: Origin Sin is how the player is free to decide how his/her character plays in the game. Regardless of what you choose at the beginning, you can opt to dwell in any of the other 8 skill trees later on for new abilities.
Hence, the Ranger is not bound to stay at range with a bow and can instead go Rogue to gain invisibility for a few turns, or learn Geomancer skills to summon a venomous spider to gain control of the board. Your melee companions can choose to become tanks to soak damage or become hybrid battle mages with the ability to dish out elemental pain.
I cannot stress enough on how the combat is where the game really comes alive. How you decide to clear the battle-board may eventually surprise you or leave you dismayed.
Your Geomancer mage is able to create an oil spill, but how does he/she ignite that to burn foes? Perhaps your melee companion has the ability to ignite that oil in the next turn but then he/she won’t be able to engage in that inferno. Creating a rainstorm to weaken Fire Elementals sounds good, but are you willing to risk your electricity arrows to stun both foes and allies? These are situations that arise fairly often and make the combat so addicting.
Coming to the story content, it has to be said that there’s plenty of inconsistency to be found. The focus on players scrimmaging through the campaign on their own has perhaps been taken a bit too far. You’ll often wonder as to where your band should be heading next.
The quest journal is always vague and of little help. Objectives marked on the map have to sometimes be taken on in order; leaving you wondering why the marked NPC in front of you is not updating your quest log.
The strangest part is that Larian Studios has not completely abandoned us. It has hidden away clues to every single puzzle in the game. Most of the times you’ll come across them by accident; speaking with animals with the Pet Talent, going through books scattered everywhere, winning arguments against NPCs, unearthing items, and such. You’ll really have to get involved with the content or else look towards online guides to help you in your adventures.
If there is one aspect of the game that I have issues with, it’s the loot and inventory system. There is so much junk present in this game that goes unlabeled. You’ll keep on hoarding wares in hopes that the crafting system will have some use of it later on. There is none; get rid of all of it. Additionally, the constant fiddling of each character’s inventory table at regular intervals can become an annoyance.
Even with its cons, it’s all part of a great RPG experience. Divinity: Original Sin just screams the love and dedication that Larian Studios has put in. The world is extremely well-made with quite an attention to detail. The visuals are tantalizing; each elemental attack has its own fluid animation. It’s just a very beautiful game.
To wrap it up, Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is borderline perfection. It, though, does demand some level of patience to be appreciated. This is one title that has to be played by every RPG fan. I may have missed out on the original release, but will make sure the same doesn’t occur when Divinity: Original Sin 2 comes out.