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Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition

Score: 95%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Larian Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Local and Online)
Genre: RPG/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

I fear that, to the legions of newer fans of role-playing games who grew up on Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and The Witcher, Divinity: Original Sin might appear an antiquity, a game that has appeared long past its time. But those who look at this game as that and nothing else are senselessly depriving themselves of one of the best games of the year. Granted, the original PC release hit shelves last year, but with the release of Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition, nobody has an excuse anymore. It's time to give credit where it's due: this is one of the best, most immersive role-playing experiences to come along in a long time, and its retro charm is backed up by excellent writing, an intricate suite of mechanics, and a personal touch that makes every play your own -- and nobody else's.

Visual first impressions are dangerous in video games; it's not uncommon for a developer to strategically position their best content in the beginning, only to fall apart hours in. And Divinity: Original Sin's first impression from a visual standpoint is deceptively unassuming. It's got its own art style and its own perspective, and its HUD is loaded with details and the classic action bar. Lesser fans of role-playing games will be instantly turned off, but if you count yourself among those, push onward. While Divinity: Original Sin isn't a technical showcase by any stretch, it is a great-looking game. For all of its complexity, the user interface is attractive and navigable; this is a very important positive, as you'll be spending more time messing with your inventory than in most modern role-playing games. But in action, Divinity: Original Sin looks great; environments generally stick to well-established adventuring tropes, but they remain a joy to explore nonetheless. On top of that, it has some of the most viscerally satisfying action I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing in a turn-based combat system.

Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition's sound design trumps the original release in its voice acting. Not in its quality; having played the original release, I think there might have been some changes -- and not all for the better. However, I can't deny that the amount of effort has increased significantly. Non-player characters whose speaking roles were reduced to simple text boxes have voices, now. And while the results are mixed as a whole, it's still an improvement over silent characters. I have no complaints whatsoever with Kirill Pokrovsky's excellent soundtrack.


Source. The word alone inspires terror in the people of Rivellon. Mere mention of this deadly force is enough to send people running for the hills. And such is its influence that an organization has been formed with the sole purpose of combating it and its practitioners, known colloquially as Sourcerers.

When a statesman ends up dead, circumstances suggest not only foul play, but Source on top of that. So you, as a pair of fully-customizable Source Hunters, journey to the city of Cyseal, where the murder investigation leads you into an adventure to not only uncover the truth, but ultimately save Rivellon. While the story's foundation is laid on well-trodden ground, it's in the telling that Divinity: Original Sin shines.

Fans of Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights rejoice: Divinity: Original Sin is a long, flowing love letter to role-playing fans who have spent countless hours at their computers, completing questlines, making difficult decisions, building up their characters, and ultimately telling their own tales. And at a time when all of these staples are being streamlined in modern AAA role-playing game production, this is most welcome.

So your pair of Source Hunters strikes out on the warpath, along the way visiting a series of villages and cities and scouring a series of dungeons and tombs. City time is just as important to the gameplay rhythms of Divinity: Original Sin as the act of Source Hunting itself. Good thing, too: this game's got a fascinating cast of wonderfully diverse characters with problems that range from serious and tragic to goofy and self-aware to... well... just plain weird. Natural, sharp, and witty dialogue brings it all full circle, resulting in a game world that feels truly alive.


If you haven't played a role-playing game with a strong Dungeons & Dragons framework, Divinity: Original Sin stands a good chance of intimidating you at the outset. It's a hardcore game, and proudly at that. Number crunches, saving throws, statistical checks: all of them are here and on full display. An introductory (and optional) dungeon acts as a brief tutorial on the basics, but as new concepts and mechanics are introduced, the game makes the effort to ensure that these are explained and given time to sink in. Ultimately, though, as it is with even the most hardcore tabletop experience, you'll learn Divinity: Original Sin by playing Divinity: Original Sin. There's bound to be some trial and error even for the most accomplished adventurers, but it never gets frustrating; you will want to dig deep and master the intricate systems Larian has built.

Divinity: Original Sin's variable difficulty level means that you'll find something to like whether you're a hardcore role-playing fanatic, a clueless newbie, or anything in between. If you want challenge, crank it up and get ready to think on your feet -- or die. If it's a casual storytelling experience you're after, it's got you covered, as well.

Game Mechanics:

When you first start playing Divinity: Original Sin, you might be tempted to compare it to more action-oriented role playing games like Diablo or Torchlight. But it won't take long for you to be disabused of that notion. Divinity: Original Sin features a slower, more deliberate, and much more strategic style of play.

With this particular playstyle, you must adjust to the way this world works. This is not The Legend of Zelda. You can't go around taking people's stuff or killing random people without having to deal with serious consequences. And these consequences are everywhere; from the obvious moments in storytelling to even a choice as seemingly innocuous as picking up a candle. Your inventory space must be regulated at all times; this isn't The Elder Scrolls; you can't even come close to having it all, and you must learn to let certain things go.

Exploring and adventuring is very hands-on, and the level of interactivity is very impressive. For example, you can do much more with something as seemingly mundane as a wooden barrel than simply looting or destroying it. You might have to use it as a weight for pressure plates in puzzle solving. Or if there are superheated surfaces nearby and the barrel is full of water, you can drop it on the dangerous areas and make it safe to pass. Better yet, if the area is full of enemies, the resulting cloud of vapor is particularly, shall we say, conductive...

With this increased level of player agency and control over the world comes a more pronounced sense of responsibility. While Divinity: Original Sin has its share of quest markers and waypoints, you'll have to do most of the legwork yourself. This might be frustrating to more casual players, but it enhances the sense of discovery and achievement when you finally catch a break or stumble upon a new lead.

When combat begins, your characters are fixed in place and a grid appears. Moving and performing actions cost Action Points, similarly to the combat in games such as Fallout and Wasteland. Point costs and chance percentages are laid out clearly to see, as is the order in which every combatant will take take their turn. So from the outset, you're playing by a very specific set of rules. Through a mix of wits and strategic positioning, you outmaneuver and slay your foes with elemental magic, deception, or just good old fashioned fisticuffs.

If you want the best possible experience with Divinity: Original Sin, play it with a friend. In this Enhanced Edition, you have the option to play locally on the same screen, but playing online grants you much more freedom. It's a great experience because it involves both players in decision-making across all main pillars of gameplay. Decisions made in storytelling have a huge impact on your character; certain traits are established, depending on how you choose to respond to predicaments. Naturally, having another mind on your side will inevitably give rise to some fascinating combat experiences.

Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition expects much more out of you than most other role playing games. But at the same time, the rewards it offers are myriad and universally satisfying. If you're willing to put in the investment of time and effort, you'll be rewarded tenfold in the end. Rivellon is waiting, so get to it, Source Hunters.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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