When Focus and Larian announced a new Divinity game I was pretty excited, being a fan of the dragon knight saga and having put a lot of hours specifically into Ego Draconis I was ready for more hack and slash RPG fun in a world that was equal parts humour and serious. So I was very much looking forward to doing our official Divinity Original Sin Enhanced Edition Review.
And whilst the RPG elements exist in this rendition I can’t help but wish some of the other classic elements of this game carry over, and whilst there is alot of good things to say about the world, the game and the potential, there are a few issues here that perhaps let the game fall a little short of the glory it clearly deserves.
Divinity Original Sin is a turn based RPG with a heavy Co-op and squad focus, players will need to keep their wits, potions and giant spiders close at hand, if they want to survive.
You are a Source Hunter, weeding out the villainy of the world, sent to investigate a murder, you and your companion must journey the land, for a darkness looms….
The first thing that will strike you about Divinity Original Sin (henceforth DOS) is just how beautifully designed it is, now I know what you’re thinking, this kind of logic is redundant right? Wrong, so many games are pretty and shallow, or a bit rough and over packed
DOS looks incredible, a painstaking amount of detail has gone into every tree and every rock, even the one you can sneak under, yes, you can sneak as a rock, your move snake.
What is especially brilliant about the games design is the camera, objects in the foreground fade out tidily and obstacles remain easy to notice, finding items and crates and NPC’s is easy, and you can even have the game label everything for you.
When playing Co-op the camera breaks off dynamically for two-player chaos, and whilst this presents some fun ideas for springing traps and flanking enemies in a way that may be difficult, it seems a little at odds with the games turn based combat
But don’t let me sound like a damp boot, the combat IS fun, the character styles and classes allow for alot of strategy, and with a tonne of perks and stats to track and unlock combat manages to feel fresh and vibrant
And for the record, summoning a giant spider to kill a zombie is possibly the best feeling a game has given in a little while.
The world is rich and vibrant to look at, but also has a lot of substance this is a game built by people who love a good RPG world.
Normally in reviews I spare a section for things that I didn’t like and/or were bad about the game, but I am reluctant to do that here, but there are some rather frustrating issues for first time players, and people who are perhaps not so familiar with strategy RPG’s.
The first major issue I found with this game, at least when playing co-op is that, other than the capacity to wander and find things on your own, the split screen seems redundant, saying that actually, co-op seems redundant.
You see if this were a hack and slash dungeon crawl like, say, Diablo or Sacred, it would make sense, but whilst you only have two team members, or even three (because you can hire others) the split screen is suicide outside of safe areas, enemies are too numerous and too dangerous to attempt alone, even as a group of two or three this can prove challenging, and if your co-op buddy wanders off in search of a potion, or you get waylaid in dialogue (more on that shortly) the co-op becomes problematic.
That and you still have to take turns, so it doesn’t really make sense, I mean it is a good USP, but it doesn’t always work like you would want.
The encounters can also be hit or miss, you have a bar of energy that depletes based on the actions you take, and having chosen a ranged and close range attacker I quickly learned to moving to hit an enemy can drain most of your bar, meaning you have less energy to attack, which in turn led to me losing a few battles I probably should have won.
After a while of tinkering with my strategy I quickly adopted my third person as ranged and a summoned spider to give my main sword swinger time to manoeuvre into position so as not to burn him out, this whilst frustrating was also one of the things I kind of liked.
So like I say it is kind of difficult to overly criticise DOS…. well almost…
My biggest problem with DOS was the dialogue, some of it was punchy and clever, some of it succinct, and being able to develop your lead characters based on dialogue choices is fun, and in co-op will tell you a little about the person you are questing with.
That said there is A LOT of dialogue, this isn’t always a bad thing, I love a good RPG and dialogue trees as much as the next guy, but my word there are a lot of dialogue boxes, and whilst each does a good job building the world you are in they do one thing very badly.
See, when I started and had my first dungeon tutorial I found myself thinking ‘hey this is alright’ but then the momentum I had been building was crushed under a line of dialogue boxes so long I kind of lost track of why I had started talking to this particular person in the first place.
Good dialogue needs to be engaging and frankly some of the dialogue here switched me off rather quickly, having to sit through four or five minutes to find out that, no, this character doesn’t know any pertinent information is fine once, maybe two or three times, but once I had had my ears assaulted by the twentieth person who couldn’t tell me the damndest thing about the stone I was looking for I realised something.
There is such a thing as TOO MUCH DIALOGUE.
If fast paced frenetic action is your thing, then DOS may not really be for you, if you like a slow burn story with lots of depth and involvement then this game my very well be for you, the action does work, but unfortunately the game goes about the story building stuff in far too much a detrimental way.
I understand the need to give players the opportunity to explore and learn about the world you created, but to put this into context, in most RPG’s that I have loved, talking to people to find information was always a one trip exercise, and that simply isn’t the case here.
Maybe that notion sold the game to you, maybe it put you off, this is after all, only my opinion. DOS is not a game that I can see myself playing, which is weird considering I play a fair bit of both RPG’s and turn based games (see both Dragon Age and Pokémon) but the pacing here, for me at least, was kind of an issue, it seems to take far too long to find out the next part of what you need to know to advance the game.
You’ll notice that throughout this I have said nothing negative about the combat, this is because I LIKE IT, but as far as dialogue goes sometimes, less is more.
Now, I’m going to sneak whilst dressed as a rock.