Divinity Original Sin is a tactical role-playing game, developed by Larian Studios. It was partially funded on Kickstarter and is a prequel to Divine Divinity. The game raised over 1 million dollars on Kickstarter. It’s the studios fastest selling game to date as well. It was first released on PC in June 2014 and later received a release on PS4 and Xbox One in October 2015. This was the enhanced version of the game (the version I am reviewing), and also hit OSx and Linux too. This enhanced version of the game included all DLC and several improvements over the original.
Larian Studios are well known for their work on the Divinity Series, it’s also worth noting that it is their only series too.
The game is set around a pair of Source Hunters which the player controls. At the start of the game, you receive orders to investigate a murder. Although as you would expect from an RPG, all is not as it seems and your adventure spirals down many avenues leading the characters to new lands and down new rabbit holes for new quests. There is a lot of story to Divinity, and a lot of text to go with it too. Thankfully the majority of the game has voice acting and boy oh boy am I glad it did. I don’t think I could have stomached reading hours and hours of text just to follow through on the story. The story is probably the key mechanic here though, if you don’t listen to what characters are saying, you won’t have a clue what to do in terms of quests. All of the information needed will come through dialog with NPCs so you need to pay attention.
I’ve not played the previous games in the Divinity series and this did not hinder me when it came to understanding past lore. It is touched on very briefly and did not affect my overall enjoyment of the story from the game. It should probably be said right now if you don’t like games that have tons of story and depth in the lore, Divinity is not going to be for you, it's a super fantasised world and requires patience to progress through.
The game is presented excellently. It really looks the part of an RPG game with bright and colorful scenes at the beginning, and as you reach the later stages it changes to dark and gloomy environments. I can’t pick any faults with the graphical style, it looks amazing and couple that with a well-designed UI and menu structure, well you have the beginnings of a recipe for brilliance.
This is another game that has included a loot system and absolutely knocked it out of the park with it. All of the gear you acquire throughout the game is individually modeled and shows on your characters when you wear it. Divinity could have easily gone down the route of Marvel or Van Helsing and just have your character looking the same regardless but the developers have gone to extra effort to model every piece of gear wonderfully.
I can’t fault any of the game’s animations either. Everything from movement to attacking stances all looks as they should. The game’s environments are lush with high-quality textures, special effects and lighting to create additional mood and immersion.
On top of it being an excellently presented game, it runs even better too. I was able to achieve a steady 60fps throughout the game no matter how busy my screen was. With a wealth of graphical options, I can safely say that this game will run no matter how powerful your rig is.
Divinity Original Sin has some well placed musical scores scattered across your playthrough. The more prominent ones come when you are hanging out in a tavern. Very upbeat tracks that have you humming along even after only hearing the music once. Music heard in dungeons and forests does a good job of adding to the mood and draws the player's attention further into the game. I was extremely impressed with the amount of voice acting that this game has. Almost every single character I interacted with and had lengthy dialog scenes with was fully voice acted. I dread to think just how many hours of voice acting has gone into the game, and none of it sounds cheesy or cringy at all. For me, the voice acting is the best part of the game.
The game can either be played solo or in co-op with a friend. I’ve only played the single player so won’t comment on the multiplayer aspects. Divinity begins extremely slowly, and I think that is where they’ll lose the majority of their players. The start of the game does not do the rest of the game any favors as people will tend to tune out before they hit the main course. If you can stomach almost three hours of wandering around a town talking to people building up the backstory and starting quests then you have just passed the worst part of Divinity. After that, the game really branches out into various different story lines, and the majority of the time, letting the player choose the direction they go, which quest to complete, and how they choose to act in those quests. The game also is very unforgiving in letting the player potentially kill off NPCs which are absolutely pivotal to progressing quests and even the main story. I fell foul of this on many occasions by accidently killing off a few NPCs and then I was stuck with quests that I couldn’t hand in at the end! It’s annoying from a gameplay perspective, but it really makes the players' choices matter a whole lot more and for that, I applaud the developers.
Other than the importance of interacting with NPCs as you travel around the world, the other key feature is the combat system. Similar to that of other turn-based strategy games such as Banner Saga, each character has a set amount of action points that they can use per turn. You can use the action points on moving, casting spells, or attacking the enemy. If you choose to do nothing with your turn, any action points left over will get carried over to the next turn; this can often lead to playing the slow game in order to gain a huge advantage in the later stages of a fight.
The combat system is hugely in depth, even though from the outside it looks quite simple. As you build your characters to specialize in certain roles, such as tanks, damage dealers or support roles, you’ll soon amass a party that is well rounded and capable of taking on most tasks with a little bit of thought. At the start of the game you get to choose the class of the two main characters, and throughout the first couple of hours you get the chance to bring two more characters into your party, these character’s classes are predetermined so you have to pick and choose the correct one to ensure they fit into your party’s already determined play style and fill any roles you are missing. In terms of enjoyment factor, I can’t think of a game that does the turn based combat system better than Divinity. It’s a joy to use, the enemies are quick and snappy on their turns, leaving the player little opportunity to sit twiddling their thumbs.
The tutorial at the start of the game is basic, it explains the mechanics of moving around, and basics of the combat system, but the player is often left to figure out a lot of this through just playing the game themselves. I’m often not a fan of this as it can lead to tricky situations with dying repeatedly, but the start of the game is easy enough that the majority of people will progress with no problems, but offer just enough challenge that the player can learn the key mechanics of the game.
I already knew Divinity was going to be a long game. So I went in expecting around 20 to 30 hours worth of gameplay. However a single play through has taken me a little over fifty hours to finish. Although I am not ashamed to say I did have to use a guide at some stages to point me in the right direction for completing quests and an optimal progression path (I’m sorry! I like min-maxing ok?!), so I would say that's probably taken ten hours or so off my overall time. However like I said at the start, the game can also be played in co-op mode, and with all co-op modes in games, this will add another dimension to the title and worthy of another playthrough even after completing it solo.
The enhanced edition of the game comes with full controller support. A controller is going to be the preferred method when playing with a friend so you can just chill out on the sofa, but since I was playing solo, I opted for the keyboard and mouse and it worked just as well as the few minutes that I used a controller.
Divinity: Original Sin is an absolute masterpiece of a game. It goes to great lengths to let newer gamers experience the CRPG genre but with a modern twist on it. You can really see the inspiration from the likes of Baldur’s Gate thrown in but without the mammoth amounts of reading and text which may put off newer/younger gamers. The hugely deep and epic story will have any RPG fans craving for more after every quest, and it’s one that just keeps on giving if you so choose to explore every avenue for plot and lore. My favorite aspect of the game is definitely the production values which are clear for all to see. It's gorgeous looking game, and one of the best voice acted games I’ve ever played. Divinity Original Sin is an unparalleled gaming experience that deserves a place in my top games of all time.