There are certainties that people have come to expect from a fantasy role-playing game: Orcs, dragons, goblins, overpriced armor you could easily acquire from battle, and an impressive lore to tie it all up. Sometimes, when developers try to create grounded, yet fantastic, worlds for players to explore, they tend to take their own work of fiction too seriously. Often resulting in a world that lacks personality.
Upon first glance at “Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition” for the PlayStation 4, the impression of another generic fantasy game gracing consoles may creep into your head. Shake that thought off. “Divintiy: Original Sin” is anything but generic. No game featuring a talking seashell called “Ishmashell” could ever be accused of being derivative.
Developed by Larian Studios, “Divinity: Original Sin” on the PS4 honors the tabletop role-playing games it draws inspiration from, while injecting some much-needed humor to the genre. You begin the game not as one customizable character, but two: a heroic-looking male and female duo. The two of you have been sent on a mission to investigate the murder of a town councilor by a suspected “Sourcerer” in Cyseal, a port town in southern Rivellon. No, that’s not a misspelling of “Sorcerer.” “Sourcerers” are those who practice a dangerous and forbidden magic called “the Source.” As “Source Hunters,” it’s your job to eradicate the black magic and its followers.
Needless to say, there’s more to the story than a crime scene investigation. What begins as a simple tale of murder evolves into a grand scale battle to save the universe. Despite the incredible raise in stakes, “Divinity: Original Sin” never stops feeling like a personal experience. The game knows when to escalate the dangers and how to present it in a magnificent way. It also knows how to lighten the mode with a joke or two.
Little things like a pick-up item named “Nine Inch Nails,” or meta-commentary about a fearsome warrior unable to cross over a simple rope adds to the overall experience. You can even make some fun of your own, by having the characters disagree during conversations, as the game allows you dialogue control of both characters at certain times.
Of course, the game is not a parody. “Divinity: Original Sin” stays true to its computer role-playing roots. This is first evident by its visual presentation: a top-down experience similar to “Diablo” filled with colorful environments and expressive characters. It’s even more evident with the game’s combat system, which has the player calculate his movements based on points. Should I waste three or four points positioning myself away from danger? Or, waste them with a physical attack of my blade?
Battle can be slow and tough, depending on the level you’re at, but it’s never boring. There’s always an interesting strategy to defeating your enemy; making victory much more satisfying. Magic is used with the press of the Triangle button, along with enchanted items found within the game.
Your two-person crusade will also expand as you play further, which will be a necessity, if you wish to advance to the more challenging areas ahead. If you’re into online play, you’ll be interested to know the game allows multiplayer.
Voice acting for non-playable characters is a new feature for the console version of the game. A welcoming addition, considering how dialogue heavy the game is.
When entering Cyseal for the first time, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of quests to do and how exactly to do them. This is part of the problem of “Divinity: Original Sin.” The game isn’t always clear with how to execute these mission; sometimes burying important information in easy-to-miss conversations. The objective markers on the map are all colored the same, so it’s hard to distinguish which one pertains to the main quest.
The pacing in the beginning of the game is questionable as well. A brief battle with orcs and then several conversational side-quests throws off the quick pace it once had.
And despite some accommodations made to the controls, “Divinity: Original Sin” still feels like a PC game being played on the PS4. The way you interact with objects and people with multiple pop-up boxes always makes you want to play with a mouse, than a DualShock 4 controller.
Nonetheless, “Divinity: Original Sin” is a success. It’s a fun, classic RPG that offers a lot of content to immerse yourself with. If you missed the original PC release, then consider picking the Enhanced Edition up.
It has a talking shell named Ishmashell. How can you say no to that?
- Expansive world with lots to do
- Funny sense of humor
- Strategic combat
- Slow pace at the beginning
- Not always clear on what to do
- Interface more fitting for PC than console
“Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition” is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review.