Do you have what it takes to slay every type of monster imaginable as a Source Hunter?
There aren't many tactical RPGs available for modern consoles, but there are plenty of them for PC. I suppose this can be blamed on the differences between PC and console gamers coupled with the limitations of previous-gen console hardware. However, the power of the PS4 and Xbox One is changing the tide of battle, so to speak, and game developers are responding with worthy console titles like Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. This game certainly lives up to its name; it isn't just a standard port—it's a deep experience that's been modified with over 1000 welcome enhancements. Oh yeah!
In place of a traditional storyline, Divinity: Original Sin has more of a setting and timeline that tosses players into a fantasy world and lets them figure out what to do and whom, or what, to slay next. Players take on the role of Source Hunters, skilled warriors out to eradicate a form of magic dubbed The Source. This magic corrupts its users, which is why it has been declared illegal. When the Source Hunters are sent to investigate a murder in the town of Cyseal, they uncover a much larger threat that involves orcs, zombies, and nearly every other type of monster imaginable. It's up to players to decide which threats top their priority list and which ones can wait until later. Unlike most games, some decisions that players make not only affect their immediate future, but also have deep repercussions several hours later.
I'm not too concerned that the character creator is rather limited when it comes to physical alterations because the amount of customization which really matters is almost overwhelming. There seem to be countless combinations of classes, skills, and specializations, which helps to make every player's experience unique and personal. Of course, this also puts players at risk of creating a character they don't like, but that isn't likely unless someone wants to try a class they've never played before. Restarting the game will certainly fix this, but in a game that lasts well over 60 hours, it's best to restart the game before too much time is invested in a mediocre character.
Anyone looking for a streamlined RPG should go elsewhere, as this tactical RPG features turn-based gameplay that requires a strong attention to detail. In addition to strategically setting party members up in the right areas for attacks, it's important to take advantage of the order of combat. Instead of the traditional turn-based order where everyone on one side gets a turn before the other side begins, the queue is based on action points, and this has a dramatic effect on the outcome. It doesn't help the battle much if a character has multiple turns with weak attacks, and conversely, infrequent strong attacks put other party members at risk. Additional...ahem...elements such as using fire, water, and electricity also play a big part in each battle's outcome. For example, a lengthy battle can be cut short by dousing enemies with water and electrifying them or by igniting enemies standing in oil with a deadly fireball. It's even possible to carry a candle and toss it at specific barrels for an explosive outcome.
I appreciate the hour-plus long tutorial that gives players the basics of gameplay, but it seems like the developers expect players to have extensive knowledge of the intricacies before they even begin. Most modern gamers don't concern themselves with reading game manuals. Hell, most games don't even include one anymore, but it really behooves players to read through every bit of information they can before starting their DOSEE adventure. Otherwise, players will be starting with a severe disadvantage that can turn into frustration and even rage-quitting. Another benefit of players knowing intricacies of the game is that it streamlines the experience, which is helpful with long games such as this one. One example is that I'm sure most players would rather know where to find ingredients for crafting rather than having to search high and low for each one.
This is the only tactical RPG I know of that offers drop-in, drop-out couch co-op gameplay, and it's done surprisingly well. The second player simply takes on the role of one of the three party members not controlled by the original player. While player two doesn't get to create and customize his or her own character, it's still a lot of fun to sit beside a friend and interact with each other both on-screen and off. It also offers features not found while playing alone, such as splitting up the party. When this is done, the game automatically changes into split-screen, and it melds back together when both players reunite with each other. I also appreciate how both players have independent amounts of gold and their own inventory, but the crown jewel is the ability to debate with each other when both players disagree. This give both players equal say over what to do next.
As I mentioned before, the developers have included over 1000 improvements to Divinity: Original Sin, so this version truly earns the moniker of “enhanced.” Immediately noticeable are the overhauled visuals that include rebuilt textures, new animations, and enhanced lighting. Combat improvements run the gamut from dual-wielding to a new class to the addition of wands for quick-fire caster attacks. In addition, there are new difficulty settings and the audio has been reworked to give voices to every single NPC in the game. Not so noticeable are changes such as reworked loot rewards, new quests and areas, and even a new ending.
One might expect a tactical RPG to be difficult to play using a console controller. Fortunately, the developers have worked extensively to solve this problem by using a radial controller that lets players select a party member with the left trigger and activate skills, logs, inventory, and more with the right trigger. This helps to streamline the amount of windows that pop up and, in turn, makes combat less tedious. Having said that, there are still numerous windows that must be slogged through during combat, which can be a turn-off for some gamers. Like most action games, movement is controlled with the left analog stick and the camera is controlled with the right stick. All in all, the controls will feel familiar to console gamers while offering a surprising amount of versatility.
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is a fantastic example of developers going out of their way to ensure that a PC game is specifically tailored to work on consoles. It's also a great way to introduce console players to a challenging style of game they might not normally play. Perhaps the only real sin pertaining to this game is the sin of sloth, because there's so much content that hardcore players will likely sit on their couch and play until they're dragged outside.