Playstation 4 Videogame Recommendation: Divinity: Original Sin: Enhanced Edition
(Grave Marker): “Here lies Master Ragequin's second apprentice. Killed by dying”
Alright. I don’t often decide, part of the way through anything, that I NEED to spread the word about it immediately. The end could be a complete mess that negates the whole experience that came before it (I’ve been burned before on that front). But forgive me, because this game is just… special. And I want you folks to play this before the much-celebrated sequel makes its appearance on game consoles this August (it’s so well loved on computer and it’s won many industry awards, to the point where many have called it one of the best CRPGs ever made). The first game is no slouch, either. It’s good. Really good.
It also happens to be a game that you don’t have to play alone. Well, it’s not that I don’t also have the Role Playing Game staple of party members as I go questing through the deeply engaging world of surprisingly lighthearted and hilarious Cyseal. The interesting thing is that this game can, in fact, be co-op. And not in an online manner. You can choose to play this top-down, tactical RPG all the way through with a buddy, sitting next to you on our couch. Staring at the same television, sharing the same bowl of popcorn. Probably at some point threatening your friend because they set you on fire again. I think the fact that various screens in game depict two characters holding hands should be taken as a sign of the developer’s attitude of playing with a friend or significant other. They want you to have fun with someone else.
It’s a glorious experience, and might be considered remarkable enough to merit it being played for that reason alone. The great thing about Larian Studios’ game is that it’s remarkable any way you slice it. Even if you would prefer to play it alone, I would recommend this game in the same breath that I would recommend the equally as remarkable (sans the couch co-op) Pillars of Eternity.
This is a top-down game that may bring you back to an older CRPG experience (a computer RPG experience, that is) which features a unique battle system that transforms the real time gameplay into a tactical, turn-based battle system. All the way through, the game forces you to make interesting decisions when it comes to what you’re doing and the best way to handle any situation. That may mean having someone sneak up on an enemy, then strategically having your buddy – either a party member or your co-op partner – dropping in on the fun, perhaps after taking a cheap shot at an enemy. Or deciding whether to set off a poison cloud on a group of enemies, only to later set the whole thing on fire for a fantastic explosion, then chase it by summoning a rain cloud to douse the charred bones of those monsters that tried to get between you and your quest reward.
This is a game of exploration, experimentation, and reading. Like, a lot of reading. You’re going to be turning rooms upside-down, looking for clues and loot, deciding who gets what, crafting – basically throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. For the most part, even the more frustrating moments are often punctuated with interesting characters and with a typically lighthearted, oftentimes silly story that leans hard on its writers’ intelligence. And the joy with discovering the answer to a puzzle together is a great one, as is planning out how you’re going to sneak past a group of vigilant monsters who’ve turned the countryside into a fireball – or from a group of pesky bandits who keep unleashing a volley of arrows on you from a hidden position on the cliffs above you. Also, what the heck’s going on with those Douglas Adams’ nightmares in the form of statues telling gullible people that they have given them the ability to fly – and these people quickly take a dive off of a nearby cliff to their deaths?
Playing the game had me figuring out how to put a fire out on a ship in a dock (I threw a PHENOMENALLY huge water balloon at the thing), deciding the fate of the friendliest and wordiest sentient clam in all of fiction (I found out later that you could have chosen to eat him(!)), and trying to help a talking head named Nick escape the fate of being a sideshow attraction and hopefully return him to his body (he became a zombie that was usable as a summon spell).
I don’t know about you, but I would take these beginning few hours that I’ve spent in Divinity with my S.O over the on-rail experience that most RPGs have left me with.
Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre. Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.