Wednesday, 05 September 2018 15:38

REVIEW: Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition (Xbox One)

Written by Melekharn
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It’s been a long time since I sat down and played an RPG in depth. My brother had recently suggested I play Divinity: Original Sin as we used to spend hours together playing the Baldur’s Gate series. He would brag about how much the game offered and how similar it was, but I paid little attention to him as he is still heavily into World of Warcraft. In hindsight I really should have listened to him as I was recently offered the opportunity to review Divinity: Original Sin II: Definitive Edition by Larian Studios, the sequel to the very game he was trying to get me to play. Ask anyone around the MKAU office... to say I was excited was an understatement! Being able to boast about playing this amazing title in early access to my brother was just a sweet bonus!

I was in absolute awe when I first started the game, the sheer amount of customisation on offer blew my mind. Original Sin II gives players a huge amount of choice when building their ideal characters. You’ll be able to choose one of 6 premade characters. Alternatively, you can build your own by choosing between 4 main races, or their undead equivalents. Not only can you completely build your characters appearance, you will also have a choice in play styles, with 14 different classes to choose from – even the pre-set characters can be changed up. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that gave me so many options!

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While building your character you’ll soon notice that Divinity: Original Sin II is a graphical masterpiece, one that will leave you feeling as though every other RPG you’ve ever played is empty. The amount of detail the game contains is mind boggling – from the paintings in the start-up menu that looks as though they are real hand paintings on real canvas, to the smallest details on the wooden planks on the ship you start the game on. It was amazing how not a single item was overlooked. Shacks and tents are full of clutter and feel like they are lived in by an actual character. Cut scenes are animated in beautiful artistic representations which I feel only add to the games appeal. The world is populated with an abundance of items and characters that have the game feeling as though it is alive. You could lose yourself for hours on end simply exploring the incredibly rendered landscapes searching for treasures, or even just taking in the sights that the beautiful landscapes have on offer.

Not only do the graphics provide you with a fantastic gaming experience, but Divinity: Original Sin II offers a sound track and effects that compliment perfectly. Intense musical scores will have you swelling with pride and feeling heroic, while atmospheric effects will really have you feeling once again as if the game is alive. I’ll admit that while typing this review out, I sat in Fort Joy listening to the hustle and bustle of people just trying to survive. I found myself walking around simply listening as each foot step subtly changed depending on the surface I was walking. I would even approach NPCs and listen to their in-game conversations, admiring the voice acting and wondering what they might say next. The 6 pre-made characters all have their own unique voices are animated in a manner that perfectly resonates with their personality – The Red Prince, for example, really comes off as a self-entitled and arrogant individual; his over exaggerated animations resonating this further.

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There is only one thing I feel lets this game down and I believe this is purely for console gamers. The control system is quite complicated for people using controllers. The game is really suited more towards mouse and keyboard play – a controller simply does not have enough buttons to allow you to accomplish actions in a simplistic manner. You’ll find yourself pressing multiple buttons to perform some of the simplest tasks outside of combat while scrolling through menu systems to find your desired action. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the complex nature of the game, being able to pick up and move a container instead of just smashing it (which is also an option) but I do believe this could have been further simplified – perhaps holding “A” or “X” on your respective controller to move it around instead of “click this button, find the item you’re looking to move... scroll through this menu... press this button, move the item, press this button again.”

I also found that during combat, playing with a controller left the game feeling awkward. I found that a few times while trying to heal an ally, I would accidentally cast the spell on an opponent, or attacking the ground instead of slapping around an enemy. The thumb control sticks don’t offer the same precision as a mouse would. You’ll also find that during engagements, you’re forced to scroll through even more menus to select anything other than your basic attack. This isn’t a huge issue unless you are trying to rush through combat. Fighting is turn-based with an AP system, each ability used or potion consumed using a number of Action Points to complete. I had to quickly learn that I couldn’t just run in and slash with every character. I had to spend AP moving my team into position while making sure they weren’t in the way of my casters, at the same time trying to make sure I was landing hits – something I wasn’t completely ready for.

All in all, Divinity: Original Sin II is amazing. Aside from the control system when playing on console or with a controller, Larian Studios have masterfully created a living, breathing world for the player to explore, packed full of details most other games would simply leave out. My only recommendation to anyone considering buying Divinity: Original Sin II and has a computer that will support the game, consider buying for that instead of console. In my opinion if think you'll enjoy the game quite a bit more with a keyboard and mouse over a controller.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Larian Studios
  • Publisher: Larian Studios
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Action / Adventure