"Better still, I can't wait to argue with my wife while deciding whether or not we should kill the drunken guards impeding our progress."
Man, I really sucked at Divinity: Original Sin. I mean, I was terrible. The old school WRPG featured an insane amount of player agency and variables, but my small caveman mind had a hard time trying to make sense of it all. Between lobbing fireballs at oil spills, freezing enemies solid, and trying to figure out exactly what the "warm" stat did to characters on the battlefield, I was left wondering if Divinity would ever make sense. Thankfully, Larian Studios seems to be taking players like me along with the millions of fans who loved the game with the Enhanced Edition coming this fall.
Our hands-on demo gave Stephen and me a chance to test out the console version of Divinity using a controller, and right away you can tell that a lot of work went into this version of the game. It was super easy to pull up the hotbar and select abilities, and targeting using the analog sticks felt smooth and responsive. I always prefer to move my characters directly instead of using a mouse to tell them where to go, and thankfully, Larian is including controller support when they update all PC versions to the Enhanced Edition (for free, by the way).
Playing in co-op was at the heart of the Divinity: Original Sin experience, and playing with Stephen was actually my first time using this amazing feature. It was surprisingly easy to call out orders, coordinate attacks and make sure we brought enemies down quickly and efficiently. Playing on a couch together feels like the optimum way to play Divinity, and thankfully Larian included some unique concessions for when you only have one screen. In particular, the game transitions to split-screen mode when players move too far away for each other. This is probably for the best, considering I was planning on stealing everything that wasn't bolted down while Stephen worried about saving the world or whatever.
Unfortunately, I won't appreciate most of the other changes and tweaks Larian is making. Most of the spells, talents and abilities are getting a massive overhaul. Our demo presenter commented that players felt there was little variance between some spells (think a small fireball versus a medium or large one), so they are combining and further differentiating the ones that work best. Certain status effects such as "bleed" that were shared between classes will now find a proper home in one branch to further build diversity and the need to carefully select abilities. This will also help to add variety and choice to the late game, which many reviewers, including our very own Kyle
, found to be slightly underwhelming since things were far too easy and slightly repetitive. The entire game will be rebalanced, and new difficulty levels should make things even more intense for those who are truly masochistic. *glares at Stephen*
Rounding out the enhancements are the usual upgraded visuals, new quests/storylines, and even full voice acting through the entire game. It's truly impressive to see Larian putting so much thought and love into this package, and it ended up being the most fun game I played at this year's E3. It also made me realize just how important the co-op gameplay is to the experience, and I can't even imagine playing it any other way. With Stephen leaving for Japan in the fall, I think we found the perfect excuse to stay connected outside of our podcast. Better still, I can't wait to argue with my wife while deciding whether or not we should kill the drunken guards impeding our progress. Wait, who am I kidding, of course we'll agree that they need to die!