I have never played a Divinity game before and am unfamiliar with them so I am coming into this review with a fresh perspective. As far as turn based strategy RPGs I have to say this one is pretty good. With multiple options for character creation, a deep storyline (although strange at times), and one of the best co-op systems I’ve seen in an RPG, you can’t go wrong with this one if you are a fan of RPGs. It is reminiscent of the old Bioware RPGs like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale but definitely stands out on it’s own as a great game in this genre.
Larian Studios did a great job of transitioning this game, originally developed for PC using a keyboard and mouse, to consoles. Unlike other RPGs intended for traditional PC style gameplay, that are ported to a console, the controls feel very natural. You can quickly select different characters in your party, navigate the extensive menus for things like skills and inventory, and unleash your fury in battles. There are multiple difficulty levels with modes like “Explorer” mode which gives the player a HP boost while limiting crowd control spells to only the player’s characters and bosses. If you want to really test yourself you could choose ‘Tactician” mode which buffs all NPCs and gives enemies extra abilities. For those of you who really want to torture yourselves there is ‘Honor” mode where you only get one save file and character death is permanent.
One of the most interesting gameplay features of this game is the multiplayer. There is both online and couch co-op in the game. If you are playing with someone else on the same system there is a split screen that works exactly as if you were each playing the game separately. If the players split up, and you should, the action doesn’t slow down for either of you. You can take your own members of the party with you and each explore completely separate areas of the game (which you should) without interfering with each other. Once you need to rejoin each other you can use a special item in the game to teleport you to the others location. Another neat feature of the co-op (which could be done in solo play as well but not nearly as interesting) is during conversations with NPCs. You get to choose the dialogue for your character and if you and the other player disagree on something like the next course of action you play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to decide which characters idea will be used. The characters also bicker a little with each other which adds to the fun.
Check out this co-op trailer for more info about it
Graphics and Sound
Visually the game is beautiful. There’s nothing groundbreaking here but the visuals are very sharp. I haven’t played it on PC but supposedly it looks the same as if you had the graphic settings at their highest. I really like the artistic style of the cutscenes as well. The environment feels alive with detail. Everything in the game like the changing weather, interactive environments, and spell effects look great.
The soundtrack is particularly good in this game. From the music in town to the combat music in the deepest dungeon it is fitting. The game is also completely voice acted. It really adds to the immersion.
I don’t want to spoil anything with the story but it’s your typical save the world fare with a twist. You start the game as 2 characters who are “Source hunters” who are searching to eradicate a dangerous magic called “the Source”. You will have to do a lot of investigation as well as exploration in your hunt for the Source. There are factions you could join to add more quests and add more to the story as well. There is a lot of dialogue fully voiced throughout the game. Many NPCs add their own little bits and pieces to the story and nothing I’ve encountered yet feels forced. At times the story could get a little strange but it is engrossing and at times humorous. I doubt the story will ever get boring.
One of the best RPGs of 2015
- Replay Value
Overall I think the game is one of the best turn based RPGs I've played this year. With an immersive story, fun gameplay, slick controls, and deep customization of characters, it has a lot to offer. The co-op play just makes everything better. Especially for those who like to couch co-op although online co-op is very fun as well. You can even just join another players game taking control of their second character. Starting an online co-op game was very simple with the matchmaking system.