Divinity: Original Sin EE Gamescom Preview
Divinity: Original Sin was released over a year ago. The game received quite a lot of credits and I suppose sold rather well as Larian Studios decided that they would overhaul the game to make it an even better experience. And they do not only bring this new experience to PC players (those who have the original game get this enhanced edition for free), but also to PS4 and Xbox One. To make it possible to use the game on these consoles quite some changes to the user interaction were needed. However PC players do not need to be alarmed, as long as you do not have a controller plugged into your PC you will be presented an interface for usage with a keyboard and mouse with a familiar look to those who have played the original. But also the PC user interface has been improved to make some of the new features possible. Swen states that the new controller interface works so well that at Larian Studios offices the team generally prefers to play the game with a controller on their PC instead of a keyboard and mouse.
The graphical settings for the PC allows the image quality to be set to a higher level than the console versions, so the graphics have not been reduced for the PC. The minimum specs for the PC have been reduced however, because they optimized the engine and, for example, now fully utilize all cores of the processor, where they only used one core before. Saving and loading times have also been reduced because of that. With al the changes the game had in mind Swen stated: "Players that have played Original Sin will not believe their eyes when they start playing the Enhanced Edition".
One of the important new features of the game is that you can now play in two person co-op using the same screen. When one of the characters is moved too far away from the other character the screen is automatically divided in two. When the two characters are close enough the two screens are joined into one again.
The inventories are, like before, separate for each character, but when you need an item to solve a quest, open a door, dig for loot or whatever, that item will automatically be send over to you from the inventory of one of the other characters if you do not have the right item yourself.
The new inventory also allows for tactical use of it. They showed an example in which one of the characters was able to sneak real close to the enemy and the other character, who was much further away, put an oil barrel in her inventory, this made her too heavy to move much, however the other character could take that barrel from the inventory and place it near the enemy and sneak out again. A fire arrow was then used to ignite the oil barrel and do a lot of damage.
New level tiers of skills are introduced for novice, adept and master levels in which all the old and new skills are grouped. With these new master skills you will be able to become more powerful at the end of the game. Some of the master skills that were shown to me were:
- Tortoise Shield offers much better resistances
- Shackles of Pain allows you to chain someone to you and if he inflicts damage on you the same damage would be inflicted on him.
- Summon Poisonous Slug does exactly what it says.
- Meteor Shower is an AoE spell that can do a lot of damage
- Walk in Shadows allows you to become invisible to others
- Nether Swap allows two persons to swap places. In the example that was provided Scarlett was locked up in jail and she used this spell to swap places with the guard, which resulted in him being inside the cell, together with a poisonous slug, which she summoned just before she swapped places.
Mages cannot become very good in all elemental skills, which is why most of the time a mage is proficient in a limited number of elements only. To provide these mages access to the other elements, wands are introduced, which are one-handed weapons that do elemental damage depending on the type of wand.
With the addition of dual-wielding, which allows the use any combination of two single handed-weapons also mages can use two wands.
As many things become easier when you can use elemental spells, also characters with no proficiency in elemental skills are given an opportunity to use the elements with the introduction of grenades. This enables anyone to set oil on fire by throwing a fire grenade.
Whenever you need to collect loot after a fight, this loot is scattered over the area. To make it easier for console users to select the loot to collect, you can switch between each of the items to loot. In addition you can also use a mouse like feature in which a cursor becomes visible on the screen and you can move the cursor to any location you want in order to perform an action, like picking loot. In addition there is also an 'active search' option that will show all available loot in an area allowing to select the items you want from a list. This is comparable to using the ALT key on a PC.
Your characters can go into sneak mode, making you harder to detect by your opponents. However if you step in the line of sight of your enemy, you will be spotted by them. You can go one step further by using the 'Walk in Shadows' skill that makes you invisible to others. It allows you to get real close to your opponents to check them out and the area they are in, or position yourself in a better place before combat starts.
The combat in the enhanced edition has changed. There now are three difficulty modes:
- Explorer mode in which the enemies are less tough
- Classic mode, which is the normal mode
- Tactician Mode: A hard-core mode, for which their combat designer has looked at the combat videos on YouTube and Twitch to learn how people won the fights by finding an easier way to kill everyone. Based on those videos the combat has been changed in tactician mode to make it harder to use the tricks that were shown. So this hard-core mode is not about making the game harder by just adding more enemies, but by given them more skills, spells, different abilities and a better AI.
When you do a back-stab a back-stab cone is visualized that shows where the opponent can be hit, to make sure your back-stab actually works.
Everything in the game is voiced now. They have been recording new voices for six months to add a voice to the something like 8000 lines of dialogue. This was also needed because the dialogues from Divinity: Original Sin have been reworked. Lines have been added, removed and reworked. It was a lot of work but they feel it helps the narrative a lot.
Next to what has already been mentioned also extra quests are added, the AI has been improved, the game is better polished and the end game has been changed to provide a better overall satisfaction when finishing the game.
The reason to make the enhanced edition was to move the game to consoles, but with the success of Original Sin, they had the opportunity to also improved the game making it worthwhile to play it again on a PC as the added changes make it a better game than it was.
It is obvious that they invested a lot of man hours in the Enhanced Edition, which I think might not have been worth the effort for the PC version alone, but as going to the Xbox One and PS4 will generate additional sales, they are bound to recover their costs and gain more profit, which is good as we want Larian to continue making games.
Swen thinks that a lot of the older Baldur's Gate players are on console now. He himself also prefers to play at home on a console than move to his desk to start up his PC. He is also convinced that many of the console players would love to have a real RPG like this on their console, as he can't think of a game that can be compared to this, which is currently available on a console.
The goal is to release the game by the end of October, but we'll have to see if they can make that. Larian does not have a great track record in delivering on time. In the end it's done when it's done. Let's hope Focus Home, the publisher for the console versions agrees.
And if you want to see what was more or less shown to me (the presentation to me did not went entirely according to their plan) you can check out the IGN video below.
Information aboutDivinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Developer: Larian Studios
SP/MP: Single + MP
Play-time: Over 60 hours
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2015-10-27
· Publisher: Larian Studios