Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 01.09.2018

Review for Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

The Divinity series dates all the way back to 2002 on Windows and in its most recent incarnations, Divinity Original Sin has launched on Steam, with the latest on consoles thanks in part to successful Kickstarter campaigns. Original Sin II hit Steam last year and now the quintessential version is arriving on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Harkening back to the old-school RPGs of its roots, there are few quite like this anymore. Is it with good reason, though, or should this reintroduce players to a genre that has been long unappreciated?

Upon starting, there is the option to go with one of the existing characters or create a wholly original one to send off into the world. When checking out the options, each and every one of the characters sounds full of promise, with their own rich back-story and a simple setup for what their arc will entail. It's very difficult to choose, making it seem like whichever is selected, so much will be missed out on or numerous replays are going to be required to experience these fantastic stories. Thankfully, that isn't the case, as regardless of the choice, the other characters are recruited as party members.

Screenshot for Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

Within this cast, there are some truly unique and varied characters; for example, The Red Prince, member of a race of Lizard Men. This General of his people was destined to be the next Emperor, renowned for his ability and known for his unique red skin. However, after being discovered "Cavorting with demons," he was cast out and exiled. Now, he's determined to retake the throne of the forbidden city, or the skull-headed Fane, last of his kind - an undead that has to hide his true appearance, an element not just in the lore of the story, but also worked into the gameplay. Fane was locked away for eons, and when he awoke, his whole world was gone. His people vanished, all history of them erased. Now, he is hunting to discover any trace of his people. There's an ex-slave, Elf, hunting her torturous master, an ex-crusader now mercenary who has been tasked with killing the son of his old commander.

These are each just glimpses of the side-quests available. There is an absolutely immense amount of them and they are some of the highlights, balancing the serious with the comedic thanks to the superb writing. The dry humour manages to illicit tones of Terry Pratchett at points. These are the type and quality of side-quest that grab the attention and refuse to let go, keeping the player off the beaten path, investigating every little corner to find the next gem. As good as these are, they are appetisers to the main course; a story that puts most modern fantasy epics to shame - a mammoth beast that is filled with intrigue, gods, dark magics, and Lovecraftian monsters.

Screenshot for Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

Right from the get-go, Original Sin II is ridiculously expansive, constantly surprising and filled with options; for example, after deciding on a character and getting through the first simple tutorial area, the mission is simple: escape from a prison island. How to go about that, though, opens up a huge branch of options. Taking on an underground fight club, seeking out some stolen "citrus," and learning the magic to speak with animals opens up a side-quest involving huge molten slugs who happen to be a royal court. All of these different side-quests, and lots more, play into ways to solve the simple problem of escaping. This continues throughout; for example, that ability to talk to animals, or later an ability to talk to the dead, opens up huge quest chains and tons of extra content that some will be completely oblivious to.

The combat is nicely challenging, with every encounter not just another opportunity to go through the motions, using the most powerful spells available or mashing attacks. Each battle is its own puzzle, and not giving it the proper respect and attention will deliver a swift loss. The AI is impressive and offers up a real tactical test; they won't come out, lining up for slaughter - they work together, flank and use the terrain to their advantage, even able to combine their attacks, one setting up a spell filling an area with rain ready for a lightning attack from another.

Screenshot for Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

This fantastic combat system gets a new chance to shine with Divinity's Definitive Edition thanks to an overhauled Arena mode. However, the challenge may be too much for some, and it's an aspect that had previously alienated players in the original Steam release. That's been addressed with this instalment, with a new level of difficulty to "Story Mode" being added that makes the battles far simpler, and it can be switched at any point, meaning no more getting frustrated and stuck on one battle.

There are plenty of "Definitive Editions" out there and, usually, it just means a bit of a polish, maybe a bundle of some DLC, giving an all in one package ready to take the game to a whole new platform in its best possible form. Original Sin 2 is delivering an awful lot more than the norm. The graphics and engine have had a huge overhaul, with upgrades to textures and particle effects, in particular. Then there are the little improvements, like combining all of the inventory screens onto one, making management of each character's bags infinitely easier. Not only that, but the story itself gets a once over, too. The original release on PC had some feedback about a few slower parts of the story and the developer has immediately addressed it here. There's plenty more, too, and, even better, existing players on PC will be offered these graphical improvements as part of a free patch soon.

Screenshot for Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition is absolutely phenomenal; almost perfect in every way and easily one of the greatest RPGs of not just recent years but all time - easily able to stand alongside the greats not just in this style, like Knights of the Old Republic, but alongside any RPG. It puts Bioware's recent efforts to shame. It's fantastic that it's coming to console and that more people will have an opportunity to play this magnificent masterpiece.

Developer

Larian Studios

Publisher

Larian Studios

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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