I don’t have any great love for Kickstarter; in fact, my view is that the crowdfunding fad has done more to hurt developer/consumer relations than anything a publisher has done, as many less-scrupulous indies and even some AAA devs have hopped on the gravy train to the detriment of prompt releases and quality games. Still, it’s not all bad, as sometimes crowdfunding campaigns can have impressive results. FTL: Faster than Light, Wasteland 2, Star Citizen…wait, scratch that one.
Let’s take a look at one of the more high-profile crowdfunded games that wasn’t just released, but released to critical acclaim: Divinity: Original Sin. In particular, we’re going to talk about Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition, a vastly improved re-release of the game that will also be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you’re just tuning in: the world of Rivellon is under siege! Evil wizards known as Sourcerors, wielders of the dread power of Source, are seeking to do all manner of nasty things, presumably to get revenge for the ridiculous term “Sourceror.” The Order of the Source Hunters is all that stands between Rivellon and Source-flavored death. You’ll control two customizable Source Hunters, as well as up to two hired NPCs, as they root out Sourcery in the city of Cyseal and beyond. The game is an obvious homage to older RPGs like the original Fallout games and Baldur’s Gate; it plays much like those titles, including the crushing difficulty they were known for.
The Enhanced Edition does a lot to make Divinity: Original Sin a more appealing package. The addition of voice acting for every character in the game is absolutely huge; even the animals that characters can speak to with the Pet Pal talent are fully voiced! If you play this game with a co-op partner – the way this game was meant to be played, in my view – this is a huge boost to usability since you no longer have to worry about whether or not your partner is done reading. The graphics got a nice bump as well, namely when it comes to combat animations. Higher-level skills are now bombastic displays of magical power worthy of a Final Fantasy game.
There are also quite a few changes to the plot and many of the quests. The ending sequence in particular is improved over the relatively abrupt original ending. There are also a number of new quests to take on, like helping out a disembodied head who will help out in combat if you can find his body. Several plot points and quirks were adjusted to help the game make a little more cohesive sense as well.
Perhaps even more importantly than the drastically improved presentation and story, the Enhanced Edition also incorporates a number of gameplay improvements. Dual wielding is now available, for instance, along with a new skill that provides bonuses to its use. This works nicely with the new wand-type weapons, which fire elemental bolts and also contain limited-use spells. Wands are a great way for non-mages to deal elemental damage and manipulate environmental conditions, which continue to be key to success in battle.
That’s not all the shiny newness available, though; grenades allow characters to dish out some area-effect pain and come in various elemental flavors. If you’d rather stick with classic skills, you’ll be pleased to find that these have been expanded as well; in particular, the Scoundrel line of assassin abilities has received several new skills that greatly improve its long-term viability, but there are new skills in every line.
There are still a few annoyances here and there, unfortunately. You still need to take extra care when clicking on an opponent to attack, since a simple misclick will lead to your character charging in and standing right next to them instead. The game’s multiplayer remains a little buggy as well, though not to the extent that it was on launch. Finally, the opening hours of the game are still very difficult; this is a game that will happily kick your butt if you don’t approach it in just the right way, and the Enhanced Edition even offers a more punishing difficulty setting for true masochists!
Despite all this, Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition continues to be a fantastic RPG as well as one of the few true Kickstarter success stories. If you’re a fan of old-school roleplaying or Larian Studios’ peculiar brand of humor, you can’t go wrong here. The best part? If you own Divinity: Original Sin, you’ve already got the Enhanced Edition for free! Check it out and hop back into the world of Rivellon sometime.