Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition review – Of Gods and men

Bandai Namco
Bandai Namco /

A triumphant CRPG makes its way to consoles, as Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition improves upon a game worthy of all-time greatness.

Title: Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 31, 2018

Across roughly 65 hours earlier this year, App Trigger writer Matt Becker and I made it a weekly task to cooperate and adventure through Divinity: Original Sin 2. Making it only through to the end of the second act, I’ve been itching to get back into the majestic fantasy world of Rivellon ever since our plans were abandoned.

Not only has Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition improved the quality of life for players across the board, but has introduced fun new multiplayer modes, an easier difficulty setting and reworked its dialogue to improve the narrative structure heading into the final stretches. Even after completion, all I’m thinking about is when can I try it all again.

For those introduced to Divinity: Original Sin 2 for the first time, players can customize either their own original character or play as one of six Origin characters; each composed to bring a specific flavor to the story at large. Powerful magic is called source, and the select people who can wield its power (sourcerers) have been rounded up and sent to Fort Joy.

After a brush with the supernatural, you wake up on shore, given the natural direction to escape Fort Joy en route to destroying the antediluvian horrors of the voidwoken. Naturally, there’s more to the story at hand, as you discover there might be more to the powers you possess than at first glance. Recruit a party of up to four dynamic, engaging characters or take on the world by yourself.

Divinity Original Sin 2 pre-order
Larian Studios /

There are dozens of complex turn-based RPG gaming systems in Divinity: Original Sin 2, but the Definitive Edition version has made things simplified, especially for new players. You start out with a new deck of the ship to better introduce you to the game’s detailed environmental gameplay system. It was a smart move to teach new players moves such as moving objects out of the way or onto one another, such as moving candles into poison puddles to cleanse and destroy wooden obstacles.

I was happy to see the trademark vibrant colors shined brightly in the Definitive Edition on a basic PS4…

Most of the numerous changes help ease user experience, including multiselection made easier for passing dozens of objects from one player to another, easier to manage dialogue and menu boxes, a completely overhauled journal system that makes following questlines easier and more.

This PS4 version was the first time attempting to play with console controls, and while it could never compare to a keyboard and mouse, Larian Studios made the controller experience more than just fine enough. There are a ton of smart decisions here and there, such as L3 to move the cursor across the map, and D-Pad buttons for sneaking and overhead inputs.

Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Bandai Namco /

I was happy to see the trademark vibrant colors shined brightly in the Definitive Edition on a basic PS4, as the contrasts in the illuminating colors of pulsatingly red, fiery cursed blood with the lightning-conducting blue water never gets old. A dank cavern, a densely green forest, a regally draped castle or a murky swamp; this game marries compelling level design with evocative visual artistry to create some of the most breathtaking environments ever for an isometric RPG.

My only quibble in this department is that the PS4 can barely keep up with its PC counterpart from a technical standpoint. Load times are much longer, the framerate chugs when performing bombastic, element-altering area of effect attacks, and I’ve had the game crash on me a few times. It seems that there were little to no sacrifices in visual fidelity on a basic level, focusing on wowing visuals over maintaining a solid 30 FPS.

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There are a myriad of gameplay balances that most Divinity: Original Sin 2 players won’t notice, but returning players might. Lone Wolf is no longer a broken talent, capping attributes at 40 to avoid walking all over the third and fourth acts of the game. There are also a handful of new encounter scenarios to help mitigate the difficulty curve that comes in mid-teen levels.

Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Bandai Namco /

What continues to drive me towards a not-to-distant replay of this game (perhaps for the third time this year) is the multiplayer system on consoles. A drop-in multiplayer RPG that can be played co-operatively or even separately shows the strength of Larian Studios’ storytelling abilities, weaving a captivating story whether you play by yourself, with a friend or up to four individuals online.

There revamped arena mode even adds four new levels to provide even more multiplayer options, including a tone of unique characters and builds within the Divinity universe of characters. Still, I would have loved to see the Game Master mode make its way over to the PS4 version. Considering how maintaining the PS4 version’s visual fidelity at a capped framerate is a problem, it’s an understandable frustration in this case.

Perhaps the biggest improvement of Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition is the work put into making the final act … not as fundamentally broken. Looking up the changes from the base game to what I experienced for the first time (remember; I didn’t make it through The Nameless Isle my first time through), the number of placeholder content, bugged out quests and untriggered quests dramatically reduced.

It is here where I did encounter the rare hiccup in performance throughout non-combat, but overall, there’s a lot to like there. Characters’ motivations have been given more exposition and introspect without going too overboard, as there are countless lines of dialogue re-written and voiced over once more as to properly immerse the player in more character-driven narrative options.

Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Bandai Namco /

It’s always great to try and take down fantastical beasts that are larger than life, and the valiant battle with the Kraken is a highlight. This and plenty more foundational changes will allure players experienced and fresh to complete a worthy a game worthy of their dozens of hours of play.

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Having covered what’s new with Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition has made me appreciate the sincerity and the heart of the game as a whole. No other RPG has captured my attention and kept me playing for a dozen hours straight in a decade, speaking to its unparalleled ability to maintain a steady flow of action and intrigue.

Perhaps it’s the stupendous sound design, providing onomatopoeia glorping to poison rivers or hissing to steam clouds. It could be the dynamically tone-setting score, providing bravado to the toughest challenges or somber sincerity to the tender twists of fate. It could be the near infinite party composition options, mixing race and class types with an easy multiclass system that favors gameplay diversity and creative thought to overcome challenges.

Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Bandai Namco /

Even the new story mode lets you appreciate the narrative while easing back on the difficulty. The basic difficulty is hard enough; the Story Mode difficulty is a welcoming look to genre newcomers looking to dip their toes into the waters of system-heavy RPG gameplay. Each character you talk to (be it friend, foe, human, elemental or even animal) has a story, feeding into the unparalleled depth on display.

9.5. <em>Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition </em>is a very touching game. It pulls at your heartstrings with its charm and pushes you headfirst into its world, slowly drawing you into its core. The extra polishing on display helps a shining star burn even brighter, as this game will offer players one of the greatest RPG experiences of all time the way it was meant to be played.. Larian Studios. . Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.