Lar­ian’s mag­i­cal RPG gets its Source code buffed.

PC GAMER (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Rick Lane

Di­vin­ity:Orig­i­nalSin2 gets De­fin­i­tive.

On the face of it, the idea that Di­vin­ity: Orig­i­nal Sin II might need an up­date seems ab­surd. Lar­ian’s RPG fol­low-up was so daz­zling, so am­bi­tious, so gosh-darned gen­er­ous the first time around, that it feels petty to com­plain about the odd rough edge here and the odd poorly bal­anced com­bat sce­nario there.

The truth, how­ever, is that’s un­der­stat­ing things a bit. Although mas­sively out­weighed by its scope and depth, Orig­i­nal Sin II was quite a flawed game. Its open-ended ad­ven­ture was of­ten hard to parse, with a con­fus­ing quest sys­tem and a lack of player guid­ance. Its long and wind­ing road could also be fe­ro­ciously tough, partly be­cause it was easy to wan­der into a fight you were un­pre­pared for, and partly be­cause some of its en­coun­ters were harder than a golem’s kid­ney stone.

It’s such is­sues the newly re­leased De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion seeks to ad­dress, mak­ing this huge and beau­ti­fully crafted RPG that lit­tle bit eas­ier to en­joy. For now, let’s fo­cus on the more gen­eral up­dates, which re­veal them­selves right from the start menu.

As I men­tioned, Orig­i­nal Sin II was crit­i­cised for its stern chal­lenge. Even the game’s easy mode – known as Ex­plorer mode – could prove de­mand­ing at times. To ad­dress this, Lar­ian has in­tro­duced a new Story dif­fi­culty level. This low­ers en­emy stats while in­creas­ing those of your party. But it also makes two more spe­cific changes.

Firstly, it grants the player the Res­ur­rect skill, let­ting you re­vive dead party mem­bers at any time, rather than hav­ing to pur­chase res­ur­rect scrolls. In ad­di­tion, it adds a Flee skill, that lets play­ers es­cape from com­bat sce­nar­ios with­out hav­ing to reload the game – handy if you wan­der into a fight that’s too high level for you.

Re­gard­less of what dif­fi­culty you choose to play the game on, Lar­ian has in­tro­duced sev­eral qual­ity-of-life im­prove­ments. A new tu­to­rial deck has been added to the ship you be­gin your ad­ven­ture on, de­signed to guide you through the sys­tems be­fore launch­ing you into the game proper (ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers can skip this by climb­ing a lad­der).

In ad­di­tion, the De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion sub­stan­tially al­ters the UI, most no­tably the jour­nal. In the vanilla game, the jour­nal was, frankly, not fit for pur­pose. Its lay­out was poorly ar­ranged, listed in a di­ary for­mat that pri­ori­tised what you had done over what you had to do. Any in­for­ma­tion is pro­vided about cur­rent quests was of­ten cryptic and hard to parse.

Bun­dle of Joy

The De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion re­or­gan­ises the jour­nal, break­ing down each quest in a clearer fash­ion. For ex­am­ple, the game’s pro­logue in­volves es­cap­ing from a prison called Fort Joy, which you can ap­proach in mul­ti­ple ways. Pre­vi­ously, the player was largely left to fig­ure this out. Now, how­ever, the jour­nal notes down each route you un­cover as a new path, and links it clearly to the rel­e­vant quest. Not only does this make pro­gress­ing eas­ier, it also ex­pli­cates the wide range of quest so­lu­tions Orig­i­nal Sin II of­fers. It even has the sub­quest ‘Fol­low Your Own Path’, in­di­cat­ing that the set quests aren’t the only ways to es­cape from Fort Joy.

Clar­ity and con­sis­tency of chal­lenge were by far Orig­i­nal Sin II’s big­gest short­com­ings, and the De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion does a lot to ad­dress these. But there’s new con­tent, too. Lar­ian has added over 100,000 lines of di­a­logue, and re-recorded large chunks of the ex­ist­ing di­a­logue, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas where the tone felt a lit­tle off.

In par­tic­u­lar, Lar­ian has fo­cused on up­dat­ing the fi­nal third of the game, which takes place in the city of Arx. Arx was re­garded as the weak­est of OSII’s acts, fea­tur­ing fewer quests and be­ing less well in­ter­con­nected. There are far too many changes to men­tion here. But broadly, Lar­ian has it­er­ated upon the en­tire third act, go­ing through it step-by-step and ad­ding new NPCs, lo­ca­tions, events and quests. This in­cludes a huge bat­tle with the kraken that ap­pears in Arx har­bour, and much greater de­tail added to the pil­grim camp you pass through on your way to the city.

All-told, the De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion is a thor­ough up­date to an al­ready-su­perb game. There’s one down­side, though. Ex­ist­ing saves are not com­pat­i­ble with the De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion, so if you want to ex­plore the ren­o­vated Arx in all its glory, you’ll need to clear another 70 hours in your gam­ing sched­ule. Look­ing at it another way, how­ever, it’s an ex­cuse to roll up a new party in the best role­play­ing game since The Witcher 3.

All-told, the De­fin­i­tive Edi­tion is a thor­ough up­date

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