Divinity Enhanced Edition Preview: Couch Coop Returns

When I first played Divinity: Original Sin on PC, I knew it was something special. It felt like a return to form for an entire genre that had experienced little more than neglect over the years. Divinity: Original Sin was a sweeping and exciting roleplaying epic that featured tactical turn-based combat, engaging characters, and varied quests to keep you entranced for dozens of hours. Now, with the Enhanced Edition, they’re making that core game even better, while also bringing it to an even wider audience with their impending console release.
divenchancedinsert1As I was ushered into a medieval-themed tent with a huge TV and PlayStation 4 controllers, I immediately noticed how beautiful the game looked on a big-screen home entertainment setup. It’s easy to understate how much of a difference screen size can make, especially when porting a game from the PC to consoles.

Once my developer escort picked up the controller and spun the camera around, it was clear how much they had added to this new edition. The original game was played from a fixed camera angle – adding the ability to move it around without limitation is not only a big technical hurdle, but it meant all of the assets in the game had to be redone in order to support view from all sides. That’s an impressive undertaking.

Since I viewed the console version in action, a lot of other smaller changes were highlight as well. Players can summon a wisp to float around areas and select objects more precisely, similar to how you would use a mouse cursor on PC, but you may also simply point your character in a direction and different objects will be highlighted instead.
divenchancedinsert2Eventually, we came across something really exciting: our first combat encounter. They made sure to highlight how all of the different elements can interact with each other, as that is a major feature of the original game as well. You can set fire to oil, freeze water, melt it back down with fire, electrocute puddles, and much more. Since the combat utilizes an AP-reliant turn-based system, this adds up to a lot of tactical depth.

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Other seemingly small additions like dual-wielding for any one-handed item, the ability to examine enemies using loremaster and intelligence skills, new items like wands and grenades, and 100% fully voice acted dialogue with over 88,000 total lines and 40 voice actors help round out this beefy Enhanced Edition.

The biggest feature though, something that had me audibly let out a sound of surprise during the demonstration, is the inclusion of couch co-op for consoles. Let me explain. Anyone can pick up another controller and take direct control of your 2nd created party member. From here, you can both run around on the screen together, act independently, and do whatever you like. The real magic happens though, once you get a certain distance away from one another. The game will automatically split in half, in real-time, without loading screens, so that you can continue playing. They even explained that no matter how far away you travel from one another, the game will fully support this feature – and you can play network co-op instead if you’re like me and don’t have many gaming friends that live near you.
divenchancedinsert4Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition will make its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in Fall 2015, with the PC, Mac, and SteamOS versions receiving a free update around the same time. That’s right – if you own the original game, you’ll get all these new features for free!