A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Divinity: Original Sin -- Enhanced Edition is a dungeon-crawling role-playing game. It's not a sequel to the original game but rather an expanded version that provides players with more content, improved control options, and new features. Fantasy combat against humans and monsters is bloody, with screams of pain and crimson spattering the ground. But the action is viewed from a raised perspective that lessens the intensity of violence compared to over-the-shoulder action games with close-up shots of gory attacks. Parents should also note that players have a high degree of control over how their characters behave in most situations and that they can act morally and with an aim to serve justice or be conniving and at times even murderous.
What's it about?
DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN -- ENHANCED EDITION is, at its root, the same game as the original upon which it builds, which is to say it's still a turn-based fantasy role-playing game that puts an emphasis on thoughtful decision-making. Players assume control of a pair of Source Hunters sent to a village to investigate a murder. Once there, they are forced to make sense of a twisty series of events, and they discover that not everything is as black and white as it may seem; for example, not every suspected villain is as evil as he or she might first appear. This enhanced edition -- which makes the game available for the first time on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One -- modifies characters and arcs within the story, alters and adds regions to explore, and changes dialogue and response options. It also modifies key systems and mechanics, including skill progression and the ability to dual-wield weapons, and adds a variety of new features, modes, and difficulties.
Is it any good?
It's still overly complicated in places and lacks some of the polish found in other traditional role-playing games, but this enhanced edition is unquestionably a better game than the original. Developer Larian Studios made subtle but sweeping changes to the story and its characters, resulting in richer and more organic dialogue, including spontaneous and memorable bantering between characters. Larian also improved not only how the game looks by adding new cut scenes, more original creatures, and new animations for most existing creatures but also improved its stability, resulting in far fewer game-ending glitches and crashes.
Plus, players who have found the original a bit too daunting might want to give it another try using the new and more accessible "explorer" difficulty setting, which tones down enemy intelligence. Veterans, on the other hand, can test their limits in "honor" mode, which makes the game devilishly difficult while affording only a single save file. Other new features -- such as support for gamepads, split-screen co-op, and the ability to rotate the camera 360 degrees -- ought to expand the experience to an even broader audience. Perhaps best of all, existing PC players don't have to pay for any of this; their games will automatically update for free. Divinity: Original Sin was already a pretty good turn-based fantasy RPG, but the enhanced edition takes a step toward greatness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Does context play a role in how we perceive violence? Or does content of a particularly graphic nature always have the same impact on audiences, regardless of the reasons it's taking place?
Discuss role-playing. Some RPGs provide players more freedom to inhabit a role than others, so do you enjoy making key decisions for your characters or do you prefer more linear narratives in which the writing limits choice in service of a more structured story?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Larian Studios
- Release date: October 27, 2015
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
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