Larian Studios showed off the PS4 build of its Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition (DOS: EE) at E3 2015, and among all of its updates and changes, I found the new local multiplayer split-screen mode to be one of the most impressive. Far too often these days it’s rare to find a modern game of any genre that supports two players playing in the same room on the same screen, something that was standard back in the days before online gaming was so readily available, which is only one reason why I was so impressed with Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition’s newly added split-screen functionality. Although, it’s how the split screen works that truly impressed me thanks to its dynamic capabilities and freedoms it offers both players.
Rather than always being in a split-screen view, DOS: EE will only divide the screen if the two players begin to stray too far apart from each other. Sure, this isn’t revolutionary, but the fact that each player isn’t limited to the areas of their partner is. In most split-screen games each player is bound to the other making it impossible to travel in the opposite direction to investigate new areas alone without being prevented by an invisible wall, or teleported to the other player’s location a la Halo. This style of split-screen eliminates any sort of flexibility in exploration and forces the two players to always be in sync on where to go, but in DOS: EE no boundaries exist. This allows both players to explore the world to their heart’s content without impacting what the other player is doing on their side of the screen.
In the demo one of the players remained in one part of a level fighting enemies while the other moved forward with their objective and breeched a prison, which was in a completely separate area of the game. While the two players were completing different objectives they could still communicate with each other in-game on important decisions, and neither player was losing progress towards what the other was doing. They both had the freedom to play the mission as they wanted to play without ruining it for the other player who may have just felt like battling while the other wanted to pursue more mission objectives. Once the two were in the same area again the split-screen would disappear and they could play on the same screen until ADD kicked in and one of them wanted to go off on a journey. Also, at any point the two could be reunited with a press of the button, so it’s not like the two would ever have to backtrack to find each other if they strayed too far apart.
In addition to the new local split-screen mode DOS: EE also looks much improved visually for its console debut, which for the first time will support a 360 degree camera as opposed to the locked down view from the original PC version of the game. Many of the environments have received overhauls to their textures too, while character and attack animations have also improved, so the game definitely looks to be “enhanced” as the title suggests.
Larian has also added new Master Skills for each class, which when powered up can unleash devastating area of effect attacks that can clear a screen of bad guys with a simple button press. These moves do require a ton of AP, so players will have to use a tactical approach to them to ensure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck when they’re unleashed.
Dual wielding is another change featured in DOS: EE, which we got to see in action with the Rogue class, and it’s a deadly ability to say the least. Speaking of classes, they’re aren’t any new ones being added, but over 88,000 lines of dialogue have been added to the game voiced by 40 different actors to bring its characters to life unlike ever before.
Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition definitely looks like it will pay off on its monicker thanks to all of the improvements and changes added to the core experience. The local split-screen is awesome and allows for a level of freedom not typically featured in the mode, while the visual overhaul is also impressive to take in. If you’ve missed out on this title for one reason or another, then you should definitely plan on checking out the Enhanced Edition when it releases this fall for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. If you own the game on PC already you will get a free upgrade to the Enhanced Edition, so you might as well fire it up and revisit the game when it gets updated.
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