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2017 was a year full of great video games, and quite a few of those were of the roleplaying variety. However, one of them stood head and shoulders above the rest - Larian Studio's Divinity: Original Sin II, a turn-based isometric cRPG, just like the ones we loved to play back in the day. Sure, it had some issues and questionable design decisions, but even so, it was the best RPG I've played in years.
PC Gamer's editors seem to agree with me on this one, as Original Sin II is their Game of the Year 2017, which will perhaps be a sign for other developers that it's okay to make “just” RPGs, without any other genre hiding behind a slash or a dash. Anyway, we'd like to congratulate Larian Studios and thank them for making such an outstanding game.
And now for some PC Gamer editor comments:
Phil Savage: Was there ever any doubt? Divinity: Original Sin 2 was the obvious Game of the Year choice. It's a massive, sprawling RPG for one thing. But more than that, it embraces the chaotic, player-driven nature of all of PC Gamer's GOTY picks for the last few years. Original Sin 2's element-focused combat system is a revelation, giving you scope for wildly inventive, unpredictable solutions. Its fights are a test of wit, and often result in bewildering chain reactions. Whether you're electrifying someone's blood, or combining spells to kill a boss by doing an absurd amount of damage to yourself, experimentation is not only allowed, but rewarded.
Steven Messner: It’s hard to overstate just how robust the combat is in Original Sin 2 and how beautifully it weaves into your personal power fantasy. By act two, my melee tank healed himself by standing in the blood of his enemies, a tactic so dastardly and ruthless that I was cackling with each drop of blood that was spilled. That’s just one of the dastardly tactics I use to my advantage. My rogue uses a spell that inflicts bleeding damage with each step an enemy takes and then turns them into literal chickens that flee combat. With dozens and dozens of combinations like these just waiting to be discovered, Original Sin 2 is like a theory crafter's dream come true.
Joe Donnelly: It took me a full ten hours to leave Divinity: Original Sin 2's opening area. In that time I murdered a man, lied to his grieving daughter to obtain a key item, learned how to teleport, got double crossed, and pissed everyone else off I spoke to. It's so big and so much fun.
Jody Macgregor: I'll scrub cheekbone sliders back and forth for fun but my favorite character creation system is actually just "choose one of these cool characters." Original Sin 2 gives you both options, but its origin characters are so great I can't imagine not picking one. (Other games should steal the way they explain their own backstories out loud so you hear which voice actors sound best.)
After a solid 30 minutes of deliberation I chose to play as Beast, a dwarf who is the former leader of a failed rebellion, who is also a pirate captain with an emotional attachment to his bicorne hat, who is named Fran. Every one of the origin characters is just as layered, and thank god you can take three of them with you as companions so that I didn't have to leave behind the bard possessed by a demon, or the exiled prince who is also a big red lizard, or Fane.
It's a long game that's hard to finish even once. and yet during every conversation with a ghost chicken or fight where I caught fire again, I was wondering how my next character would handle it.