GOTY 2017: The Top 10 Games of the Year - #7
Welcome to the Ninth Annual Silicon Sasquatch Top 10 Games of the Year list! After months of discussion and yet another marathon five-hour meeting, we've finally narrowed down the 10 games that we feel best represent the best and most important that 2017 had to offer.
#7 - Divinity: Original Sin II
Larian Studios | September 14th, 2017 | Windows
As a younger teen, I cut my teeth on Black Isle games like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale while many of my friends happily plugged away at the Final Fantasy series. I have a deep nostalgia for those Infinity Engine-powered games of yore, but as much as the remasters have refined the experience for modern palates (and they have!) they’ve also laid bare the weaknesses of the old guard.
A few modern games, such as Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera, have sought to replicate the experience of those older titles. Though they’ve been successful and enjoyable games in their own right, they cling to many of the anachronistic traits of their source materials and systems and end up feeling more like a fresh coat of paint than a truly current experience.
Divinity: Original Sin II has its roots in the same genre as those newcomers and remasters. But where other games have sought to authentically recreate the 1998-2002 experience, Divinity is all about taking the best parts of its predecessors and dragging them, kicking and screaming, into modernity.
Modernity in this case is not visuals alone—it’s all about flexibility. Though premade class archetypes are an option, there’s nothing to stop a player from combining skills and abilities to create a sneak-attacking pyromancer, a bow-wielding healer, or a sword-and-shield fighter with a penchant for standing in pools of blood. Want to play a story character? Sure, pick the one you want and customize to your heart’s content, or make someone totally new. Want to pick up a party member for their story, but you don’t need a third wizard? No worries, they can change to any fighting style you require. Where previous games had a built-in struggle between story and combat requirements, Divinity: Original Sin II has crafted a game that harmonizes perfectly with its own metagame.
In its other regards—story, graphics, voice acting, et cetera—Divinity: Original Sin II ranges from good to excellent. Those ingredients, poured into the mold of the engine and systems that Larian Studios built, creates something truly superb. It is, I think, the first truly modern western RPG—and it embodies all the pedigree and gravitas that label entails. — Spencer Tordoff