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Best PC RPG - Grim Dawn


The action-RPG dungeon-crawler Grim Dawn is a rare game that tries to include every great mechanic a genre has ever had, and successfully meshes them all. The core gameplay of a clicky, loot-driven Diablo clone was set in stone in the '90s. What Grim Dawn brings to the table is character customization that's deep without being overwhelming and an impeccable challenge that stays engaging without being unfair. Similarly to Titan Quest, players create characters from two classes that each have a skill tree. From there, points awarded after each level can go into base stats or skills. Bonuses and abilities granted by gear stack on top of that, and a massive astral chart provides more specialized bonuses for those who want to spend time planning the perfect build.

While the balance and progression are remarkable in ways we've seen before, Grim Dawn's big surprise is that the world is not procedurally generated. Levels are static, allowing the designers to place hidden stashs and rooms, and encouraging exploration in a way that's unique in the subgenre. Shrines granting astral chart points can be off the beaten path or tucked behind invisible corridors. Finding the world's secrets is rewarding and gives a sense of discovery that random levels lack. Enemy spawns and obstacles on paths are random, causing stages to have some variation when re-entering to keep things fresh.

Toss in the standard three difficulty levels, drive to get the best gear for specializations, and vast differences in gameplay between specializations, and Grim Dawn is the most replayable and engrossing ARPG since Path of Exile. Builds are viable both solo and in parties, and, unlike similar titles, the player's PC hosts the game rather than the developers' server, eliminating lag. Grim Dawn coasted under the radar heading into 2016 and ended up our favorite PC game of the year.

by Glenn Wilson

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