Pillars of Eternity Review - More Than Homage

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Pillars of Eternity Review - More Than Homage

It's the best new, isometric RPG to come out in years.

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ooooooooooooooooooooooooshitohshitohshit! Steam really cant unlock this game fast enough! Thank GOD for easter vacation (heh).

Since author of the article made a comparison between this game and BG, I have a question: what about your party members? Are they actual characters or walking tools/bags that say a thing sometimes like in BG?

I've been waiting over a decade for a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate and Obsidian finally has delivered us another great game via Kickstarter.

2 more hours 'till I get to experience the greatness. :D

2 Hours to go, couldn't be more excited.

Mister K:
Since author of the article made a comparison between this game and BG, I have a question: what about your party members? Are they actual characters or walking tools/bags that say a thing sometimes like in BG?

Little of column A, little of column B. You can hire adventurers, that you custom create, to fill out the party, but they are just warm bodies. Which is a nice way to ensure you always have whatever you need to round out the group. Along the way you'll also encounter characters to recruit with their own dialogue and stories. As to whether or not their engaging enough, I'd probably put them above Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale, pretty much on par with Baldur's Gate 2, and maybe a little behind Planescape.

Mister K:
Since author of the article made a comparison between this game and BG, I have a question: what about your party members? Are they actual characters or walking tools/bags that say a thing sometimes like in BG?

From what I've seen you can recruit both "alive" NPC party members with interaction and stories, or make "adventurers" in inns which are custom made party members but dont have the interactions.

Fine, fine, I'll buy the damn game! Are you happy now?

These games are kind of daunting to me. But reading this makes me want to play that copy of Planescape: Torment I bought on GOG ages ago and never touched. Or maybe I'll start with the new Shadowrun since that's supposedly much shorter. Hopefully that can get me invested in the genre

I haven't pitched in back when they ran the Kickstarter, but I have been eagerly anticipating the release. Not a day 1 buy - I still have Dragon Age: Inquisition to finish, but I'm likely to get Pillars later.

I'm curious though - how does PoE stack against Divinity: Original Sin? From the review it sounds like there's a good deal of overlap between the two games.

The review at least makes it sound like Obsidian finally released a reasonably bug-free game, and that's nice.

Fighters still smack enemies, Wizards sling spells, Priests heal, and Rogues pilfer everything that isn't nailed down.

What... I have no idea what you're talking about... *puts away the tape covered gloves*

>.>
<.<

This will be the perfect nightcap to my D&D session tonight... and long weekend.

first cities skylines, then bloodborne and now this, it looks like 2015 wont be terrible after all

Out of curiosity how PC intensive is it?

I know the game just came out, but can anyone tell me if this game is still enjoyable if you never got into baldur's gate?
All the reviews I've seen so far are from people who played a bunch of BG, Planescape, etc. so I don't know if I'd still enjoy PoE without that experience.

Spacewolf:
Out of curiosity how PC intensive is it?

I'm currently between desktops, but my laptop was able to run it beautifully. Here are the specs: Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50GHz), 16GB Memory, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2GB.

NinjaTank56:
I know the game just came out, but can anyone tell me if this game is still enjoyable if you never got into baldur's gate?
All the reviews I've seen so far are from people who played a bunch of BG, Planescape, etc. so I don't know if I'd still enjoy PoE without that experience.

Obviously it's a little hard to say since I do have some much invested in those older titles, but I think any fan of RPGs would have fun with it. There's a lot of interesting mechanics involved and a good emphasis on rich player choices which I think appeals to RPG fans outside of even isometric ones.

So is there a map/quest markers? Or was that sacrificed to prevent old school CRPG-ers from burning down Obsidian's offices? The hours of bumbling around without the faintest idea of what I'm supposed to be doing was one of several big things that prevented me from enjoying Divinity: Original Sin, and if that particular bit of archaic design is present here it just about kills the moderate interest I have.

Slycne:

Spacewolf:
Out of curiosity how PC intensive is it?

I'm currently between desktops, but my laptop was able to run it beautifully. Here are the specs: Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50GHz), 16GB Memory, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2GB.

You think a laptop with Intel I5 2410@2.30Ghz 6GB Ram and a GT540 would be able to run it or would it be best to wait until I get round to getting a Desktop?

Spacewolf:
You think a laptop with Intel I5 2410@2.30Ghz 6GB Ram and a GT540 would be able to run it or would it be best to wait until I get round to getting a Desktop?

Yeah that should be fine. That's only a little below the recommended and above the minimum. Make sure you have a 64bit OS as well though.

major_chaos:
So is there a map/quest markers? Or was that sacrificed to prevent old school CRPG-ers from burning down Obsidian's offices? The hours of bumbling around without the faintest idea of what I'm supposed to be doing was one of several big things that prevented me from enjoying Divinity: Original Sin, and if that particular bit of archaic design is present here it just about kills the moderate interest I have.

The journal is a little kinder at telling you what areas you need to go to, but there's not quest markers in the MMO sense of an X on your mini-map.

Oh man I am so stoked for this game. I was right in there when I saw it on Kickstarter and I'm currently downloading it as I type. No idea if I can run it, but whatever, it'll be just as good if I have to wait to play it. Glad to hear it's stood up to the hype! Also, as a side note, I've heard about Ironman mode runs before but it's neat to see a game that actually implements it as a proper difficulty setting.

major_chaos:
So is there a map/quest markers? Or was that sacrificed to prevent old school CRPG-ers from burning down Obsidian's offices? The hours of bumbling around without the faintest idea of what I'm supposed to be doing was one of several big things that prevented me from enjoying Divinity: Original Sin, and if that particular bit of archaic design is present here it just about kills the moderate interest I have.

I had a similar experience with Divinity: Original Sin, in that it was quite frustrating to have to clue what your supposed to do. That being said i didn't have that in the slightest with Pillars and i am about 5 hours in now.
The First 1 - 2 hours are actually pretty linear and introduce both the game mechanics and the story to you. Once it opens up you still can't go everywhere, since you have to "discover" new map areas by exploring the adjacent ones. This means the game gradually opens up more and more as you get further into the game.
Basically there is no quest marker, but the quests tell you were you need to go and the game is good enough designed that you shouldn't have a problem figuring out what to do.
And it's just a blast so far. The companions i have met are great characters, the story and the worls is interesting, the combat is challenging and fun and everything is just pretty damn great.
I can only recommend this game.

I was very excited for this game but my first impressions of it were very poor. I only played it for about 90 minutes but between the annoying and overly looping music tracks, the lack of any AI; which would be fine except you can't hotkey skills to certain keys(including number keys) and you can't queue up commands of any sort.

The technical aspects quickly grated on me and I found I couldn't enjoy much of it. It felt like one of those situations where they kept things that didn't work just because of nostalgia, as if poor controls and an obtuse UI were somehow 'classic'

A shame because I was really looking forward to the game.

I've been playing it for probably about 5 hours now, and I'm loving it so far. The review is pretty much spot on, from the angle of a Baldur's Gate fan anyway.

You see Bioware, this is how you should do party based combat! Not your Dragon Age: Inquisition nonsense.

So, I'm confused.

This game will reward little or no experience to help with leveling up and customizing your character after combat, but will reward loot (procedural or predetermined?) that is meant to help with combat? And the player is meant to do tasks for X NPCs because they need XP?

Yep, this is pretty much exactly what I hoped it would be. Similar to the old IE games, but with a modern look, new setting, new story and characters, and new mechanics. I especially like how moving away from D&D has allowed them to fix some of the ways that the mechanics in IE games just didn't quite work. Healing, magic, and resting are now much better; you can no longer just spam the rest button after every encounter to heal up and recharge your wizards, but it's nicely balanced and allows enough flexibility that you don't actually feel any need to do so. Magic is also greatly improved - it's a mix of Vancian and sorcerer-type magic, wizards can use weapons and armour, and the addition of "per encounter" abilities means even if you've used everything up there's always something you can do in a fight. No longer do level 1 wizards stand around looking useless before getting instantly killed by the first goblin they see.

Voltano:
This game will reward little or no experience to help with leveling up and customizing your character after combat, but will reward loot (procedural or predetermined?) that is meant to help with combat? And the player is meant to do tasks for X NPCs because they need XP?

The point is that it doesn't simply reward experience for killing lots of random mooks, but rather gives experience for actually doing meaningful things - exploring, finding secrets, completing quests, and so on. Beating a boss at the end of a dungeon or fighting your way out of an ambush might give experience, but you can't grind up your levels by just wandering around killing wolves and goblins. The idea is that you get experience for finishing meaningful encounters rather than just killing as much as you can, so you're encouraged to actually explore and play the game rather than look for opportunities to grind. For example, where Baldur's Gate might give you 100xp for killing a bear, PoE will give you 50xp for discovering the cave a bear lives in and another 50xp for acquiring the gem hidden at the back of its lair; whether you actually kill a bear or not is largely irrelevant - sneaking past it, putting it to sleep, finding a hidden back entrance or having a ranger befriend it could all give exactly the same result. In BG, even if you found a way around it you'd be objectively worse off if you decided not to kill the bear, in PoE, combat is just one possible way to solve an encounter (although there are still times where combat is the only choice).

It may not be for everyone - fans of MMOs and Final Fantasy-type games where grinding your character to a high enough level to tackle a particular area or boss is a large part of the game might not like it. But people who enjoy story and exploring more, and want to play around with different characters without being punished for, for example, being stealthy and not killing everything on their way past, will probably like it.

Kahani:

Voltano:
This game will reward little or no experience to help with leveling up and customizing your character after combat, but will reward loot (procedural or predetermined?) that is meant to help with combat? And the player is meant to do tasks for X NPCs because they need XP?

The point is that it doesn't simply reward experience for killing lots of random mooks, but rather gives experience for actually doing meaningful things - exploring, finding secrets, completing quests, and so on. Beating a boss at the end of a dungeon or fighting your way out of an ambush might give experience, but you can't grind up your levels by just wandering around killing wolves and goblins. The idea is that you get experience for finishing meaningful encounters rather than just killing as much as you can, so you're encouraged to actually explore and play the game rather than look for opportunities to grind. For example, where Baldur's Gate might give you 100xp for killing a bear, PoE will give you 50xp for discovering the cave a bear lives in and another 50xp for acquiring the gem hidden at the back of its lair; whether you actually kill a bear or not is largely irrelevant - sneaking past it, putting it to sleep, finding a hidden back entrance or having a ranger befriend it could all give exactly the same result. In BG, even if you found a way around it you'd be objectively worse off if you decided not to kill the bear, in PoE, combat is just one possible way to solve an encounter (although there are still times where combat is the only choice).

It may not be for everyone - fans of MMOs and Final Fantasy-type games where grinding your character to a high enough level to tackle a particular area or boss is a large part of the game might not like it. But people who enjoy story and exploring more, and want to play around with different characters without being punished for, for example, being stealthy and not killing everything on their way past, will probably like it.

I'm not sure this is a game meant for me anyways, but some of the design choices for this game seems weird -- for "role playing" purposes, to me.

The claim of "doing meaningful things" seems subjective as the game only chooses to reward the player for doing X but not Y -- kind of like how a modern military shooter will punish a player for stepping out of line. Except in reverse of a modern military shooter game by rewarding instead of punishing. So the player is rewarded for looking around, experimenting with their skills, doing certain tasks for a random NPC (that cannot do it themselves because 'reasons'), and finding non-combat means of solving a problem -- except they are hardly rewarded for solving a problem through combat. On top of that, they get loot that, from my understanding, seems specifically designed to help with combat. Isn't that confusing?

Voltano:

Kahani:

Voltano:
This game will reward little or no experience to help with leveling up and customizing your character after combat, but will reward loot (procedural or predetermined?) that is meant to help with combat? And the player is meant to do tasks for X NPCs because they need XP?

The point is that it doesn't simply reward experience for killing lots of random mooks, but rather gives experience for actually doing meaningful things - exploring, finding secrets, completing quests, and so on. Beating a boss at the end of a dungeon or fighting your way out of an ambush might give experience, but you can't grind up your levels by just wandering around killing wolves and goblins. The idea is that you get experience for finishing meaningful encounters rather than just killing as much as you can, so you're encouraged to actually explore and play the game rather than look for opportunities to grind. For example, where Baldur's Gate might give you 100xp for killing a bear, PoE will give you 50xp for discovering the cave a bear lives in and another 50xp for acquiring the gem hidden at the back of its lair; whether you actually kill a bear or not is largely irrelevant - sneaking past it, putting it to sleep, finding a hidden back entrance or having a ranger befriend it could all give exactly the same result. In BG, even if you found a way around it you'd be objectively worse off if you decided not to kill the bear, in PoE, combat is just one possible way to solve an encounter (although there are still times where combat is the only choice).

It may not be for everyone - fans of MMOs and Final Fantasy-type games where grinding your character to a high enough level to tackle a particular area or boss is a large part of the game might not like it. But people who enjoy story and exploring more, and want to play around with different characters without being punished for, for example, being stealthy and not killing everything on their way past, will probably like it.

I'm not sure this is a game meant for me anyways, but some of the design choices for this game seems weird -- for "role playing" purposes, to me.

The claim of "doing meaningful things" seems subjective as the game only chooses to reward the player for doing X but not Y -- kind of like how a modern military shooter will punish a player for stepping out of line. Except in reverse of a modern military shooter game by rewarding instead of punishing. So the player is rewarded for looking around, experimenting with their skills, doing certain tasks for a random NPC (that cannot do it themselves because 'reasons'), and finding non-combat means of solving a problem -- except they are hardly rewarded for solving a problem through combat. On top of that, they get loot that, from my understanding, seems specifically designed to help with combat. Isn't that confusing?

Not at all. You are getting experience for accomplishment rather than taking an action. Fighting monsters just for the sake of fighting monsters doesn't accomplish any goals set. Even if you were given a quest to clear a path of monsters, killing one wolf or even a dozen doesn't achieve the set goal; clearing the path does, which is what you are rewarded for. On the other hand, if the quest was to retrieve an item, and you can do that while avoiding fights(full stealth party perhaps?), then you still accomplished the set goal.

And it's not like you get no experience for fights. It's just a comparatively inconsequential amount. Basically, if you want to barrel through a dungeon eliminating every creature in your way, you can. If you want to find clever or sneaky ways to accomplish your goals while minimizing the number of battles you get into, that's fine too. Fighting nets you a marginal amount of extra experience, while avoiding combat potentially decreases the amount of consumable resources you expend. That's about as fair and balanced as your likely to get in a class/experience based RPG.

First Shadowrun Returns, then Divinity: Original Sin, then Wasteland 2, then Xenonauts (to some extent) and now this.

It's like the very best PC gaming had to offer in the mid to late 90's is making a huge comeback.

And I like it :)

Now I'll see myself out before those RPG snobs come flocking like crows to the comments.

WANT! I don't think I'm going to wait till it's under $20 for this one. While I'm not going to run out and buy it right now because I still have other games to play and don't need another time sink it's on my list for next holidays.

I have played this game for 24 hours now. Literally 24 hours. I'm only on act 2. I can't stop playing it.

Definitely a very well done game so far (I just got the keep and recruited my fifth companion). At times combat can be a bit of a mess as it has a tendency to turn into a mosh pit of limbs with everyone hacking and slashing and you being unsure of who's hitting who.

Your review is spot on. I'm so happy, especially after my huge disappointment with DA:I. I had to play through the whole BG series + IWD to get that taste of that out of my mouth. Take note Bioware - this is what you used to do. I'm hoping this is successful enough to get us more games like this.

Voltano:
So, I'm confused.

This game will reward little or no experience to help with leveling up and customizing your character after combat, but will reward loot (procedural or predetermined?) that is meant to help with combat? And the player is meant to do tasks for X NPCs because they need XP?

You get xp through four things. Finishing quests, exploring new areas, finding 'secret'(Which are for the most part only secret in that you have to thouroughly explore areas although some will require a high mechanics skill to find) items, and completing bestiary entries. The last is the only xp you get for killing things, and caps once you've killed enough of a monster to complete the entry.

baconmaster:
These games are kind of daunting to me. But reading this makes me want to play that copy of Planescape: Torment I bought on GOG ages ago and never touched. Or maybe I'll start with the new Shadowrun since that's supposedly much shorter. Hopefully that can get me invested in the genre

The old-school isometric cRPGs are a bit daunting, but they are immersive unlike any other game I've played. Every little scrap of paper and bauble has some sort of awesome back-story to it.

Now I haven't played this one yet, but if you're looking to get into one of the older ones, I recommend BG2. It has the kind of story that just grabs you from the start.

Planescape is awesome too. Don't get me wrong. (It's not held up as the pinnacle of video game writing for nothing.) But it does have quite a few fundamental gameplay flaws. (One of the major ones being that it is almost closer to a novel than a game.)

OT: My fellow Black Isle fans, how does the voice-acting and soundtrack compare? I couldn't get a good handle on that from the review, but for me that held a huge amount of the charm from the golden era.

Also, how frequently do you have to gather your party before venturing forth?

Played 8 hours worth and loved every moment. So far all is good with only one bug that I've noticed - an annoying audio glitch with the tutorial scroll. Easily fixed by disabling the tutorial scroll.

f1r2a3n4k5:
Also, how frequently do you have to gather your party before venturing forth?

The pathing is not one of the things brought over from the infinity engine era, which is good. And you can speed the game up to cover distance more quickly. In addition, even if you only have one character selected, if you click on an area transition, all your dudes will move to it. And the game will just silently wait for all characters to arrive before transitioning. In short, it's all but removed. Except it isn't. If one of your characters arrive at the transition before the others and you click on the transition again, you must gather your party before venturing forth.

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