Friday, 11 May 2018 11:21

REVIEW: Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire (Steam)

Written by Kieth Dang
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Pillars Of Eternity 2 Deadfire is the sequel to Pillars of Eternity which came out it 2015, which is pretty much a love letter to Baldur’s Gate, a game that game out in the late 90’s. It was a Isometric view RPG with old school D&D style combat, with classic Sword and Wizardry with a dark theme tone. It had Elves, Dwarfs and humans with all the bells and whistles such as plate mail, chain mail, fire balls, healing potions and heaps and heaps of dialog text to read. The one thing I like about this is that most of the dialog is narrated so you don’t have to read it all.

Be warned, sometimes there is swearing in the game (among other mature content) so take heed of the 17+ ESRB rating should you decide to let your child play it. During the course of the game you will also have to read dialog & respond. Responding is simple, just hit the corresponding number key in front of the answer you want to reply with, or simply click on it with the mouse.

pillars deadfire combat 01

If you haven’t played Pillars of Eternity before playing this one, you can have a simulated game based on selecting text which will give you the basic story of the first game to get you started. However, if you have played the first game, you can import your character from it. Starting a new game without importing does give you the fun opportunity of creating a new character. You can choose from a few races such as humans, elves and dwarfs. Along with these options, you can select your class also.

The main story of the game without trying to spoil too much is that you’re on a quest to chase down and kill a newly revived god. If you haven’t played the first game this might take a while to get a grip on this game as there is quite a lot of dialog to get though before you actually get into the game. During your journey you will pick up new party members that will assist you on your quest. They all have different skills and classes.

One thing I do like about this game is that it brings back some of the old school RPG game aspects – such as it doesn’t have a highlighted curser telling you where to go & you must actually explore and talk to people to get certain clues on quests. Loot is plentiful which is good, as you will need it to sell some of the loot you can use to craft items. Pillars II is very generous with how much you can carry. Your inventory space is when compared with some other RPG games, which is certainly not a bad thing.

pillars deadfire dungeon 02

Whilst moving your party around segments of the map, you will be required to talk to people, look for items and battle both people and monsters. The interface can be a little overwhelming if you haven’t played an RPG like this before as there are icons almost on every corner of the screen. Once you get to know them all, you will find that you will most likely only need to use less than half of them anyways. You control your party with the mouse and it’s basically point and click. If you hover your mouse cursor over a defeated enemy, you will see the icon change. Likewise if you move the cursor over something you want to attack, it will change to a sword. So, the controls are mostly self-explanatory and easy to get used to.

The game is broken down into segments. You have your classic Isometric view which is the main view where you go into combat and talk to people. Then there is map view where you are an icon of your character and you move around the map. And then there is the sea view where you are in a ship on the ocean sailing around looking things to do. Sometimes you will come across something on the map like a building or a forest and this is where your stats generally come into play. In D&D terminology this is where you might roll a multi face die.

Combat will take some getting used to as you will need to think of which characters are good at what. For example, your wizard won’t have good armour stats so you might want to consider him or her at the back, casting spells while your melee characters are attacking the enemy, strategic thinking is key. Whenever combat begins the game will automatically pause to give you time to think of what you want to do.

pillars deadfire sacred stair

Then there is the ship sailing part of the game. This will require you to hire a crew and go sail the oceans to explore ship wrecks and islands, but make sure you have enough supplies on the ship for the journey and enough coin to pay the sailors as they don’t work for free. The fun part of this is that you can customize your ship and also be attacked by pirates and privateers from rival factions.

As you level up you will earn skill points to add to your various attributes and these will affect you in different ways as you move through the game. For example, you can level up your stealth skill and this will aid you during certain cut scenes where you have to sneak close to or pass enemies. The developers have made the levelling experience easy to understand, all you have to do is allocate skill points to the skill you want to unlock, simples. Acquiring gear is easy enough as you can buy from vendors or pick up from defeated enemies. Equipping them will give you sheer enjoyment as you see your stats go up while certain armour will look good on your character too, especially when you put a new cape on.

The Graphics are rich in detail when you enter towns you can see the detail in the buildings, when it rains the effects are very well done, considering I’m not running newer Graphics cards I’m only running twin Radeon HD 7700 series & they seem to be handling it. The monster sprites look fantastic, from the skeletons to the dragons you can see almost every detail in their design. The sound effects are decent and the voice acting is great, the voice that does the narrating really has a knack of getting you into the game and the music really sets the tone for each situation.

Overall – If you are into old school RPG’s and perhaps have played D&D back in the day, then this game is just right for you. It’s challenging but not hard, it has a vast open world to explore with heaps to see and do. It has great replayability as you will want to try out new characters & skills, and the characters are likeable. The only thing that got really annoying was that there was a load screen every time you entered a new area but I suspect this can be sped up with a PC upgrade. 

[Editor’s Note: Playing on an i7-7700 with a GTX1060 6GB, the game played & looked like a treat. Loading was also nearly non-existent.]

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: May 8, 2018
  • Platform: PC
  • Age Rating: ESRB 17+
  • Content: Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  • Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment
  • Genre: Role-Playing