The Return of RPG tradition
By Stephan Brown
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
ESRB Rated: Mature
Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment/Paradox Interactive
“Pillars of Eternity” was once the largest crowd funded video game on kickstarter ever. It is now sixth largest having made around four million dollars with nearly 80,000 backers. Needless to say the game had very high expectations and it met them. The game promised to bring back the old school 90’s rpg’s of the west that were beloved by many like “Baldur’s Gate” and completely followed through. The game could even be seen as a spiritual successor to “Baldur’s Gate” and contains a great deal of Easter eggs and references to the crpg’s of yesteryear.
The game takes place in the land of Dyrwood, in the fictional world of Eoras. The player character arrives in Dyrwood, from whatever troubled origin players decide to give them, and subsequently gets caught up in a grand adventure. The hero/heroine runs into a phenomenon across Dyrwood called Waidwen’s Legacy where many children are born as “hollowborn” or without souls. Conflict arises from many animancers across Dyrwood who try to cure Waidwen’s Legacy with the distrusted magic of animacy (soul magic) and fail miserably.
Their earlier attempts included transplanting animal souls into the children with unfortunate results. This was a detail picked up through an interesting interaction with an animancer npc. While “Pillars of Eternity” lacks a significant amount of voice acting, it makes up for it with the incredible amount of excellent writing that went into every conversation. It often feels, like a Dungeon Master is sitting nearby, when speaking to npc’s and is definitely not for people who do not like reading.
The game follows mechanics similar to “Baldur’s Gate” and is reminiscent of “Dungeons and Dragons.” During combat sequences, players must rely on frequently pausing to issue orders to keep up with the fast-paced real time, tactical combat. The game seems to take a great deal from the classics of the genre and shakes off all the unwanted elements.
The only disappointment was the lack of dynamic interactive effects in which many gamers have come to love in “Divinity: Original Sin.” Although, the combat is still fun without the effects and remains very challenging. The game has four difficulty settings and “easy” is by no means a walk in the park, especially for those unfamiliar with the game.
This game is very unique for Obsidian, as they previously developed games for worlds of someone else’s creation. “Pillars of Eternity” is the first game they built their own universe for and unlike the other two CRPG revivals that came out last year, “Divinity: Original Sin” and “Wasteland 2”, this game is polished.
The video game went through a long beta testing process, contains few bugs, looks great and is a significantly longer game. For a company renowned for excellent high quality rpg’s like “South Park: Stick of Truth,” “Fallout New Vegas” and “Neverwinter Nights,” it does not come easily for me to say that “Pillars of Eternity” is their best rpg yet. It is a beautiful game set in a beautiful world with challenging, yet fun gameplay and many hours of adventures to enjoy. This new release is highly recommended to anyone who loves “D&D,” old school crpg’s or anyone who wants to get into them.