Video Games

Review: Pillars of Eternity

Luke Bennett looks at the massive Kickstarter-backed fantasy world from Obsidian Entertainment, Pillars of Eternity.

Similar to Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age: Origins, Icewind Dale

Available on PC.

Back in September 2012, Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout New Vegas, South Park: Stick of Truth) revealed that they were to start crowdfunding for a game that was to be a true successor to the much lauded Baldur’s Gate series – Pillars of Eternity. Word spread, and soon the Kickstarter campaign had amassed a whopping $4,163,208 to fund their game (which, at the time, was the highest amount a crowdfunded video game had been able to garner). Obsidian kept fans waiting, and teasing them with tantalizing gameplay previews up until March 26 2015, when the game was finally released

Pillars of Eternity centers around a player-made protagonist on their journey into the Dyrwood province of Eora (the world the game is set in). Along the way, the character meets other companions to which have their own set of motives to join your character as you adventure through the region, trying to help the people with a particularly nasty problem that leaves their children born without souls, and at the same time discovering something truly world changing about themselves. The story that Pillars of Eternity follows is truly a great, there are incredible moments ranging from the comical, to the heartbreaking to the heroic – which, c’mon, is the basic recipe for a good old-fashioned adventure, no? Not only is the main story interesting, but Pillars of Eternity wields an impressive amount of side quests for a player to get truly stuck into the problems that trouble the people of the Dyrwood and allow you to shape your character’s personality through the conversation and reputation system which can result in people treating you differently.

 

Pillars of Eternity is a true-to-heart RPG game. It draws influences from more old-school RPG systems much like Black Isle did with their Baldur’s Gate (taking inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons for everything from their character creation to their dice-rolling combat system). Pillars of Eternity features a rather intense character creation system. From choosing the basics of gender, class and race to the region of the game’s world that the character comes from and what their background was before the story began. This whole process really helps the player to create and visualize a character, much in a similar way to how pen-and-paper gamers create characters. Unfortunately, it’d seem that while Obsidian Entertainment were so focused on giving the player such a detailed character to build they forgot about the NPCs of the game. While some comic relief is to be found in the form of Aloth (an Elven Wizard with an unfortunate split personality) and Durance (an unwashed Priest of Magran, the fire God), the majority of the other characters come across as dead-weight, lacking personality and particularly interesting backstory. Thankfully, Obsidian remedies the truly mediocre companions with the ability to ‘hire’ player-made hirelings which, as with the main character, gives the player all the tools to customize backstories for each member of their party.

 

The game features a combat system similar to Baldur’s Gate, with things like chance to hit and damage rolls being calculated on certain attributes and equipment that a character has. Gameplay has a controllable speed, not only being able to double or halve the speed that the game is going at, but also featuring several difficulty modes and optional difficulty settings- such as making enemies have more resistances or hit points and a mode which wipes the player’s save file should they die (That one’s pretty intense). Gameplay is made even more interesting through the class system, which features eleven unique classes all with different styles of play; from the mysteriously psychic Ciphers to the murderous crazed Barbarians. Additionally, each type of armor and weapon provides different bonuses which may prove useful in some circumstances and less so in others to keep players truly on their toes as to use the right tools for the right situation.

 

In all, Pillars of Eternity really delivers everything an RPG fanatic might be looking for – an intriguing story that leaves you awake and wide-eyed at 4am, desperately trying to figure out the next part of the puzzle, as well as a gameplay system and character customization which make for a huge amount of replay value.

 

Pros:

+In depth character customization.

+Outstanding storytelling.

 

Cons:

-Companions on offer are sadly and horribly boring.

-Can be a little difficult for players looking for an easier gaming session.

 

8/10

Luke Bennett

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