Pillars of Eternity, developed by Obsidian Entertainment it is a real time turn based RPG published by Paradox Interactive. Set in the world of Eternity the game has a feel and inspiration from such games as Baldur’s Gate or Planescapes: Torment. The Combat mechanics are similar to the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, just a lot easier to pick up and play and detailed enough too give you a rewarding experience. However, enough with the underling points of the game and onto its detailed innards as it has a lot of interesting achievements.
It’s hard to know where to start with this game so I think I will start at the very beginning.
The character customization screen. Before you start your adventure you must choose how and who you are, the nice thing about this is contrary with so many other games. The customisation focuses on whom you are rather than what you look like and what you are. It does this by the sheer scale of the customisation, as initially you have to choose your race – do you want to be a Elf, a fishy looking Aumua, A stout Dwarf or Human or a Godlike or even a freaky cat looking man known as Orlans.
Each one of these comes with its own perks such as Aumua having a plus two, too there might or if you picked a Human a plus one, too might and plus one, too resolve. However it doesn’t stop there as each race has sub races, such as the wild Orlan, which have kept too living in deep forests rarely going into established communities and being the race of Orlans with the thickest furs and have a defiant resolve ability which allows the player too gain an attack defence, after attacking an enemy’s will, or the Heath Orlan which are so called for their relatively sedentary nature.
Not only this but their ability differs too. Minor threat allows the player too turn some of their standard attacks into critical hits when attacking an enemy which an ally is currently attacking. This again, depending on what class you picked gives a rather varying list to choose from.
Too give you an idea about the scope, one such sub race allowed me to pick from Barbarian, Cipher, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Priest, Ranger, Rogue and Wizard. Each of these have their own variable abilities and stats such as the Ranger was able to pick an animal companion and select a skill, or the wizard being able to select four spells too begin with.
Also when distributing skill points, the game is also incredibly helpful,and gives you advice on how to spend the skills either by telling you its highly recommended or just recommended depending on the class you’re in.
Then you can pick a culture which again effects who the character is, but also its stats, such as the Godlike culture ‘The White that wends’ which is home too pale elves and small colonies of daring adventures outcasts and explores which grants a plus one, too perception too your character or the Dead fire Archipelago which consists of a nation of dozens of amuaua settlements and tones of pirate infested islands which boosts you dexterity by plus one.
After this you can select a background which is rather varied, like the classes as you can be an Aristocrat, Drifter Explorer or more depending on your previous choices. Now that that’s all the personal background stuff out of the way you can now work on personalising appearance which compared too everything else is fairly limited but not too the point where you can’t find something you like.
If you wanted some kind of freak of nature with legs the size of the Michelin Tyre Mascot and a head of a small door mouse you’re going to be disappointed. However were not done, as lastly you can pick your voice from a fair selection, and a portrait for your character to be used through out the game.
It might seem like I’m talking about the customisation too much, however, I feel it’s really important as it does something really clever. You are immersed in the game before you are even in it. By this I mean that through all of this you have already learnt some things about this world and now you might of created yourself into the fantasy world– not some character that may look a bit different but is fundamentally the same as everyone else but a character in themselves – in yourself.
The sheer amount of customisation and detail helps this and also builds a really rich world. Immediately though I am really not quite sure on the portrait as I think I would have preferred there not too be one having the choice from sixty six like number three the Navi out of the Avatar out of a job or number sixty six the lord Beelzeboss of cat hell himself kind of re-tracked from this.
The Gameplay works really well too as although the game is a real time strategy game it allows you two control the flow of time to a degree by either slowing down time or speeding it up or even pausing it allowing you to choose how you’re going to attack your enemy at your pace. Also its really nice that its mechanics feel very similar too dungeons and dragons however at an understandable level allowing you too actually feel that you understand the choices you make in battle and feel like that it contributes and actually does something. Also during fighting an enemy you have the ability not just too use your standard attack but also skills or spells which work in a very interesting way as appose too using something like manna like were used too in RPG’s they use just a system of how many times can you use it either in an encounter or until you rest. Also you have the ability to set-up two sets of weapon configurations so say you’re a ranger that has suddenly been surrounded in close combat, no fear you can switch to a knife and knife them away. One minor issue I had was with the levelling as it took me a long time to figure out I had to press the plus in the tiny corner of the portrait too level up which was frustrating after realising I could have levelled five levels ago which was probably the reason I was struggling.
The story feels mostly about you the player. As you start as a member of a caravan troop that has had to stop for the night due to the road being blocked by a tree. Not only this but you have contracted some sort of nasty disease and you have to go and find some berries with a fellow traveller. However things aren’t that simple and after getting the berries and finding the water skins that someone else was supposed be fetching the water with it soon transpires that you are under attack by the Glenfathan – a religious fanatic group who are pissed that you’re on their holy site. After the conflict with the big man in charge you are soon forced into a cavern by a supernatural hurricane known as a biawac. The nicest thing about this is how these events are told, not by complicated over the top animations but with a really simple beautiful art style that fits in beautifully with the game. It may be irritating that no matter what you do you cannot seem too save your two traveling companions at the start even after three separate attempts to restart the story. But, there are plenty of interesting colourful characters along the way too comfort this los like Astoth, Dunnance and Karna. Graphically the world looks very pretty and with the combination of the music (both ambient and the actual background music) and the story creates a great world too get immersed in.
Overall if you’re a fan of a game, which you can get lost in for hours, then this game will enrich your life too no-end, with its simple too get combat mechanics that are highly flexible too your needs,regardless of your current gaming experiance and the amazing world it builds. I would actually encourage anyone who has a decent PC too play this amazing old School Fantasy RPG. Also the game feels very much like a Dungeon and Dragons/ Baldur’s Gate kind of experience,but the dungeons and maps don’t feel obtusely long, allowing you to drop in and out if you have not got the time for heavy playing time. The only downside I can say is I do feel sorry for console exclusive gamers missing out, however I guess I don’t see the game translating very well. OH well Thedon and Calisca I never really knew you but I guess I’ll miss you guys.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.