The first volume of The Pillars of the Earth was an interesting experience. I enjoyed it for sure: The story was dripping with intrigue, death and sorrow; but by sweet heavens the game was slow. I noted that the slow pace would be off-putting to a lot of people. Constant loading, detailed dialogue and short-term drama missions with no heavy overall impact means that everything felt slow. If you’re expecting for that to change in this episode then I hate to disappoint you.
Best gather around again kids, this story is hardly over.
Sowing the Wind is a darker step in the story. There is more danger, more suspense, and more violence. Pace improves but very barely. This is definitely the chapter which builds up stakes for the final chapter’s arrival.
Your story follows on from volume one. You continue to follow the stories of Philip, Jack, and Aliena as the world moves around them. Philip continues to watch his cathedral rise up, and Aliena and Jack have now grown up and are attempting to save Kingsbridge from William Hamleigh. This story will mean nothing to you though unless you have played volume one. So be sure to revisit and finish that before continuing.
Overall the game plays the exact same. You will wander around the beautifully hand drawn areas fulfilling objectives given to you. Objectives are relatively obvious to complete, though like the last one there are small side missions to keep you occupied. Gone are the more short-term dramas fielding the main bulk of quests in volume one for the opening up of the much larger story and one that will keep you hooked if you managed to survive this far.
The pace of the game has not improved much. The more overarching story means that it manages to keep you engrossed much better; and combined with better loading times to make the overall transition between areas feel smoother many of the rough edges of pacing have been sanded down. Kingsbridge is still beautiful thanks to the hand-drawn world and animations which looks as nice as ever. Animations seem to incorporate more complex actions and camera movements in this volume which overall makes the characters feel much more human.
So besides the pace being marginally better not much else is different. This is definitely more of the same. No new bugs have cropped up and no corners have been cut, so overall your love of this will depend partly on how well you managed to get through volume one.
For people who haven’t touched The Pillars of Earth yet, I recommend only to the patient (All you EU4 players out there) and to the story lovers. The point-and-click style doesn’t harken back to old classics of the genre, and instead is used to push a deep and, personally, thoroughly interesting story. For you caffeine-infused COD players, the slower pace will kill enjoyment before it began.
Overall Sowing the Wind continues an interesting story as well as it can: By smoothing down rough edges and not bringing new issues to the table. Much like volume one you’re in for the long haul. But if you have made it this far that won’t put you off.
And it better not, there is another volume to come yet.