Pillars of Eternity

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danjvelker
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Pillars of Eternity

Post by danjvelker » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:43 am

Man, this game. I love this game.

It's a classic, isometric RPG in every sense of the word. It is a spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale franchises, and makes me really excited for the upcoming remaster of Planescape: Torment, which I never got to play. This was the best era for RPGs. The developers weren't afraid to tell a story, but neither did they railroad you into every encounter. Your choices have some consequence, at least on the level of the character arcs. It's extremely atmospheric and slow-paced, which I love. Too many games assume that the player has no attention span.

The audio and visuals are stunning. There's some screenshots posted below that can attest to at least part of that sentence. I adore the isometric aesthetic, and think it generally allows artists to craft their worlds with much more care to their craft than in your typical 3D Western RPG. The maps are gorgeous and highly effective. I would honestly play an entire game in their map interface (fourth screenshot) and I'm tempted to try and get some help in making such a game. Everything is clear, available to the player, and streamlined to avoid unnecessary clutter. The menu design doesn't distract or take you out of the game; it feels perfectly at-home.

The combat is short and brutal. This isn't Skyrim, where you can just rush in with no forethought and expect to win. Even on the easier difficulties I found myself challenged by this game, and I imagine that players looking for a truly tactical experience will be able to find it at higher difficulties. I did find myself wishing in the early game that they had maintained more traditional classes (Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, etc.) but I wonder if that's going to change as I hit the late-game. The traditional classes exist, but magic was so complicated between the several trees that I found myself at a loss with what to do.

I want to stress that experience points are not granted from combat. I love that choice. It means that non-violent options are always going to be as rewarding as combat options, and may even be even more rewarding than going a combat route!

This game is a love letter to a bygone era of videogames. It was a time when games felt like art, and the developers weren't trying to reach as far into your pocket as possible. There is one DLC expansion (which truly was extra content, and only made possible by the tremendous success of the first game) as well as a sequel. I haven't finished the first, and so haven't had the opportunity to play either.

Pillars of Eternity is developed by Obsidian and published by Paradox Interactive, two of the last great bastions in a corrupted industry. It was released in 2015. It's an amazing game and if any of you have played it I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

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“But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?”
“For work, if you love that best. For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure. For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies.”

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Stewart Stigeweard
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Re: Pillars of Eternity

Post by Stewart Stigeweard » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:02 pm

At first I read "Path of Exile."

Looks super pretty!
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Re: Pillars of Eternity

Post by jys » Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:48 pm

I grew up playing the old Infinity Engine/Black Isle games and to this day, Baldur's Gate 2 is at the top of my favorite games list. I've played most of the top-down isometric RPGs: BG1, BG2, Icewind Dale 1, Icewind Dale 2, Planescape Torment, Neverwinter Nights ... ahhh, such great times.

After 2 attempts at Pillars of Eternity, I can say that I wasn't as drawn to it as I thought I would be. Perhaps it's because I don't have much time to spare to play on my laptop as before. Indeed, games such as PoE demand you to pay attention.

I'm hopeful that when Pillars of Eternity 2 is ported on the Nintendo Switch sometime this year, I can spend more time playing it. These days, playing games on the go is what's been working for me.

There was another gem of a game that followed in the similar (brilliant) recipe as the ones mentioned above - Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. The game was made by a different developer. The idea (and theme) was very interesting: it was set in a world where magic is slowly being taken over by steampunk technology. You should give it a try!

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Re: Pillars of Eternity

Post by danjvelker » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:50 pm

Glad to see you made it to the forums in one piece, J. ;)
jys wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:48 pm
After 2 attempts at Pillars of Eternity, I can say that I wasn't as drawn to it as I thought I would be. Perhaps it's because I don't have much time to spare to play on my laptop as before. Indeed, games such as PoE demand you to pay attention.

I'm hopeful that when Pillars of Eternity 2 is ported on the Nintendo Switch sometime this year, I can spend more time playing it. These days, playing games on the go is what's been working for me.
I've struggled to find the time to play those high-investment sort of games, too. I think I've only made it about 10 hours into "Pillars" just because I haven't found the time to pick it back up. It feels slow, which I adore, but that slowness makes it harder to get into the game's depth.
jys wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:48 pm
There was another gem of a game that followed in the similar (brilliant) recipe as the ones mentioned above - Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. The game was made by a different developer. The idea (and theme) was very interesting: it was set in a world where magic is slowly being taken over by steampunk technology. You should give it a try!
Heard of it, never gave it a try. Sounds pretty steampunk. Never heard of the developers - but I'll keep an eye out for a decent sale. These games are my bread and butter.
“But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?”
“For work, if you love that best. For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure. For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies.”

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