Steam had the Definitive Edition of Pillars of Eternity on sale for $10. So I thought to myself Why not? So I’m now 6 hours into Pillars of Eternity, and I’ve got to say the better question to ask myself would have been Why bother?
There’s just something about this “Not AD&D” Combat system that is just a slog to me. Limiting magic to X number of castings per day is aggravating, I’m still not too sure what the various weapon types/weaknesses actual do, and there’s little in the way of actual engagement during combat (again, because with Magic being a limited resource you aren’t using it as much).
I have a Priest who can’t heal anyone, and I’ve got “bards” that can just chant up skeletons.
It’s a fantasy world with obnoxious spellings (Why are they called erls? Just call them Earls for gawd’s sake!), grimdarkness without context, and overly friendly NPCs.
It’s not that I’m offended by exposition dumps from the locals when being thrown into a brand new world, but Obsidian has this way of writing that makes it come across as less “This is a helpful bit of dialogue” and more “Ron Perlman’s opening narrative of Fallout: New Vegas” levels of not trusting the player to roleplay.
And I think that’s key to why I’m kind of dissatisfied with the game. I’m not being allowed to be my character. I’m not allowed to be any kind of character, really. The dialogue for PCs is pretty bland and there’s not even a “fail state” dialogue option like in New Vegas, where you’d be shown the fact your character doesn’t have the skill to pull off the speech check but can do so anyway. Here the dialogue options are just locked away completely - which begs the question why include them in options at all? I get coding is more magic than science to begin with, but why not just include something along the lines of “If Skill=Yes Show”?
I’m not being immersed, I suppose is my complaint about the game. No where that I’ve so far gone feels like anything more than sound stages. They’ve got some interesting maps and encounters on said maps (though I’ll badger on that for a minute in a bit), but nothing to really pull me into the world. Get me invested in what’s going on. Heck, I’m 6 hours in and still have zero idea what’s going on beyond Gilded Vale is a bit sketchy (But not sketchy enough for the companions I picked up there who were very eager to leave ever voice a complaint whenever I go back there to rest in the inn) and I’m the kid from The Sixth Sense.
Heck, running across a fellow “bard” mentioning he’s being trailed by guys in robes doesn’t even prompt a dialogue option of “Hey, I ran afoul some guys in robes…”. Though, in fairness, it does give the prompt “What’s a few assassins between friends?” which is the most emotional line Obsidian’s so far written for the PC so I guess I’ll take it.
There’s just very little roleplay for this Roleplaying game, and the combat mechanics are shackled to a system that was dated going on twenty years now. Those nice maps also feature “high level encounters”. So yeah, obviously you back out of those. But it irks me they are present at all on maps with fully viable combat encounters to your party’s current level. This is a game in which every single bit of a forest gets its own unique map. There's little reason to include a "variety" of level ranges to maps when there are multiple maps per geographic area. You could cordon off certain maps with high level encounters while allowing those who like to explore the ability to fill out a map without running around encounters that are impossible at your current level with your current gear in a innocuous portion of a forest where you've run afoul, at worse, some Forest Trolls. (Oh and for a system that also includes enemy types that root the party after engaging and always brings up "?" in regard to knowledge about a new creature type...maybe don't make the high level encounters such that when you foolishly run up to the enemy there's no way to actually retreat from the encounter)
Throw everything together, the dated combat, the lack of meaningful roleplay, the world that is seemingly resistant to every attempt made to try and engage with it…Pillars of Eternity is making me want to play other games rather than play with it. I got super excited when my latest companion came armed with a gun. Within a combat encounter I was just like “Man, the gunplay in Arcanum is better than this.”
Also firing a smoothbore into spirits does damage.
And since everything’s on the “Not AD&D” system, I remain confused as to whether Damage Reduction is better with higher or lower numbers. I want to assume the former, but if so that means the loot tables are borked because I’ve got 6 hours without a single piece of armor upgrade for anyone in my party.
Edited by Rust, 14 February 2021 - 11:44 AM.