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Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - review thread

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Open Critic aggregate - 90

 

PCGamesN - 90

It’s an extraordinary game. One that you’ll feel faintly lost in at first, while its many systems permeate your grey matter. But all the while its story unfolds and reveals new wrinkles, the sense of place growing deeper. The mechanics underpinning everything in Pillars II have shifted marginally towards accessibility, but that still leaves a huge amount of room for brutal challenge levels to its combat - and, crucially, it’s scalable enough that you can whack down the challenge, ignore your party composition, leave the pause key unpressed, and enjoy the adventure. That’s what this is, in a very real sense: an adventure.

 

PC Gamer - 88

Pillars of Eternity II is another fine RPG from Obsidian, brilliantly showcasing the studio's knack for strong world-building, intelligent, expressive writing, and varied quest design. It’s a big, deep, wordy CRPG in the classic mould, but with enough new ideas to feel like more than just a throwback. The sailing is the only thing I didn’t really engage with, feeling somewhat half-baked compared to the rest of the game. But if it’s a fantasy RPG filled with pages of brilliant, descriptive dialogue you’re after, and a huge, open world to explore, the Deadfire Archipelago delivers all that and then some. We’re more spoiled for choice when it comes to RPGs like this than we were in 2015, which makes Deadfire feel a little less special than the first Pillars. But that’s a minor gripe in light of the fact that this is another great game from one of the best studios in the business, offering many hours of quality roleplaying.

 

ShackNews - 90

The original Pillars of Eternity is a tough act to follow, but Obsidian has knocked it out of the park once again. In addition to a layer of polish that permeates across the entire experience, the new naval aspect, larger world, advanced custom combat AI, and fully voiced dialog make this a must-have sequel. There are hitches here and there in the performance, like a regular stutter every time my Druid shifted into her spirit form, but those hiccups don’t come close to breaking the experience and are certainly things that can be fixed in future patches.

 

RPG Site - 90

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is a memorable title with a strong identity, cohesive mechanics, and a gripping world that rewards players willing to invest the time to master its systems and truly inhabit the world it puts forth. It is a game where the player is constantly learning a new bit of history, a useful combat strategy, or a particular quirk of one of their party members. Very little in Deadfire feels superfluous or unneeded -- it’s exactly the sum of its carefully considered and well-designed parts. Paired with strong non-linear gameplay, well-written characters, and packed with a story that’s equal parts grounded and fantastical, it’s easily one of the best RPGs of 2018 so far.

 

TheSixthAxis - 90

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is a game about choices and epic story lines, grounding itself with the unique characters you find and the fact that your ultimate aim is to get the rest of your soul back. Having such a personal quest at the centre of such a fantastical plot really keeps you invested in both the people and the world, whether you’re carrying on your adventure from the first game or starting afresh. Either way there’s a genuinely likeable cast, both personal and global stories and the pleasure of mastering all its systems. A genuine joy of a game and one which is simultaneously approachable and impossibly deep, Deadfire is a fantastic sequel and one which you will be thinking even when you are away from its world.

 

Wccftech - 90

And, rest assured, Pillars of Eternity II provides plenty to keep your hero busy. If you really keep your eye on the prize/giant lumbering god, you can plow through Pillars II in around 35 hours, but those who really embrace the world will take twice that long (or more). Replays are also strongly encouraged – the new Berath’s Blessings mechanic is essentially a form of New Game+, awarding you bonuses for your next playthrough for completing certain achievements. This is one tropical vacation you won’t want to end.

 

Hardcore Gamer - 90

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is a worthy successor to the original. It demands time from the player to fully understand the in-depth character growth and creation system, though doing so results in a rewarding gaming experience. Dialogue trees aren’t anything new, but this one features some of the more entertaining dialogue among recent games and the voice acting with the script makes the inhabitants of Eora feel alive. The influence of tabletop role playing and classic RPGs come together nicely in a vast adventure where player choices matter. And for a game that will take thirty to forty hours for non-completionists with three scheduled DLC expansions, keeping the game interesting is extremely important, which thankfully Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has no problem doing.

 

Gamespot - 80

Deadfire is dense, and it isn't a small game, easily dwarfing its predecessor in terms of scale. There's a lot to do, and it's easier than ever to get lost in the little stories you find, without following the arcs that the game has specially set out for you. Still, it's worth taking your time. The richness of Deadfire takes a while to appreciate, and like the brined sailors that call it come, you'll be left with an indelible attachment to these islands when you do finally step away.

 

GamesBeat - 92

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire puts the gods, warts and all, at the forefront of the story, and at this point, it shines when it focuses on your interactions with these powerful-but-flawed beings.  But when you’re bantering with the gods, thinking about running the more mundane errands of mortals and dealing with their political squabbles, their attempts to gain power even when facing a dire threat do come off as tedious.  In Tyranny, evil wins because good is dumb. In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, good is too busy plotting and scheming to realize what the right thing is to do — whether in the halls of the gods or the dens, warrens, and courts of the kith. It’s at its best when you’re in these conversations, making choices like you’re in a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, drinking in the results and reckoning with each decision you make.  Even when you’re mocking the gods.

 

CGMagazine - 95

These issues are minor overall, and the overall upgrades made to Deadfire make up for it in spades. Ultimately, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is a near-perfect sequel. It builds upon the foundation of the previous game with more compelling exploration and a deeper combat system, fixes many of the problems that held the first one back, and is from top to bottom a more polished experience. No matter if you’re new to the world of Eora or an experienced traveler, Deadfire is an RPG you have to play.


Game Informer - 88

The isometric RPG has come a long way since the first Pillars of Eternity helped to usher in a resurgence for the genre in 2015. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire hews closer to the traditions than it needs to, and some of the new concepts like ship battles simply aren’t as robust as they could be. But stellar narrative structure and writing and an interesting central threat help this sequel maintain interest across the dozens of hours it takes to enjoy a robust playthrough. We also bear witness to a studio that is still at the top of its game in crafting memorable fantasy adventures. 

 

Rock, Paper, Shotgun (Review in Progress) - Mixed

I wish PoE2 had had more to say, more it wanted to express. I think that would have covered over a multitude of its other sins. Half-ideas about colonialism mixed with exploitation of natural resources by trading companies don’t really deliver the goods here. (That is the best joke.) As it is, despite having spent dozens of hours playing this, I’ve always felt at arm’s length.


USGamer - 90

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is a strange game; it wants to be everything you loved about old-school RPGs while being something new, and I think it succeeds at that. One day, I played for about 15 hours straight because I was having so much fun. The next day, I played for 12 more. Deadfire relies on tradition when it's suitable and tries to do something new everywhere else. The end result is one of the best RPGs I've played in recent years.

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I've only just started, but the game is really pretty for an isometric game. The technical decisions they make really enhance the aesthetic. Also, being fully voiced is a nice improvement.

 

Beyond that I'm still too early to comment, but I'm quite optimistic!

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This weekend, I ride! [Looks at height of grass in his yard]. Well first I need to ride the mower, but then, ooooh then! It will be mine! :sun:

 

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IGN - 85

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire improves upon the Pillars of Eternity formula in nearly every way, creating an RPG loaded with both strong combat and important, character-defining choices that frequently have an impact on your numerous and deep side-story adventures. A refreshingly different island setting makes it feel dramatically distinct, though travel can be laborious because of unavoidable and repetitive nautical encounters. From a long list of quality-of-life upgrades to a new and impressive attention on companions and their relationships and an astonishing commitment to immersive storytelling and roleplaying, this sequel takes a strong step forward past its predecessor and presents exciting possibilities for the genre going forward.

 

Slant Magazine - 90

You never drastically change your methods of pursuing Eothas, for example, but telling people you're either out for revenge, coaxed into it against your will, or interested in saving as many people as possible can open up further dialogue with other characters. Whether you intend the protagonist to be narcissistic, altruistic, fed up with the world, or the strong and silent type, Pillars of Eternity II's often problematic wordiness nevertheless accommodates a wondrous array of roles rather than forcing players into a handful of pre-defined types. Obsidian's sequel is an achievement not just for the density of its fascinating setting, but for the flexibility with which you may present yourself to it and be perceived within it.

 

Angry Centaur Gaming - "Buy"

 

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I wish I could find a video or something to explain what exactly people found fun about the combat in PoE1, because I'm genuinely interested in the sequel. I feel like it's just one of those cases where the combat is just different enough from what I'm used to to be off-putting, but not so far off that I can't make it "click." Unlike Baldur's Gate 1, which just had legitimately awful and boring combat.

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PSA: There is a bug currently where if you have Steam overlay active, mouse clicks don't always properly register. If you start playing before a patch is released and you experience it, just disable the overlay temporarily.

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Eurogamer - Recommended

Then again, perhaps I'm missing the point. Perhaps the celestial stuff was a red herring and the Deadfire Archipelago - the people and not the gods - was the story. It's something I've been thinking about a lot, and I like thinking. It's the reason I play role-playing games, to ponder over everything, however insignificant. And from sailing the high seas to dealing with dodgy underworld bosses and insatiable gods, Pillars of Eternity 2 gives me ponderance in abundance. The Deadfire Archipelago is a bountiful tropical playground I will happily plunder again and again. How long this golden RPG doubloon shines I don't know, but for now it's worth savouring, for now it's worth celebrating.

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The game has a bit of a slow start--when you get to Neketaka, it's so huge with so many people to talk to, you're drowning in introduction. But after getting a bit settled there, it gels and I'm having a great time.

 

I'm sure that shocks everyone to hear.

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1 hour ago, legend said:

The game has a bit of a slow start--when you get to Neketaka, it's so huge with so many people to talk to, you're drowning in introduction. But after getting a bit settled there, it gels and I'm having a great time.

 

I'm sure that shocks everyone to hear.

I've manage to fill out my party roster with the characters they pretty much throw at you. I built a paladin as my "main" character, so my party composition is now:

 

Paladin

Fighter

Priestess

Mage

Thief

 

Its a beautiful looking world, though the over world map is inconsistent. I realize they were going for a sort of Indiana Jones map travel sequence, but the art quality of individual objects is here and there. Dialog options are plentiful and run the range from subtle to cruel, which is nice! No Mass Effect "good, bad, neutral" only options. I'm only 6 hours in but random combat seems almost none existent? Did PoE have any as well? Now that I think of it, perhaps it did not? Bah! Anyway, its a pleasure to play despite my nit picking and I look forward to getting back to it this weekend!  

 

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22 minutes ago, Mr.Vic20 said:

I've manage to fill out my party roster with the characters they pretty much throw at you. I built a paladin as my "main" character, so my party composition is now:

 

Paladin

Fighter

Priestess

Mage

Thief

 

Its a beautiful looking world, though the over world map is inconsistent. I realize they were going for a sort of Indiana Jones map travel sequence, but the art quality of individual objects is here and there. Dialog options are plentiful and run the range from subtle to cruel, which is nice! No Mass Effect "good, bad, neutral" only options. I'm only 6 hours in but random combat seems almost none existent? Did PoE have any as well? Now that I think of it, perhaps it did not? Bah! Anyway, its a pleasure to play despite my nit picking and I look forward to getting back to it this weekend!  

 

 

PoE had no random encounters either :) That said, I think there are "random encounters" in PoE2 if you count the sea battles (but I actually haven't gotten in any yet!)

 

I'm a Cipher class and have settled into this group after playing around with different sets

 

Cipher (Me)

Fighter (Eder <3I can't quit my super tank from PoE1!)

Monk/Priestess (Xoti)

Ranger/Rogue (Maia)

Wizard (Aloth)

 

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Oh also, I'm a huge fan of the fact that Wizard spells are no longer on rest as in PoE1, but per encounter. Per rest made me mostly avoid wizards because I felt like I was always saving their spells because there were too few casts; especially in the early game.

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6 hours ago, legend said:

Oh also, I'm a huge fan of the fact that Wizard spells are no longer on rest as in PoE1, but per encounter. Per rest made me mostly avoid wizards because I felt like I was always saving their spells because there were too few casts; especially in the early game.

That does sound lik ea good change. I dwarf cipher from the first one as well. Is porting over your character worth it? I guess it depends on how you want to move forward with the story.

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44 minutes ago, Massdriver said:

That does sound lik ea good change. I dwarf cipher from the first one as well. Is porting over your character worth it? I guess it depends on how you want to move forward with the story.

 

There's actually some save import bugs at the moment which is a bit of bummer, particularly with Eder. otherwise most things seem to be lining up for me and they're supposedly working on a fix. In the conversations, it will put a special icon to reflect choices (or responses to you) that are a consequence of your Pillars 1 decisions.

 

Alternatively, you can manually set all outcomes from PoE1 (and you can save choice sets for future play throughs).

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I really liked the world and the lore, but I found the first POE to just have too much micro-managing. I really detested the combat. Is that streamlined at all?

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18 hours ago, thewhyteboar said:

I really liked the world and the lore, but I found the first POE to just have too much micro-managing. I really detested the combat. Is that streamlined at all?

 

You might be okay with what they've done. There are now 5 characters in your party instead of 6 for starters. Additionally, the AI options are significantly enhanced. I still actually like to micro manager :P but you can either choose from pretty decent default options, or configure the AI to behave how you want in a pretty detailed way. Those two things may be enough to make it more streamlined for you.

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I'm enjoying POE 2 WAY more than the first one. Really stirs up that nostalgia of Planescape/Baulders Gate/etc. The good ol days of gaming for me personally.

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7 hours ago, legend said:

 

You might be okay with what they've done. There are now 5 characters in your party instead of 6 for starters. Additionally, the AI options are significantly enhanced. I still actually like to micro manager :P but you can either choose from pretty decent default options, or configure the AI to behave how you want in a pretty detailed way. Those two things may be enough to make it more streamlined for you.

Thank you. My brother is a big fan of it as well. I'll see about it during a sale.

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FYI, the patch that just released fixed the few save import bugs that were found retroactively (meaning you don't need to start a new game).

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I want to play it but I don't want to spend 50$ right now. I guess I'll probably pick it up once it drops to like 20-30.

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