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Phyriel

Little Insignificant Review (of rpg aspect)

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Hey guys. 

 

So I wanted to share my bit about the game as I finished it three times and I waited for balance, overhaul patches to give poe 2 some chances before giving my final thoughts... 

 

Before going into detail i'll just say how I personally rate it as roleplaying game first and foremost... 4/10. 

 

Ok... ok... that's low. Before everyone jumps on me saying "Woah dude, game plays great, the graphics! the animations! it's clear improvement over first installment... sure they have some balancing issues but that's only because they attempted to give us even more than in game one in form of multiclassing"

 

I'd agree if it was marketed as arcade isometric action game not as an RPG with big quotes like "Baldur's Gate successor!". 

 

Why? Because you can't even play evil guy in PoE 2... your "evil" dialog options narrow down to being edge lord or "I don't care. Bye". There are no quests that get you evil like in poe1 where you could send a child to be eaten alive by some lunatic so you gain some powers or sacrificing people in Effigy ritual. PoE 1 was packed with moral choices in quests... also setting was grim overall. You could attempt defending poe 2 saying "ok setting is different so quests and writing matches that" but holy ****... it's still same universe but apparently game is trying to highlight it's "I'm jack sparrow yo ho and a bottle of rum chasin'o God theme" above all else. You even get some shanties while traveling to bump that pirates of caribbean theme. 

 

That said, in many aspects poe 2 fails even to be roleplaying game at it's core. It's a regress compared to poe 1 that even with it's flaws was an rpg game. Poe 2 is more in line with arcade games like Tyranny (that was marketed as rpg also lol).

 

I won't even start of aspects of the game that are only relevant to tryhards aka char building appeal, replayability, balance. Basicly due to terrible balancing that trivialize content past early-mid game you have no reason to replay the game at all. 

 

All in all after realizing quite quickly this wasn't a real RPG (in a full meaning of that word) I enjoyed the game to some extent. Obsidian surely worked to make that game have enough flare graphic wise to have me finish it few times with different classes just to see all the flashy spells etc... but afterall that's something you could do just consoling your char to max level, because acquiring it all and using legit way bordered pretty much the same sense of achievement (due to ****ed up encounter design and lack of balance, derp).

 

So yea... pretty negative review. I'm sure dlcs and ton of balance patches can salvage replayability to degree that will have me revisit but lack of deep char development and shallow rpg choices that cut on "evil" aspect... I guess for lower PEGI... makes me consider poe 2 to be regress, as rpg compared to poe 1... I don't even consider it rpg game honestly. It's good arcade, action adventure, isometric game. 

Edited by Phyriel
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I didn't find this at all myself, especially considering how fundamentally evil each faction can be at the end of the day. I especially find the mention of Baldur's Gate as an example of a game that rewards evil playthroughs as dubious as in my experience that side of the equation in those games has always felt pretty empty and unaccomodated for, and even recall that being a typical criticism levied against it. In all frankness I see Deadfire and Tyranny both as being 'truer' *roleplaying* games than several games most agree to be RPGs, from the Witcher, Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age series down to, yes, Baldur's Gate. There's criticisms to be levied against it but the lack of roleplaying options isn't one of them as far as I'm concerned.

 

Edit: I'll also add, on the point of content designed for evil playthroughs and evil characters, that it is also factually wrong to state that there are none. A couple of examples below:

 

 

As an action I can confirm, one of the most powerful weapons in the game, the Sanguine Great Sword, can only be acquired if you willingly allow a coven of vampires to sacrifice and feed power into the great sword before taking them down - you learn of their plans to feed the great sword the same way you learn about the coven and when and where they gather. Granted, this is probably *very* easy to miss.

 

As a couple of things you apparently can do though I cannot confirm if it's the case exactly, is that you can sell a companion into slavery at Crookspur (I sided against them so I never tried as much), and in one of the uncharted islands you can be approached by a group of Skaenites who will apparently offer you the chance to do something that, to the best of my memory, sounded a lot like a second blood pool. Many other acts of very dubious morality include carrying out several assassinations, helping out thieves and slavers (who are legitimately portrayed as that), helping to carry out devastating acts of war on areas full of civilians, pushing a companion to the literal brink of madness, and so on. And let's not even get started on Tyranny...

 

Edited by algroth
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My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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I have to agree with algroth. While it was annoying to be evil in BG (higher merchant prices,lose reputation even if nobody sees you committing the crime) D&D's underlying system was fundamentally flawed. The idea that anybody is inherently evil and does evil stuff just for the sake of it, no matter if you get something out of it, because your disposition requires it is stupid. Pillars has it right in that regard, you either care, don't care, or don't care and want to antagonize whoever you're talking to. That leads to dialogue options of 1-3 good ones, don't care and "edge lord". That's fine.

What i think COULD be criticized is that the don't care option doesn't lead to more eaten babies or sth like that. I guess the reason is that deadfire was designed with a more uplifting mood in mind.

 

PS: Your example of eating baby for gain of power ist just don't care too btw.

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I disagree with you simply because there's no good or evil in this game, it has much more realistic approach comparing to classical RPG and fantasy titles. I can compare it to Morrowind which is brilliant writing.

POE2 is all about politics and personal investment in current world state, it has less blunt evil deeds and more subtle ways to be evil by... ignorance, for example.

 

Maia's quest is punishing you for ignorance and lack of attention to what's going on around you. Or you can willingly choose to fulfill shady task just because you're greedy or support Ruautai cause. Or if you want to see this world suffer. You can support slavery on the islands and it will brings more suffering to innocent people than sacrificing one child. You can choose to not intervene in god's plan to grow monsters in the ocean and Sayuka will be the first island to devoured. You can be ignorant and support pirates so it will bring profits and power to you and nothing to everyone else. You can even convince god to end this world if it fits your concept of evil.

 

And it's only large notable quest lines, there are many side stories to participate in and do something evil. 

Edited by hermamora
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OP gave Deadfire a 4/10 because he couldnt be evil

 

LOL so funny

That’s hardly a reason to laugh at him.

 

Although I personally think the game handles roleplay alright, we all look for different things in games and he laid out his own respectable opinion.

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I based my score on RP value as understood by me. That alone brought it to 6/10 but then I waited for patches supposedly fixing balance etc and I asked myself "Hmm is this game replayable" (I stated before I finished multiple playthroughs but in truth I finished it once and rushed the second half due to #trivial issues, the following playthroughs were just to test classes, however got to max level on each) and the answer was no... 

 

I sat down thinking of the ways I could replay this game, including inventing plentiful handicaps to battle triviality of the game that just erupts in mid->late levels, also I sat down thinking how to skip merry adventuring that inevitably makes me switch my wallpaper to Jack Sparrow and again I found no way to avoid it, there are no alternative ways to travel, you just have to be a sailor as your vacancy first and foremost. Talking about fruitful rpg experience huh? As in understood by ROLE, singular, sailor role. In that case I'm sorry its 10/10 game. Thought it's about ROLES. O Igitur Stulti!!

 

Lemme reply to the guy that lol'd at me giving game rpg aspect that low score. First off, well I'm glad you're just easily entertained but secondly... no I have nothing else here tbh. 

 

I don't think 4/10 is too harsh, maybe if games weren't given 8/10 instantly just because they look better graphic wise than some indie low budget thing then companies would actually care to finish their games and hire some better writers to do the job.  I'll leave commenting on arguments about Tyranny being good rpg game as it clearly proves too massive difference in perception of "good" to engage in civil discussion. 

Edited by Phyriel

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I hate to say it, But I feel like poe2 faction and their quest is nothing like New Vegas, more like Fallout 4,

and final ending choice is poor just like ME3, since I can't stop Eothas and  watch him destroy the wheel.

 

Edited by Gfted1
Added spoiler tags.
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This is the wrong place to post anything negative about Deadfire...

 

There are lots of guard dogs prevading the territory from any rational critique. You would be better off just giving it a negative review on Steam and GoG and disable comments.


Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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You are only posting (the same thing) when there's a controversial topic that can easily go flame. You sure that the others are guard dogs?

 

Coming back on topic, I really don't see the point. There's no clear evil in the game and in BG2 you had the illusion of being able to play evil character but you really couldn't for a long series of reasons. Plus PoE (both of them) have many more choices and consequences to define the character so I can't see how it can be less rpg.

 

Edit: I googled images for BGs boxes and they both rated lower or equal than PoE, so not true about that either.

Edited by Daled
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I know my english is not the best, every single post will be a step closer to proper english, please bear with me until then  :)

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Inspired by the topic of this thread, I thought why the hell not and try to 'review' the RPG aspects of Deadfire and Tyranny myself...

 

So, I will start this off with a couple of general thoughts about roleplaying and player interactivity in videogames in general, as seen from the perspective of someone who has played a fair bit but hasn't actually invested much time in the theory behind it all and so on - so I'm sure there's treatises written about this already and that I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything of the sort right here. But to me, when I think of roleplaying and interactivity in general, I feel one can often divide the actions, decisions and player input into three distinct categories, relating to the what, the how and the why: what are they actually doing or aiming for, how are they doing it or achieving this objective, and why are they doing what they're doing and following what personal diegetic motivation and so on. Most genres of videogame approach the first two areas to some extent or other, and may or may not offer multiple options and greater flexibility for the same: graphic adventures and interactive movies like the Telltale and David Cage games or Until Dawn and Life Is Strange place special focus on a branching narrative with multiple ending where the player has to make decisions on their actions which may or may not affect the outcome of the story and so on; meanwhile many other more linear games have usually a pretty set and single action or objective a player must achieve, but can offer through a more mechanically complex and multifaceted gameplay system many ways in which to achieve that objective - a B.J. Blazkowicz-type character has to make his way from point A through point B through a bunch of Nazis but he may either achieve this by going in full Rambo on the enemy and blasting them to smithereens, sneak his way past the encounters, or lure them out a few at a time to a spot that is more advantageous to him. The third point, the "why", I feel is usually given to the player by the game and the story and so on, and in most cases and genres is either a fixed value (e.g. terrorists have kidnapped a group of people and you must save them because it's your job and if you don't the terrorists will hurt them, or your character's relationship with an NPC is enforced through a cutscene) or an empty one because it's inessential for the game at hand (there's no real reason why that particular champion you chose in League of Legends is there fighting for your beck and call and it's not really important)... Yet when this point is made into a flexible variable that the game asks the player to respond, that's where the game forces the player to either consider their own personal involvement as a player with a game, or makes them reflect about their reasons as characters in the story to be involved with what is happening - and the latter, to me, is at the heart of roleplaying as such.

 

Far as I'm concerned, few companies invest in the 'why' as deeply and thoroughly as Obsidian/Black Isle do and that's why their games are always on my radar. But likewise they do invest a fair bit on the what and the how, and I think that both Tyranny and Deadfire have in many ways tried to move even beyond some of their previous works in the genre to expand further the 'roleplaying' side of their games. I'll go ahead and touch on a few points and examples for the way both games treat the three above categories in each, with spoiler tags as obviously they'll involve as much.

 

1. What - variety of conclusions and action choices, reactivity and story divergences based on the same, "what do you do"

 

 

I'll start off by adressing one of the main complaints that I've seen levied at the game, which is the ending's alleged inflexibility. In the end, no matter what you say or what you do, Eothas still breaks the Wheel. This much is true... To an extent. The Wheel is still broken, yes, but by confronting Eothas you can still approach this destruction in several different ways *and* actively confront him in different manners. You can choose to fight him - no matter the ending that leads to, it is still a choice. You can choose to stand and watch. You can also try to talk him down, and upon this failing, you can try and convince him to give kith the tools or a leg up for finding a way through the crisis that ensues - here, to the best of my memory, you can make him offer his essence to strengthen that of different parties so that they may in a near future guide kith through the crisis, either at the hand of progress or tradition and so on. This is a relevant choice all the same, and as portrayed by the ending slides it marks a tangible change on how the game is ultimately resolved.

 

Likewise the faction you choose to ally yourself with, of which there are four, and at least two optional leaders within each of two different factions - on top of a possible independent run. Choosing to aid any of these in their respective quests and following their storylines, especially when the same conflict with that of other factions, leads to the player making choices that do affect the outcome and the setting on a short and long term. By the time you come to Eothas you could have followed one of *seven* major story divergences depending on which faction leader you chose to ally yourself with or not, and that is not considering many of the smaller decisions you make for each specific questline and so on, each which, to my understanding, strengthens the position of a faction related to the other (so that, if I'm not mistaken, a character like Queen Onekaza might ask you for a different final mission should the Vailian Trading Company have come out stronger from your choices than the Royal Deadfire Company or viceversa if you choose to ally with the Huana and so on). Each of these paths and divergences come to exist as both responses to your actions and choices your character has in how to approach the conflict at hand.

 

That is all looking at the general overview of course. If we look into each specific quest, then it's still hard to find quests which do *not* offer multiple solutions or conclusions to the same. To use some as examples, see for example the family feud between the Valeras and Bardattos. Already from the get-go, when you intervene in the duel between the younger men of both families you can dictate the outcome of the same and, possibly (though I cannot confirm as I have not seen the solution to this quest from the other sides), the stance between both families as well as, I would suspect, the condition for brokering a peace between the two if one chose to do as much. But one can deliberately piss on the idea of a peaceful resolution, or even deliberately instigate both families against one another. You can aid one of the young Valeras in carrying out a heist on the Bardatto vaults, or the Bardattos in setting up an ambush on the Valeras mid-heist. You can allegedly even instigate both sides into exterminating one another. The objective, as such, is remarkably flexible as is the outcome, and could suit several characters depending on how one chooses to roleplay them: a staunch supporter of an opposing factor could find an opportunity hear to undermine a competitor further, a character who wants to see the world burn or who shares a Skaenite view of the world and of the oppression of the upper class and so on could likewise follow such a path; a good-natured character or a supporter of the VTC could strive to find peace between both families to avoid further bloodshed, whilst a pirate or delinquent could see the Valera scheme as a good opportunity to make some money and, who knows, even double-cross the Valeras right after to keep all the stash yourself; a Bleak Walker could see a merit in the Bardatto's scheme to lure the Valeras into a trap as it would correspond to their merciless view of justice. These are but a few examples of roles that the given options could correspond to, and respond in more than a token fashion.

 

Other examples may include the questline involving Tikawara and Poko Kohara: initially you learn of two opposed factions each with a plan on how to approach the rumours of a pillar of luminous adra near the settlement, and so you are sent with two options, being to either clear the storms and return with corroboration that there is indeed a pillar that can be mined for luminous adra dust, or to effectively shut down the pillar in order to sabotage a potential source of finance for the other faction. Upon reaching to Tikawara the conflict gains another facet, which involves the fate of the settlement as a potential Vailian colony: some see profit in this whilst others see it as a potential invasion and surrender of their freedom and customs to their new settlers. To this you have yet another conflict added on top, regarding the storms surrounding Poko Kohara which prevent the settlement from self-sustaining through fishing and so on. As a player you can resolve this conflict in a few ways, and each presents a suitable shade of grey that makes no option ideal, and all options viable for a great variety of characters not necessarily tainted by a given moral compass or other. For starters, you can restore the pillar, put an end to the supernatural storms, and thus allow the Vailians to profit from mining the pillar; you can shut the pillar down and thus prevent the Vailians from mining it and also colonizing the settlement, but also preventing souls in the region from returning to the Wheel and moving to the Beyond and so on; or you can keep the storms active and the pillar intact, making the pillar unfit for mining without breaking the cycle of rebirth but also essentially dooming Tikawara in turn. And to add to all of this you can find the notes of the Vailian captain Beza, sent earlier by the VTC to find the location of the pillar, and who in her notes details the possibility of infusing adra with the souls of the Tikawarans - a diary that can be given to four or five people as far as I'm aware, and thus also adding yet another action that could affect the way in which you play the quest and your character in it.

 

There's many other examples of the same - you can look at the options given for how to deal with scarcity in the Gullet, how to deal with the feud between the slavers and Wahaki at Crookspur, what to do with the dragon trapped and feeding the Watershaper guild, how to deal with the underwater ruins and druid attacks at Sayuka, all this and more, each offering multiple alternatives to how to approach the same, which undoubtedly always open the game up for a wider spectrum of possibilities as to how to play the same. And more importantly is that, as mentioned above by hermamora, since the game strays from good and evil as absolute responses, in the end your choices of action fall down to what best reflects your character and not necessarily what is obviously the "right" choice. The "why" to choose either of these options is one that thus remains open and justifiable in ways that are more diverse than any game that would always specifically offer a good and evil conclusion. Every option that is offered as a possible course of action will always inevitably respond to a limited spectrum of characters - but if the moral intentions behind said action are abstract or open to interpretation, then the spectrum is more likely to be broader, and open for use by either good or evil characters, or characters who may strictly adhere to any given role. On the other hand, an unmistakably evil choice will always be an option to discard when playing a good character, thus limiting your choices as one should you play one (and vice-versa).

 

Tyranny is a pretty different beast in this regard, funny enough. Contrary to Pillars of Eternity as a franchise, the whole premise of Tyranny is deeply rooted in morality right from its "evil has won, and you are the villain" tagline. The game is precisely about your role as an agent within a fundamentally evil system, and the game revolves all around either basking in that evil, or finding a way to be *good* within a system that is so utterly rotten and which you helped create. I'll delve more into how morality is treated in the game later, but nevertheless it's worth pointing out that the game is right from the get-go deliberately designed as a branching narrative where each faction or lack of one offers a very different experience, and each 'region' you then choose to visit is a module of its own that eventually leads to the exclusion of another. I have myself issues with this game and with the way it railroads you into certain choices later on in the campaign, but these come once you've become committed to a path or faction, and leading up to this moment the game has a surprising amount of flexibility and choices as well, which do affect the world and ultimate outcome of the story. Choosing to ally oneself with the Chorus is a very different experience than allying with the Disfavoured which is in turn a very different experience than allying yourself with the Vendrien Guard, and even these can have very different outcomes depending on how they're played through.

 

 

[*WORK IN PROGRESS* will expand on the 'how' and 'why' aspects later, either tonight or tomorrow.]

Edited by algroth
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My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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This is the wrong place to post anything negative about Deadfire...

 

There are lots of guard dogs prevading the territory from any rational critique. You would be better off just giving it a negative review on Steam and GoG and disable comments.

Well, OP is giving an opinion on the game and probably wants to hear other opinions. That these opinions tend to be from people  who like the game shouldn't be surprising - because the majority of people who frequent this forum like the game. By calling them guard dogs you are devaluing their opinions. It seems that you like to see how everybody criticizes the game, but to what end? Nobody claims the game is perfect anyway.

 

Specifically one point that OP makes - that a game is not a RPG if you can't play evil in it is weak. What if I make the claim that a game is not a RPG if I can't play a crazy person in it. I am actually replaying BG 2 now and I imagine my hero is slowly going crazy because of the Irenicus experiments. Well, that's somewhat hard because all of my possible options in dialogues sound perfectly sane.

 

Deadfire gives an option to play evil though. And there are subtler things, which I like. In my playthrough I made evil things even though my character was supposed to be a good person. But I failed to get one faction's support and after that I didn't want to fail getting another faction's support, so I convinced myself that what they wanted me to do wasn't that bad or at least was justified... Which is how people do evil things in the real life.

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To play evil you only need murder ramdom guys of the game lol...


Currently Playing

 

 

  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Morrowind
  • Stardew Valley

 

 

 

Future Play

 

 

  • Deadfire
  • Oblivion
  • The Witcher

 

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I would say the last RDC quest is pretty evil. And half the stuff you can do has some sort of violent option.

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