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Wow. So is the general consensus that the game falls short of expectations?

 

That obviously depends on one's expectations. I find it to be quite enjoyable, but it's not substantially (or perhaps at all) better than PoE1, and it's not as engaging as the true classic of the genre. Having to choose between this and Neverwinter Nights, I'd definitely choose this, but having to choose between this and BG2, I'd just as definitely choose BG2.

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A couple of personal thoughts about the subject at hand based on my experience during my single playthrough so far...

 

 

So, I have to agree that there is something odd about Deadfire when measured up to the first Pillars, and yet I don't think it's necessarily a worse game. But for some reason I feel Deadfire works better as a general spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate II than it does as an actual sequel to the first game. One of the things that drew me in about the first Pillars was the time dedicated to exploring and debating its themes and the way the writing never really failed to invoke the sheer otherworldliness of the stranger and more extraphysical encounters you'd come across as both a Watcher and someone who had direct communication with the gods in more than a few occasions; the setting and encounters all felt in service of a central idea or collection of ideas and generally the experience as a whole felt rather harmonious and 'meaningful' because of it (even if it did stumble on occasions due to excessive exposition and so on). Deadfire, on the other hand, seems a lot more scattershot and nebulous regarding whatever idea may be guiding the whole of it, and doesn't seem nearly as concerned with exploring and debating the series' themes as the first game even though ultimately it does sort of follow a similar thread as its predecessor, what with the game being ultimately also about the shift from a more theocentric hierarchy to a more anthropocentric one and so on, but also having this whole other colonialist conflict that seems far removed from that central thread, and then wacky hijinks involving pirates and undead ports and Nemnok and a mechanized dragon and whatnot which is all a ton of fun but fluffy and silly in a way nothing in the first game came across as. And those moments that would recall the sort of otherworldliness of the first game are, on the other hand, a mixed bag. Generally speaking I got the same impression I did of the best moments of Pillars with most of what directly related to Eothas, but then the conferences with the gods felt by and large extremely mundane and banal and fed to that impression I got throughout that many of the gods came across as caricatures of how they appeared in the first game. To this extent I recall SuperBunnyhop saying something along the lines of feeling the world of Eora was cheapened by the sequel and he then placed the possible blame on the absence of Chris Avellone, and whilst I wouldn't go as far with either accusation I do get where he's coming from, because the end result does feel a lot less cohesive and ideas-driven than its predecessor, and it feels like it's missing the voice of a writer who like Avellone or Ziets has a real affinity for that kind of writing and for highlighting the weirder and more oneiric accents in any one scene.

 

Having said all of this I don't think the writing as a whole is necessarily worse, and as far as I'm concerned there's a lot of elements where it heavily improves over the first game. It just feels awkward as a continuation of Pillars to me because what made Pillars distinctly special I do feel is handled worse. And yet, compared to something like Baldur's Gate II I cannot rightly say it isn't actively improving in many of the core elements that made that game great, and capturing that feel really well. So for me the quest design in this game is pretty stunning throughout and I'm very impressed at the sheer amount of options and clever twists presented in each of these, for one I don't think I've ever had this much fun stealthing around in a game of its ilk and part of that is how the game also responds and actively encourages you to do as much (see Fort Deadlight and Arkemyr's Manor as two examples of really great quests that find a lot of details and clever challenges and twists to attempting to play in this fashion). I love how the game also winds up creating this sense of causality to your actions by how it ties several of these quests and tasks into larger narrative threads - so, to use Arkemyr's example again, you hear a pair of characters arguing about an important text to Huana/Rauataian culture, which opens up the quest to try and acquire it from within the Manor, and to get into the manor you proceed to meet with Fassina who herself will help you if you help her out on a task regarding a set of gloves her lover stole from the shop, which upon dealing with and then managing to get the tome you are called back by Arkemyr *himself* which leads to another quest to find the hidden research of a diseased mage, which ends up with the cliffhanger that will likely segue into the Forgotten Sanctum DLC. That's great, I love it, and it all adds a heck of a lot to making the world feel reactive and alive, and invite the player into losing themselves into these grand side adventures.

 

 

For me the fun of the Baldur's Gate games came more from how the game immersed me into its world and less about how it engaged me through its themes and directly made me a participant in whatever debate it was willing to have. The latter is the experience of a game like Pillars, or like Torment or Mask of the Betrayer for other examples, and I love that because I feel it's a distinctly "Obsidian" experience within the broader videogame scene today, as far as I've played at least. Deadfire doubles down on the former aspect and executes it brilliantly but I feel that in some way the latter isn't as present or as successful as it was with its predecessor(s) and in that I can't help feel a little disappointment.

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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@algorth well said I agree 100, but the spoiler!!!!  Noooooo!!!!!  I haven't got that far .... also who is Chris Avellone?? jk

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“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

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@algroth A very nice write-up, and I agree. I must add the Junvik-Memnok questline as my personal highlight, with Arkemyr's Manor and all of its twists and turns as #2.

 

I still find that PoE1 has a more distinct Obsidian stamp on it, regarding atmosphere and story branches, whereas Deadfire feels much more incoherent and disparate. Things don't interweave together organically. It's almost as if the factions are too much Factions, and the archipelago, too much Archipelago, and the pantheon too much Pantheon, and the theme of colonialism too much Colonialism.

 

Also, something that you don't touch upon is the vast amount of changes done to classes, spells, abilities, the combat system, going from the "matured" final patches PoE1 to Deadfire.

The comparison is perhaps unfair, but I found the variety and strategy involved in PoE combat to be more fun and engrossing (as in "I wanna try a new type of character build or a new difficulty challenge") than Deadfire, where I could win almost any encounter just by selecting all party members (plus summons, if any,) then either press attack or have them on scripted AI, and here I'm talking PotD. Since I played Deadfire, I've had the pleasure of playing a few NWN1 mods, and also the first act of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and what that at least shows me is this: Classes, abilities, stats, and items, etc - they matter more and they give you sense of actual difference to how you do combat, how you try to overcome enemies in an encounter (despite most of the encounter design being even simpler than what we saw in Deadfire). The conclusion I draw from this is that the CRPG system, with the combat system as an integrated whole, is lacking in Deadfire, nearly to the point that it's there for show ("as if"). I want my choices when building a character to mean more, I want my tactics during combat to mean more. And in this department, I reckon Deadfire can do much better. 

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Wow. So is the general consensus that the game falls short of expectations?

It exceeded my expectations in graphics, music, humor, itemization, multiclassing, and adventuring.

 

It disappointed in the writing, lack of character and worldly reactions, anything and everything related to the Gods (preDLC) and the #1, not being to have deeper discussions with companions and the Gods, but rather the same dialogue choices resulting in the same decisions.

 

Overall I do love the game but it is a bit inconsistent.

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@algorth well said I agree 100, but the spoiler!!!!  Noooooo!!!!!  I haven't got that far .... also who is Chris Avellone?? jk

 

Ouch, sorry! I though I was being general enough to not really spoil anything. Hid the bulk of my post.


My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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It exceeded my expectations in graphics, music, humor .

 

 

These three I can definitely agree with.    S-o   v-e-r-y   g-o-o-d  !

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Algroth seems to have said everything that needs to be said, but I'd like to add that the DLC thus far show that they've been hearing the complaints: BoW in particular is a CPRG gem, excepting perhaps asking Rymrgand why he's a jerk (and even that's in character for some people). Way better handling of the gods, the overarching plot and overall deeper writing in my opinion, and combat is actually challenging.

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Also, something that you don't touch upon is the vast amount of changes done to classes, spells, abilities, the combat system, going from the "matured" final patches PoE1 to Deadfire.

The comparison is perhaps unfair, but I found the variety and strategy involved in PoE combat to be more fun and engrossing (as in "I wanna try a new type of character build or a new difficulty challenge") than Deadfire, where I could win almost any encounter just by selecting all party members (plus summons, if any,) then either press attack or have them on scripted AI, and here I'm talking PotD. Since I played Deadfire, I've had the pleasure of playing a few NWN1 mods, and also the first act of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and what that at least shows me is this: Classes, abilities, stats, and items, etc - they matter more and they give you sense of actual difference to how you do combat, how you try to overcome enemies in an encounter (despite most of the encounter design being even simpler than what we saw in Deadfire). The conclusion I draw from this is that the CRPG system, with the combat system as an integrated whole, is lacking in Deadfire, nearly to the point that it's there for show ("as if"). I want my choices when building a character to mean more, I want my tactics during combat to mean more. And in this department, I reckon Deadfire can do much better. 

 

So... Since I began streaming on Twitch last year I've played through the following RPGs as per the following order: Tyranny, Transistor (if it qualifies), Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3, Baldur's Gate II, Deadfire, and currently Neverwinter Nights 2 (Mask of the Betrayer at the moment). Of all of these... Actually Pillars stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of my experience with combat, and Deadfire even in its release form is likely second. Thing is, though, I can't really tell if Deadfire is worse because of any changes implemented to the core mechanics, or if it's simply that the encounters were generally too easy and made combat fairly straight-forward as a consequence. I had the same issue with Tyranny too - mechanically it all by and large feels good and comfortable but at the same time there's nothing that was really challenging enough to push my standard approach to every fight, so it became more of an autopilot spamfest, but whether that's the issue of sheer mechanics or encounter design, I don't know but I'm honestly leaning more on the latter, primarily at least. I think Pillars was definitely better in this regard inasmuch as not only did combat feel good and fun (at least in the latest versions of the game), but were also challenging enough to really force one to consider their strategies and also enhance the story by essentially showing that whatever big bad you were facing at any given time were actually genuinely fearsome. I still recall the first time I faced the two Eyeless at Adaryc's camp, I died six times before I could scrape my way past the encounter, and to then be immediately met with a vision of *hundreds* of these, well... That's scary. There was no such enhancement to be had in Deadfire, sure I wiped a couple of times but with a few tweaks in my strategy that was that. But on the plus side there was nothing that grated the way the worst aspects of combat in the IE games, Tides of Numenera or, gods, Transistor or Neverwinter Nights 2 did, so it was all passable enough for me.

 

The other thing is, I'm not the kind of player who enjoys combat in general all that much, at least not in RPGs. I don't mind it and I certainly like a good, challenging fight, but it's not gonna be an aspect that'll typically sway me one way or the other about a game too strongly. In this regard I far prefer dialogue encounters, puzzles, and other alternative forms of gameplay to straight-out combat. So when I'm given a game like Deadfire where I can actually stealth my way across entire dungeons and actually arrive to neat little encounters and details that recognize this sort of choice on my behalf, that's even better for me. Gameplay-wise I can only really wish the combat to be harder, regarding Deadfire, but that's just combat, i.e. one aspect of gameplay, and to be honest I think that as a whole, what with the stealth system and approach to scripted interactions and ship mechanics and sheer plethora of action choices and quest paths and so on, the game did a great job.

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My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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I'm like everything you said and a combat nerd as far as tabletop PnP and computer RPGs go, and even worse, I'm a grinder and something of a masochist in this context, expecting and appreciating grating resistance and quite the degree of frustration and disadvantage on behalf of my party. I want to get crushed and die (although not over and over ad nauseam), and get back at it, using new tactics and approaches, if needed or if I feel like it. It certainly is a weird taste, and an acquired one at that. As you can tell, I really like a game like ToEE, for instance, while Tides of Numenera was pretty hideous, and the combat system in Sword Coast Legends almost an affront.

This means, combat is more than just one aspect of gameplay to me in a CRPG, for the most part, but it's not something sacred, not even for its replayability (as long as the game provides me with sufficient reasons do play it all differently yet again).

Deadfire was great as a casual party-combat-clicking-come-along, speaking here of the very early build, I haven't played it any later, since I'm patiently await all the DLCs and balance patches, before I get back to it. In a way, that's a quality in itself. No pressure, you get to enjoy the rest without to much worry about how your build your characters and how you conduct yourself during all your encounters. But usually, and pretty soon, in my case, I begin to wish for more: combat that challenges me and my party that I've assembled. And it is there I reckon PoE1 was much more on par with at least NWN2 OC, whereas the systems in Deadfire really hadn't infused/brewed long enough, to really satisfy my taste in CRPG combat, a taste hopelessly lopsided towards D&D in its various iterations, so I'm a tough customer, set in my ways.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Deadfire I think gets close to POE1 when the difficulty is right, because it's similar enough & the fundamental mechanics are there. But even when thinking of individual battles in a vacuum, Deadfire loses the resource management aspect because you're spamming active abilities all the time.

 

Tyranny features a stripped-down, dumbed-down system that is never going to present the kind of tactical puzzles that POE or IE games can (even though they aren't exactly tactical masterpieces either). Then it is exacerbated by incredibly easy difficulty and cooldowns. Try playing Tyranny on Hard or even POTD with any decently built party - half the time I realised I could just sit there, push random buttons when I felt like it, or not, push the big shiny buttons when they glow, and the screen will just show a bunch of incoherent explosions before it's all over.

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The chief reason Deadfire's combat was easy, especially right at release, was because spells were not rebalanced to reflect their ability to be spammed. This is why one of the first changes in the game's patch history was a broad nerf of numerous abilities.

 

And this nerf is why spells now lack a lot of the drama and why combat feels rather un-engaging, imo. But they had to be nerfed given the core ruleset.

 

Think about the difference in Baldur's Gate when something simple like say a ghoul sucessfully gets off a hold person effect on one of your characters? Much more dramatic, a true hold person spell on several of your toons from an enemy cleric? Heck, even original Pillars had dramatic stuns and paralysis in the White March.

 

Contrast that with paralyzed or stunned in Deadfire. A lot less dramatic.

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My thoughts? To what exactly? Why you didnt enjoy a second play through? No idea mate.

 

Maybe its you.

 

 

Maybe it is me, mate.

That's why I figured I'd post - see if others gave POEII a second play through and did not find it as engaging.

 

 

Wow. So is the general consensus that the game falls short of expectations?

 

I don't think anyone is saying that (well, maybe someone is, somewhere, but everyone in this thread, including me, all seem to be saying we enjoyed POEII - and a few, like me, though enjoying it, found a few things off about it).

 

Now, there's no way it falls short of expectations (for me), or else I wouldn't have bothered with a second play through attempt. I will say I talked about the first Pillars of Eternity more than I did the second one to co-workers and such. Perhaps because the entire world was brand new so I was rambling about the cool things I had discovered. It's like a band who releases their first album, and it's amazing; but their following albums never match up, perhaps because you're familiar with their sound, and it's not "new."

 

I loved Pillars of Eternity II, immensely so. The first time I played it, I was literally coming home, eating dinner, then playing until I fell asleep at the keyboard. This is what I did with the first Pillars of Eternity, as well, once I got into it. The first one, however, I did several different plays (making different choices). I am merely saying the second time I played Pillars of Eternity II, I didn't seem to be enjoying it as much as the first time (or even equally as much as my additional play-throughs of the original). I am in no way knocking the game - it's amazing. Plain and simple. Even with all the changes to the game. I still enjoyed it. I just didn't get into the replay of it. Which is common in many games, really.

 

 

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Soooo...I just bought an Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop (wow, what a mouthful). And Pillars 2 looks INCREDIBLE. I'm running it maxed it. Great looking game. One of the most noticeable differences I noticed is the darkness. It's much more foreboding.

Edited by Verde

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