Just fired up the beta for about an hour, and the feel of the game is spot on. I have to say, our boys at Obsidian are mighty brave letting out a chunk of the game this early. I'll avoid any criticism that is blatantly a result of a bug/need of polish, but some things I feel I need to point out. Overall the game is enjoyable.
I started up a monk. Because I love monks. Every RPG that has a monk gets bonus points. I also got to make him literally ON FIRE on character creation (Godlike is a pretty awesome race). Since class feedback is what the devs have requested the most, i'll write that up in a separate thread. Overall punching the crap out of things is very satisfying. As for some general things I noticed, here is a small list:
1. The art style is splendid. It very much feels like the old-school painted backgrounds, but with modern day bells and whistles. You can see heat waves off of the fire in the inn, the water ripples and you can see the grass blow. In alot of ways it feels familiar but also a step up from the graphics of the previous CRPG titles. Compared to how other recent CRPG releases have handled their art, I prefer Pillars over everything else I've seen.
2. Music and audio is a little lacking at the moment, but what's there is in the right direction. It's pretty typical high-fantasy, but it hits all the right notes.
3. Combat can be a little cluttered at times when everyone's in close. certain elements of the HUD kind of overlap the action and enemies and party members tend to stack very close to each other. I am hoping in the final product that the UI and player models are more separated from each other, as I fear it can be difficult to tell what is going on currently.
4. It was difficult to barter due to an issue where items "stick" onto your cursor. I can't really comment on the barter system as a result. I did notice that shops seem to have limited amounts of gold to buy/sell with. I am a huge fan of that. What if, by some miracle, PoE is the first CRPG to *not* have your player swimming in gold late in the game? I am still waiting for a game to handle economy in a way so that I'm forced to make choices on what to buy/sell.
5. The layout of the UI is pretty nice. There's quite a bit of it to manage, but with the current design it doesn't take up too much of the space but also is centered in a way that I could see all my options in front of me at all times. The only thing it is missing is tooltips. I really hope in the final product that if I hover over something, it gives me a brief reminder of what it does.
That's all I got right now. The game is looking real good guys. This is the first kickstarter I've backed that has made it this far into development, and it's just really exciting to be able to play it.
Keep up the great work!