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I'll try not to put any specific spoilers in this, but be warned, there might be spoilers.

 

I finished the game last night. Wow, Fantastic. Amazing. Better than the games it seeks to emulate, certainly. Maybe the best RPG I've ever played. Maybe the best game I've ever played.

 

I have a few negative comments. I wish there was a swap weapon set button. Otherwise the game feels very linear and the areas small. Maybe that's just the effect of resolutions changing, but both the cities feel smaller than similar ones from other games.

 

But the story and writing and plot were amazing. The late game reveals were masterful, and I'm in this period of retrospective, while I think about the consequences and implications and arrange all the parts so they fit.  It's a delight to deal with it, to have a new playground to think in, because the work is so cohesive. It would really be interesting to hear some of the devs talk about the themes and ideas represented in this piece. It seems like much of the work of Obsidian has this "will to power" sort of Nietzscheanism driving it, which is great consider how much of a power fantasy video games are. I wouldn't say Pillars is primarily about this, but you catch glimpses of it in reflections-- certainly enough to know it's in the room. This makes it all more beautiful. The sheer depth of things not directly said inspires awe.

 

And I sit in anticipation of the future too. There is a story hinted at in the conclusion. The final moments of the game drops a world changing piece of information, but doesn't do anything with it. Will that be the central theme of a PoE saga? Originally, I said I would like different characters to broaden the setting, but now I would like to see this story to it's conclusion.

 

This is a beautiful masterpiece: dark and rich.  The game gives us a lot of knowledge without telling us what to think about it. Thank you for that. As a thinker, I celebrate the terrible depth of this deceptively still pond.

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I also greatly enjoyed the game, but the greatest game ever? Not in my opinion. I felt a huge quality drop when you got to twin elms. If they had kept the content and quality at the level of everything before that, I would totally agree with you. But as it stands, I'm rather conflicted. But I already posted my thoughts - minutes after I finished the game - earlier this weekend.

 

As for the Nietzschean theme, I didn't really get a specific Nietzsche vibe. Then again, his work is very open for interpretation. A general Existentialism-light theme however, I could agree on. Then again, there where quite a few religious en philosophical themes that passed the review. The existential way of thinking does however seem to be the most prevalent - but that might just be my personal interpretation and personal preference speaking. 

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I think the whole idea of animancy lends itself to Nietzscheanism. It's more than bringing stuff back from the dead. All of the powers for all the classes are fuelled by channelled soul energy. It's all a projection of the will of the user, which is interesting, because resolve seems like one of the most powerful stats for conversations. In this world, your will can literally be used to shape reality. That's a pretty Nietzschean view.

 

But as you say, personal interpretation is influential. I have focused on philosophy dealing with the application of power, as part of my studies. So perhaps I'm just seeing myself reflected and though I was looking at myself again. So to speak.

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The existentialist aspect is most certainly prevalent. Too prevalent. It ruined the story for me, in combination with other factors. When I finished the first side-character story (Kana), I though to myself: "let me guess, all of these long and ambitious quests by these dudes will reveal nothing at all because the writer had a thing about existentialist". Bingo. The story should not have been that predictable.

 

@Verenti: you mentioned animancy linked to existentialism. It is much more linked to Hare Krishna and Spiritism. Animancy proves that it is not an individual's will that shapes reality. But it is an outer force that affects his soul in relation to how he lived his previous life.

 

There is a pseudo science vs. religion discussion that does not make sense at all, because the gods actually have godly powers in the game. And animancy, which is supposed to be the science side, actually proves the supernatural.

 

It feels as though there is a pervasive real-world influence of an atheism vs. religion debate influence in the game, which is is, quite frankly, a disappointment, because it is just the fad of the current times to praise atheism.  Good stories are timeless. Think Planescape: Torment. That game was a better example of what you were saying about power and reality.

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The existentialist aspect is most certainly prevalent. Too prevalent. It ruined the story for me, in combination with other factors. When I finished the first side-character story (Kana), I though to myself: "let me guess, all of these long and ambitious quests by these dudes will reveal nothing at all because the writer had a thing about existentialist". Bingo. The story should not have been that predictable.

 

@Verenti: you mentioned animancy linked to existentialism. It is much more linked to Hare Krishna and Spiritism. Animancy proves that it is not an individual's will that shapes reality. But it is an outer force that affects his soul in relation to how he lived his previous life.

 

There is a pseudo science vs. religion discussion that does not make sense at all, because the gods actually have godly powers in the game. And animancy, which is supposed to be the science side, actually proves the supernatural.

 

It feels as though there is a pervasive real-world influence of an atheism vs. religion debate influence in the game, which is is, quite frankly, a disappointment, because it is just the fad of the current times to praise atheism.  Good stories are timeless. Think Planescape: Torment. That game was a better example of what you were saying about power and reality.

Anamancy feels more like an argument about ethics. Anamancers in the game tend to be outright evil gits raising undead and torturing people. But the science itself can lead togood things. I felt more resonant with the struggle at wether the benefit of anamancy outweighed the cost of having a bunch of looneys run around torturing for science.

 

The religion thing is less atheism and more intollerance. The religious folk are all running around murdering whatever group the religion decides they don't like today. A decade ago it was eothosians, now it is anamancers. In a few years they'll find another group to hate and attempt genocide against. 

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Except for when the tree ladies inform you that the Gods aren't "real" in a sense,  It's entirely possible that the "watcher's" perception of reality is being manipulated throughout ;)  My favorite theme of all.  Downright Cartesian! Evil Daemons bro 4 realz

Edited by Gallenger
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The existentialist aspect is most certainly prevalent. Too prevalent. It ruined the story for me, in combination with other factors. When I finished the first side-character story (Kana), I though to myself: "let me guess, all of these long and ambitious quests by these dudes will reveal nothing at all because the writer had a thing about existentialist". Bingo. The story should not have been that predictable.

 

@Verenti: you mentioned animancy linked to existentialism. It is much more linked to Hare Krishna and Spiritism. Animancy proves that it is not an individual's will that shapes reality. But it is an outer force that affects his soul in relation to how he lived his previous life.

 

There is a pseudo science vs. religion discussion that does not make sense at all, because the gods actually have godly powers in the game. And animancy, which is supposed to be the science side, actually proves the supernatural.

 

It feels as though there is a pervasive real-world influence of an atheism vs. religion debate influence in the game, which is is, quite frankly, a disappointment, because it is just the fad of the current times to praise atheism.  Good stories are timeless. Think Planescape: Torment. That game was a better example of what you were saying about power and reality.

Anamancy feels more like an argument about ethics. Anamancers in the game tend to be outright evil gits raising undead and torturing people. But the science itself can lead togood things. I felt more resonant with the struggle at wether the benefit of anamancy outweighed the cost of having a bunch of looneys run around torturing for science.

 

The religion thing is less atheism and more intollerance. The religious folk are all running around murdering whatever group the religion decides they don't like today. A decade ago it was eothosians, now it is anamancers. In a few years they'll find another group to hate and attempt genocide against. 

 

 Those are good points. Except the story is not steered to thinking and making decisions about these things. The the main story sequence requires you to approve of animancy and decide is wrong to tell people that gods exist. There is no option 2. There is no decision-making and impact on your character or the world. 

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I saw the story, and thank you for explicitly posting spoilers, to be more about the power of creation and what limitations should exist, when natural limits cease to exist. Clearly, there is a strong drive for theology as an ethical limiter in the plot. One of the main themes, I believe was the destructiveness of absolute truth. People didn't kill the Eothasians because their religion. They killed them because they thought they had an absolute understanding of their reality. Doubt tempers belief, because one can't be so quick to act in the absence of that assurance. Which is why Thaos supports the gods, because being assured at the non-existence (which is a funny thing to say, because the god do *exist* in this world, they simply aren't natural beings,) of the gods is more dangerous than the assurance of the existence of the gods.

 

In this way, it could be seen as a debate on democracy, as much as anything else. It's easy to point at relgion and athiesm, but that's monumentally lazy. That's what it superficially has on the tin, but what do these elements represent? What are their components? In the end, I suppose it matters little. Thing like this are less about what the author(s) writes and more what is gained from an understanding of the writing, like Kana and his tablet. I think this just proves how lovely this broken glass is.

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I saw the story, and thank you for explicitly posting spoilers, to be more about the power of creation and what limitations should exist, when natural limits cease to exist. Clearly, there is a strong drive for theology as an ethical limiter in the plot. One of the main themes, I believe was the destructiveness of absolute truth. People didn't kill the Eothasians because their religion. They killed them because they thought they had an absolute understanding of their reality. Doubt tempers belief, because one can't be so quick to act in the absence of that assurance. Which is why Thaos supports the gods, because being assured at the non-existence (which is a funny thing to say, because the god do *exist* in this world, they simply aren't natural beings,) of the gods is more dangerous than the assurance of the existence of the gods.

 

In this way, it could be seen as a debate on democracy, as much as anything else. It's easy to point at relgion and athiesm, but that's monumentally lazy. That's what it superficially has on the tin, but what do these elements represent? What are their components? In the end, I suppose it matters little. Thing like this are less about what the author(s) writes and more what is gained from an understanding of the writing, like Kana and his tablet. I think this just proves how lovely this broken glass is.

The story as you saw could have been very good. The problem for me is at the end, those choices are not present. That thins both your character and Thaos down to "good guy" and "bad guy". And one option as good (telling the people that the gods are false) and another is bad (not telling). The dialog options boil down to that! I did not feel like the game made a choice for me until that point. I felt I could have played my character in a completely selfish manner if I wanted to up to that point. Good stories come from good spherical characters. The characters and the story fell flat at the end. There is no "debate" as you put it.

 

As to religion vs. atheism, it is not me who is seeing it lazily. It is the flat Thaos character vs. the flat Watcher / Ivonara characters explicit disagreement put in by the writer that motivated everything you did in the game. The game's ending does not do it justice.

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probably some [spoilers] ahead:

 

I don't really see it as a atheism vs. religion. If something feels, smells, looks and has the power of a god, isn't it simply a god? For me it was more about the regulation/freedom of information - what should the 'common' people know about and what is better kept secret?

I don't know. The game at points didn't have the decision-choices I would have made (especially in the talks at the end of the game) and/or choices lacked impact on the game(world). I also ended with like 4points (or more) in rationalism. I don't however feel like I made all that rational choices.

 

As for the whole animancy thing. It felt like a technological/psychological ethics thing. I felt animancers where, in general, a bit too evil though, which probably skewed my decision making somewhat. Also, as said before, the 'big baddie' wants to stop all animancy, so the choices are partially made for you.

 

Overall I liked the themes. If however, you start to think about the choices too seriously, the underlying logical structure(s) unravels - at least that's how I felt.

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I also greatly enjoyed the game, but the greatest game ever? Not in my opinion. I felt a huge quality drop when you got to twin elms. If they had kept the content and quality at the level of everything before that, I would totally agree with you. But as it stands, I'm rather conflicted. But I already posted my thoughts - minutes after I finished the game - earlier this weekend.

I actually think its nice how there were less quests in act 3 <_< It would have been tiring and slow pacing if by act 3 we would have as much time wasting as in Defiant Bay...

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probably some [spoilers] ahead:

 

I don't really see it as a atheism vs. religion. If something feels, smells, looks and has the power of a god, isn't it simply a god? For me it was more about the regulation/freedom of information - what should the 'common' people know about and what is better kept secret?

I don't know. The game at points didn't have the decision-choices I would have made (especially in the talks at the end of the game) and/or choices lacked impact on the game(world). I also ended with like 4points (or more) in rationalism. I don't however feel like I made all that rational choices.

 

As for the whole animancy thing. It felt like a technological/psychological ethics thing. I felt animancers where, in general, a bit too evil though, which probably skewed my decision making somewhat. Also, as said before, the 'big baddie' wants to stop all animancy, so the choices are partially made for you.

 

Overall I liked the themes. If however, you start to think about the choices too seriously, the underlying logical structure(s) unravels - at least that's how I felt.

Exactly. My point is not that the story itself is not interesting, but how they pretend you have a choice and that what you did mattered to you or the world in a very cheap way. 

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