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So I finished playing PoE this weekend and thought to leave some of my impressions here. Perhaps you had a similar -- or different -- experience, or one of the developer is interested in how their game works for a random gamer out there. I will discuss four topics: story/writing/companions, gameplay/mechanics, graphics/art/animations/environments and music/sound.

There will be no real spoilers, but if you have not played or finished playing PoE yet, you might want to make up your own opinion before reading this.

Story -- Writing -- Lore -- Companions

Let me say this: The writing in PoE is really, really, really great! I did not had a game with writing on this level for a very long time. It might even be that the last one was Baldur's Gate itself. There are many interesting philosophical and psychological hints and remarks throughout many of the conversions. The presentation of some of the more central discussions is combined with visual and audio effects which increase immersion and involvement a lot. I really like that many of the characters have a diverse personality and can not be clearly judged as good or evil. Also no grammar and spelling errors (opposite of this text). This paragraph seems small, but the writing really was the one outstanding thing making the whole game very special for me! Congratulations to all people involved!

The story itself is also very good. SPOILERS: The main villain is excellent and carries most of the story. He might have used a right and a left hand though. This could have been a great opportunity to portrait different views on the world order he tries to establish. I like a story structure where you have a grasp on who is behind all of this, but first you need to go through a bunch of other guys who are interesting in themselves. Some of them are acting on there own behalf, while others are linked to the main villain. The game is a bit too long for **** to carry it all.

There is one thing which I was missing a bit. Some of the events and conflicts which happen right now, like the hollowborn or the conflict between settlers and natives, are mainly presented in text. They can not really be seen in the world itself. As an example: hollowborn children are one of the central problems in the world. Yet, there never is a random encounter with a suffering family and a child which is about to go insane and attack everyone. I was missing theses little cutscenes a lot, they would have been a great way to manifest the story in the gameworld itself.

I like the lore around the game a lot. The eternal cycle of souls, their take on necromancy, the small science elements -- all well thought through. Some of the names are a bit confusing to me. Why call it fampyre and not vampire? Primordial, wilder, pwgra -- too strange for me. Additionally, sometimes I was not sure I got everything from the background story. Still not completely sure who killed whom and why during that Saint's war of Eder. Perhaps that was intended.

Last but not least a word about companions. I played with Aloth, Eder, Kana and Durance, and can only talk for them. Overall they felt a bit blank, and there quests where a bit short and could have been embedded in the world better. My personal favourite of these four was Eder -- his uncomplicated nature was somehow aimable. I really liked the thing with Aloth's personality, but felt it should have had more room or impact on the game. Like giving him a special skill he can use in combat. His other thing was in my eyes not very well played out... Kana was a nice guy, but nothing special. Durance has quite a personality, but he was a bit annoying. He delivered the killing blow(s) in the final fight though -- I have to give him that.

Graphics/Art -- Animations -- Environment/World

The graphics in this game are really very close to the original IE games. And this is an understatement as graphics are of course much better than those of Baldur's Gate & Co, but they still feel the same. Theses old games were played in 640 and 800 and today I play in 2560 and it looks great. The art style is probably a personal thing, but I really like it. It is neither too dark nor to colorful. Weather effects and day/night cycle are a nice bonus which increase immersion. There are many different areas in the game and they all look brilliant and have a love for little details. Sometimes, especially when you look on the map, it is apparent that many dungeon maps are layed out in a very orthogonal way with clear straight dungeon boundary lines. Some more organic layouts would have been cool. Some effect textures seem to have a really low resolution, like the lightning from the returning lightning spell or the glowing lamps in the final level -- perhaps that is a bug.

One thing which bothered me was the occlusion of my characters by walls and trees. I love to fight near doorways and most of the time my party was occluded by a wall. Fading out the walls or trees around party members would have really been a nice feature.

Animations are generally good and smooth, but the game could have really used more variety. Watching a whole party walk from one end of the map to another, all in perfect synchronization with the same walk animation looks a bit silly. Especially because the large and massive Aumaua have the same animation as the small Orlans. This seems to be true for walking, idle, holding weapons, attacking, etc.

One of my biggest criticism is with respect to the general environments. While maps look beautiful, they are lifeless. I miss small random critters like birds, dogs and rats. A sewer without rats, oO... I miss random homes which you can enter to search for loot at night, with homeowners who threaten you with the city guard. People are not going home at night to sleep in their beds. They are not even sitting down on a chair... Most of the people stand still at one location for the whole game.

Gameplay -- Mechanics -- UI -- Stronghold

PoE is a game and not only interactive story telling, so let's look at the gameplay. The combat and RPG system is different from the original IE games, but not by much. Sometimes I have the impression, that every number is just multiplied by 5. Which is a thing I do not like. This is perhaps personal, but I can grasp smaller numbers better. Having a sword +1, with +2 very rare, and +3 only on five weapons in the game, somehow feels more empowering than +4, +8 and +12 with some random +5 and +6.

The combat itself is in general tactical and fun. I played on hard and used pause a lot, which I really like. I would have wished for a hold position button for my front-line fighters. Too often they left a perfectly calculated chokepoint to run heads on in some environmental hazard created by my spellcasters opening up the line of defense. Spirits were really annoying as they did not care at all about the engagement mechanics, but I found ways... Some of the larger more difficult fights were plagued by too much randomness. For example I needed like 10 attempts on the final big fight, until my two paralyzes went through spell defense and suddenly everything changed from super hard to easy. That fight with the green dragon was also very frustrating as he just insta-kills everyone...

I like the UI in general. A good old inventory, a nice character sheet with numbers, statistics, etc. The thing with the portraits was a bit difficult, as its hard to find one for the main character. The global stash thing is nice, though I missed a "sort by value" button and would of course have preferred to call it "stash of holding" ;) I found it a bit annoying that amulets and capes share the same inventory slot.

I did not quite get the stronghold thing. It was nice cleaning it up and building something. But in the end it was two lists with little impact on the game itself. It would have been nice to present it in form of holding court in a council room. I could not find a pattern behind the taxes, or the people you can hire. My hold got overrun by skeletons even though I had defense of ~18 and six hired people -- so what is the point? The warden and bounty thing was a positive exception.

Music -- Sound

I do not understand much of music, so take my remarks with a grain of salt. In general I liked the soundtrack, though after some 40 hours of game the music was too repetitive. A longer and a bit more diverse soundtrack would have really paid out here. In my opinion, music is one of the most important things in RPG computer games. A very positive example is Skyrim: after some time I realized that I am just playing to hear the awesome soundtrack. Not sure if the whole soundtrack of PoE was recorded with a live Orchestra (I saw a remark in the credits), but sometimes the music felt a bit flat and artificial. Music and ambient sound could have made a create difference to give some of the areas even more personality. One thing I liked was the close interaction of music and story in some of the story cutscenes.

Regarding sound effects: They do their job, but there were some blatant oversights. Why do ranger companions do not make a sound? My damn bear was fighting and dieing hundreds of time and did not give a single grunt. That was really sad... Same is true for many other creatures in the world. I felt that the budget for sound effects was way too small.

Summary

TL;DR Overall a great game with great writing and only smaller issues. Congratulations to pulling it off and reviving the IE RPG game area. I hope you will find the energy and financial capabilities to make an even better sequel!


Edit: Avoided potential spoilers.

Edited by Danvil
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if you found the encounters fun , or found combat to be tactical, I don't know what to say

Edited by Luj1

"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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I am still waiting for Sensuki's review.

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  After my realization that White March has the same XP reward problem, I don't even have the drive to launch game anymore because I hated so much reaching Twin Elms with a level cap in vanilla PoE that I don't wish to relive that experience.

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Sensuki has written a number of long posts about the game over at RPGCodex. He seems to dislike everything about it!

 

I also find the encounters fun and the combat tactical -- which I expect is because I'm the worst.


DID YOU KNOW: *Missing String*

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if you found the encounters fun , or found combat to be tactical, I don't know what to say

 

So don't bother saying anything. He enjoyed the game as many of us did. Keep your bitterness to yourself.

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if you found the encounters fun , or found combat to be tactical, I don't know what to say

 

Maybe "I am glad you were able to derive enjoyment from a feature I hate so much I cannot stop harping on it" or simply "good for you"?

 

Thanks for taking the time to leave some solid constructive criticism, Danvil.

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Alarm! Chaotic evil detected. You revealed the name of main antagonist and companion's secret. :>

 

Anyway, many good points.  I must agree with this:

 

"Sometimes, especially when you look on the map, it is apparent that many dungeon maps are layed out in a very orthogonal way with clear straight dungeon boundary lines. Some more organic layouts would have been cool. "

 

"This is perhaps personal, but I can grasp smaller numbers better. Having a sword +1, with +2 very rare, and +3 only on five weapons in the game, somehow feels more empowering than +4, +8 and +12 with some random +5 and +6."

 

"after some 40 hours of game the music was too repetitive. A longer and a bit more diverse soundtrack would have really paid out here. In my opinion, music is one of the most important things in RPG computer games. "

 

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if you found the encounters fun , or found combat to be tactical, I don't know what to say

 

Why do you feel the need to spread your bs on a forum of a game you clearly hate?  Go do something else with your life.

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So don't bother saying anything. He enjoyed the game as many of us did. Keep your bitterness to yourself.

Maybe "I am glad you were able to derive enjoyment from a feature I hate so much I cannot stop harping on it" or simply "good for you"?

Why do you feel the need to spread your bs on a forum of a game you clearly hate?  Go do something else with your life.

 

 

 

You guys are clueless and have awfully low RPG standards , and I'm gonna show you why.

 

 

1) PoE has no encounter design like I said

 

 

During most battles you just send a tank to engage their melee fighters and have the rest of the party attack them. You rarely face anything that requires a different tactic. There's no swarm of weak enemies to overwhelm your tank, no ogres doing a pincer attack inside a tight corridor, no archers in hard-to-reach places , battles inside traps, NOTHING! The only ambush you'll face the entire game is in the tutorial!

 

Battles in PoE are  memorable due to their context (a lone powerful bear early in game, a big dragon, another big dragon, assaulting a fortress) and not for actual interesting fights. Most of them are just frontal fights with a straightforward approach , which brings us to point two below...

 

 

 

2) laughable "tactical" combat

 

 

 

a) either you are in open areas where you must protect your squishy characters, or

b) you are in tight areas where you block the chokepoint with your tank, while the rest of the party chugs spells and ranged attacks

 

 

The peak of this amazing "tactical" combat are teleporting phantoms and burrowing beetles (which are essentially the same thing, yeah)

 

 

 

 

EDIT:

 

And guys, I am pleasantly surprised by PoE overall . Its far better than I thought it would be :). You are really destroying the modern criteria for these games with such remarks.

Edited by Luj1

"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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I don't care that you find the game lacking, I don't care that you think Obsidian makes subpar games, I don't care that you think you're a real RPG connaisseur. What I do care about is that your only reaction to a long, developed post was a throwaway disparaging snigger.

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Forgot your rabies shot today Nachel? Sheesh


"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2014) is widely regarded as a pretty good tactical game, but if you play long enough you'll see that you also use the same winning tactics over and over again.

 

Doesn't make it not fun.

 

I can't think of anything I've played besides Chess that would live up to Luj1's standards of what constitutes good tactical gameplay.  

 

Having said that, there's room for improvement, and I don't particularly disagree with any of his points when taken in the context of being constructive criticism.

Edited by Daemonjax

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So don't bother saying anything. He enjoyed the game as many of us did. Keep your bitterness to yourself.

Maybe "I am glad you were able to derive enjoyment from a feature I hate so much I cannot stop harping on it" or simply "good for you"?

Why do you feel the need to spread your bs on a forum of a game you clearly hate?  Go do something else with your life.

 

 

 

You guys are clueless and have awfully low RPG standards , and I'm gonna show you why.

 

 

1) PoE has no encounter design like I said

 

 

During most battles you just send a tank to engage their melee fighters and have the rest of the party attack them. You rarely face anything that requires a different tactic. There's no swarm of weak enemies to overwhelm your tank, no ogres doing a pincer attack inside a tight corridor, no archers in hard-to-reach places , battles inside traps, NOTHING! The only ambush you'll face the entire game is in the tutorial!

 

Battles in PoE are  memorable due to their context (a lone powerful bear early in game, a big dragon, another big dragon, assaulting a fortress) and not for actual interesting fights. Most of them are just frontal fights with a straightforward approach , which brings us to point two below...

 

 

 

2) laughable "tactical" combat

 

 

 

a) either you are in open areas where you must protect your squishy characters, or

b) you are in tight areas where you block the chokepoint with your tank, while the rest of the party chugs spells and ranged attacks

 

 

The peak of this amazing "tactical" combat are teleporting phantoms and burrowing beetles (which are essentially the same thing, yeah)

 

 

 

 

EDIT:

 

And guys, I am pleasantly surprised by PoE overall . Its far better than I thought it would be :). You are really destroying the modern criteria for these games with such remarks.

 

 

*yawn*

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2014) is widely regarded as a pretty good tactical game, but if you play long enough you'll see that you also use the same winning tactics over and over again.

 

Doesn't make it not fun.

 

Agreed. It doesn't make it outstanding either. No one said PoE wasn't fun. Big difference between a good/fun RPG and outstanding/long-lasting classic

 

 

 

I can't think of anything I've played besides Chess that would live up to Luj1's standards of what constitutes good tactical gameplay.  

 

 

Youre really reaching daemonjax. There's a big spectrum between Chess (near-infinite possibilities) and binary tactics (PoE) youre choosing to ignore

 

 

You didn't play BG2?

 

 

You walk into a room and get ambushed by 6 orc arches firing from the sides, unreachable unless you fin the secret doors. Wow, a clever use of environment and secrets! PoE even has the supposed advantage that any party composition can detected traps and unlock doors, so why not explore this? No, instead you can't detect nor disarm traps mid-combat.

 

Edited by Luj1

"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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You didn't play BG2?

You walk into a room and get ambushed by 6 orc arches firing from the sides, unreachable unless you fin the secret doors. 

 

I find encounter design of that kind gimmicky. You just have to die once to figure out the trick, and then it's easy.


DID YOU KNOW: *Missing String*

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2014) is widely regarded as a pretty good tactical game, but if you play long enough you'll see that you also use the same winning tactics over and over again.

 

Doesn't make it not fun.

 

Agreed. It doesn't make it outstanding either. No one said PoE wasn't fun. Big difference between a good/fun RPG and outstanding/long-lasting classic

 

 

 

I can't think of anything I've played besides Chess that would live up to Luj1's standards of what constitutes good tactical gameplay.  

 

 

Youre really reaching daemonjax. There's a big spectrum between Chess (near-infinite possibilities) and binary tactics (PoE) youre choosing to ignore

 

 

You didn't play BG2?

 

 

You walk into a room and get ambushed by 6 orc arches firing from the sides, unreachable unless you fin the secret doors. Wow, a clever use of environment and secrets! PoE even has the supposed advantage that any party composition can detected traps and unlock doors, so why not explore this? No, instead you can't detect nor disarm traps mid-combat.

 

 

I don't recall BG2 encounters being anything remarkable.  "Bunch of monsters in a room, kill them!" would sum up 90% of them.

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You didn't play BG2?

You walk into a room and get ambushed by 6 orc arches firing from the sides, unreachable unless you fin the secret doors. 

 

I find encounter design of that kind gimmicky. You just have to die once to figure out the trick, and then it's easy.

 

 

Far better than to have NO encounter design whatsoever (PoE)

 

 

 

 

I don't recall BG2 encounters being anything remarkable.  "Bunch of monsters in a room, kill them!" would sum up 90% of them.

 

 

 

Ugh... no problem, ill show you what I meant

 

bg2_up28_081.jpg

 

 

You don't remember because

 

1) you didn't play BG 2

2) you have a memory span of a goldfish

 

Seriously, why don't you play Call of Duty?


"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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I love people who are defending every bad decision Obsidian makes , at every cost.... Obsidiots


"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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Seriously guys, Luj1 is right... PoE is a disgrace compared to Wolfenstein, or RollerCoaster Tycoon.

 

They should have made a corridor shooter or enemy respawn game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2. Why are you not opening your eyes.

 

(PS. Nice way to ruin the OP's thread jackass)


^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2014) is widely regarded as a pretty good tactical game, but if you play long enough you'll see that you also use the same winning tactics over and over again.

 

Doesn't make it not fun.

 

Agreed. It doesn't make it outstanding either. No one said PoE wasn't fun. Big difference between a good/fun RPG and outstanding/long-lasting classic

 

 

Well to be fair, a lot of the RPGs that are regarded as classics and whose spirit Pillars of Eternity tries to invoke did not even have good combat. Take PS:T for example (with Pillars being much better in terms of combat), or Arcanum, or, I'm gonna say it, even the Fallout games. So combat really doesn't seem to be the most important aspect to make a game a classic.

 

(Also: It would be great if you could refrain from insulting people for their opinions. This is not the codex or wherever you usually post.)

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Lol. Some of these comments. Do people even remeber this was a Kickstarter game?

 

If they had a mega-giant company like EA backing them there would be more music, better optimization, etc, etc, and oh wait-this game would of never been made in the first place.

 

I really don't understand all the hate. I have played all the IE games and while PoE is nowhere perfect, I have reallly, really loved it. I enjoy the combat. Maybe it's not as tactical as some would want, but I love the game none the less.

 

Just to be playing a game like this again in 2015 is a great feeling.

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Comparing a game that was not only the second in its series but also was higher lvls as well. If ur gonna compare games then go by the first in its series then. If ur gonna compare low lvls in new game design compared to high lvls (God mode) in BG (dnd)......then it's a bit off imho.

 

Bottom line, if ur gonna compare it to BG then compare it to the first game. Save ur comparisons of bg2 to the next Poe game imho.

 

 

To the OP, good review of ur opinion of the game :) I cannot give a review yet because even though I have played the old games only recently a few years ago, they never really griped me even though I'm an advid pnp player, dunno why. This game though, I'm in love with it and it's griped me hard.

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Hey everyone, thank you for your comments! I don't have much to add as my original post was already quite long. It is important to give positive criticism to encourage others to continue and improve. Resources like time and money are limited, especially for the first in a series, so I am really looking forward to an even better expansion and sequel!

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