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Pillars of Eternity

 

 

 

Things I really liked:

 

• The writing. It's nice to see a game that doesn't assume players are afraid of reading. I really loved the descriptions that came with dialogues - it's the kind of thing other games try to show through very expensive graphics and motion capture, but they never nail it.

 

• It's not D&D. No tacos, woot! I like table-top RPGs, but I have never enjoyed D&D (Nobilis ftw). It's nice to see a fantasy RPG using the Infinite Engine not afraid of leaving the D&D roots behind.

 

• Combat speed. In other IE games, combat always felt clumsy to me — I'm fonder of turn-based systems. But all the options we are given in PoE, all the triggers for auto-pause AND slow mode, make it a huge improvement over other IE games.

 

• Improvements to the magic system. It's great to see that we don't have to memorize a specific spell per rest in order to use it. Being able to use entire levels of spells instead of a pre-defined spell a pre-defined number of times per rest makes playing as casters a lot more fun than in many classic IE games. Ciphers are a lot of fun, too - not having to worry about casts per rest makes them my favourite casters in the game.

 

• The inventory system doesn't get in the way of gameplay. It would have been easy to add item management options that would have been huge nuisances, like durability. PoE goes in the opposite direction, though, by allowing us to have direct access to the stash everywhere, and thus effectively have infinite inventory space.

 

 

 

Things I think could be improved a bit:

 

• A respec option would be nice. Players are asked to make one of the main decisions about the main character - attribute levels - before the game begins, while they don't really understand the mechanics of PoE. Nothing in character creation tells us that we won't get more attribute points when levelling up, for example. Between this, patches changing skills and talents, plus the questionable builds companions come with, I think having the option to respec would be a good thing.

 

• The attribute system needs some fine tunning. I'm happy the game isn't using D&D rules, but, like any new system, it could use some improvements. Might is too valuable and IMO shouldn't be used as the defining attribute for all kinds of damage. Resolve is kinda useless for a backline character if you have good tanks, and even Constitution isn't relevant for those characters. It becomes hard to make a character who is interesting for dialogues and for combat.

 

• Wizards are gimped way too much. They are still being held back by leftovers from D&D. Unlike Druids and Priests, Wizards have to learn each spell individually and they are limited by grimmoires; unlike ciphers, their relevant abilities are limited per rest. Wizards have all the limits, with few of the advantages. Weaker spells but useable per encounter instead of per rest would be better, IMO.

 

• Crafting could use some help. I don't like using consumables, so I haven't tried crafting scrolls, potions or food. But the equipment crafting is lacking. There are many useful mods we cannot craft; it's better to find a weapon with zero quality but a draining mod (which we can't craft) than to find a weapon with almost top quality, since that we can craft ourselves. I wish we could craft any mod in the game, with reliable ways to get more materials.

 

• The inventory is kind of a mess. A way to sort items would be great. As would be changing the background of items so we know at a glance what is their rarity. Right now, items with any mods have different backgrounds than items without any of them, but later in the game that isn't really enough.

 

• Voice acting loses sync with text. When reading a dialogue box that goes "spoken dialogue — description — spoken dialogue", there is no pause for us to read the description between the two bits of spoken dialogue. This makes reading at the same time we're listening a bit clumsy. Maybe breaking those sections in two dialogue boxes, or adding a pause?

 

Pillars of Eternity is a very good game, and I'm happy for being able to play it. I wish Obsidian a lot of success, both with PoE and with their future games.

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