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RPGCodex Review #1 - Hŵrpa Dwrp

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RPGCodex just released their first review (there will be another one)

http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=9867

This is my favourite review so far. I agree with most, if not all points/conclusions although often for (sometimes very) different reasons than the reviewer stated.
 

When Obsidian Entertainment started their Kickstarter campaign for Pillars of Eternity in 2012 (under a working title of Project Eternity), many saw it as the second coming of Christ for cRPGs. There it was: the veteran developers from everyone’s beloved Black Isle Studios, reinforced by Tim Cain himself, wanted to bring us a modern successor to the Infinity Engine games. In their pitch, Obsidian described Eternity as something that would marry the combat of Icewind Dale, the narrative of Planescape: Torment and the exploration of Baldur’s Gate. Considering that a few years earlier Obsidian had given us the two Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions, Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir, that also fit parts of the above bill, it looked like there was no other choice but to get hyped.

However, as some of my esteemed readers may know, I was sceptical of Eternity throughout its development. While my initial reaction to the Kickstarter was as euphoric as everyone else’s, the upcoming stream of updates explaining the game’s design philosophy convinced me that there was trouble afoot. Their content seemed to go directly against ideas that I simply found entertaining, both in regards to video games at large, and to cRPGs themselves. Not to mention the aspects at the core of what made the IE games fun. Nevertheless, I was certain that even if mechanically the game didn’t turn out well, it would still provide me with Obsidian’s trademark writing, quest design and reactivity.

But promises, hype machines and development processes are one thing, while the end results are another, which is why I shall not bother to delve into the former, and will just focus on the latter. I will attempt to judge Pillars of Eternity in regards to: the Infinity Engine games’ legacy, Obsidian’s earlier work in this field (mostly the NWN2 expansions), the developers’ experience in general and, finally, its value as a distinct game and new entry into the cRPG catalogue.

In the end, Pillars of Eternity’s (henceforth referred to as PoE) Kickstarter campaign gathered a total of over four million dollars. Let us see if this pile o’ cash was put to good use.......

Read the rest here: http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=9867

 

 

There will also be another review later on by Grunker and Vault Dweller.

Edited by Sensuki
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I like the game personally but the bottom line is that the review isn't wrong. However, prepare for a lot of anti Codex posts in this thread. :)

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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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The Codex is always right.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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To be hoenst with you, Darth Roxor is an obvious troll who was bashing PoE even before the game came out.  However, I'll admit that there is A LOT I agree with in his review.  I hope Obsidian takes some notes from this review for PoE2.

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Perhaps he was bashing the game pre release b/c he knew the truth. That's not trolling. That's soulful.

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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Darth Roxor may be troll or not, but there sure as hell will be plenty of other trolls in this thread soon enough.

 

No wonder you liked this review, Sensuki :p *stomp*

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"look at me I'm so l33t and hardcore and cool, let's bag this game out because it will show you how I'm so l33t and hardcore"

 

 

It seems like a bit of a whine-fest...

 

Look I'm enjoying the game and I probably wasn't the real 100% target demographic for it. I'm partway through act 2 so I don't know if I've met all companions and that yet. I'm not the type to really delve deep into systems and stuff, at least not straight away, and I'm not going to say everything is perfect and rosy but some of this just looks like being negative for negative's sake:

 

"Compare that to the priest that melts in any melee, whose damage spells are lacklustre, and who can drop a few buffs before standing in a corner and being useless."

 

Durance is the priest in my band and he is far from useless to me. He holds his own in melee and his spells and buffs are really important in keeping everyone alive and making the enemies less effective. 

 

" in BG/IWD, if a dude broke through to hack up your mages, you could cast hold person and be done with him. In PoE, not so much."

 

There is actually a spell which does exactly this, what is he talking about?

 

"When you see for the nth time the same mob of trolls, followed by the same mob of ooze repeated 5 times over during the course of one dungeon, you know you are in for a treat. And in PoE, this happens all the bloody time, with some particular offenders being, for example, the Temple of Skaen under Dyrford that has literally the same friggin’ cultist mob copypasted all over the place some twenty times."

 

Not sure about this one, is he saying he wants 1 of every single enemy type for every encounter? I don't get it. In KOTOR when you go into the spider infested cave, you fight the spiders...When you travel around Dantooine and hear there are kath hounds on the loose acting erratically, you fight the kath hounds.

 

"In the IE games, if you weren’t resting after every fight, you had to carefully consider using every healing potion and spell, and memorise cure spells for poisons, diseases, etc, to manage your global party health reserves. This literally never happens in PoE. All ill effects end after every fight, all endurance regens back to full, all fallen party members rise as if nothing happened."

 

There are areas where you can't rest, and when you get knocked out you lose health and your max endurance can drop too. To me that means the opposite of being careless because characters can definitely die.

 

Anyway I can't be bothered with any more, I'm sure others who are more knowledgeable and passionate can debate both sides.
 

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There is a reason why a lot of us really, really, really don't like the Codex.  And it's encapsulated in that review.  Arrogance, lack of perspective, and a rigid adherence to decade-old formulas.

 

This is a hatchet job, which is exactly what I'd expect from the Codex.  It's a shallow piece of work, with numerous errors - the sort that you'd make if you were prosecuting a case, rather than evaluating a game (as the post above me notes.)  For example, this is his class summary:  "The druid is good at everything and overshadows all other casters, the priest would be good if buff spells didn’t suck and the endurance/health system wasn’t broken, and the wizard got terribly shafted."  What game is he playing?  In the one that I'm playing, high level wizard are very powerful, low level wizards have very strong debuffs, priest buffs are very strong, and druids are fun too - but hardly "overshadowing" the others. 

 

I could go on, but what's the point?  The people who are angry that they didn't get to design the game will love this.  Other people won't see much of value. Par for the course over there.

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Sorry, Sensuki... I've gotta disagree with you 100% here. This review is the Codex at its worst. And I say that not in a "the Codex is terrible" sense, but in a "this is the kind of thing that gives the Codex a bad name" sense.

 

I agree with most of the points/conlusions that Darth Roxor makes, but as I said in the OP I agree with them for sometimes completely different reasons. He does get some mechanical details wrong and I disagree with many of the things he says, but he winds up largely at the same conclusion as I do.

 

It's definitely not a troll review. The tone of the review is colorfully antagonistic, but I don't have a problem with that, and all of his reviews are like that although not all of them are negative.

 

No wonder you liked this review, Sensuki tongue.png *stomp*

 

jLZz4Na.gif

Edited by Sensuki
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On the note of "why copy BG1?"...  Obsidian built this thing from Unity up, and I believe expecting $4 million in 2012-2014 money to reach BG2 quality is asking for a bit too much. They had to create the monsters (their statistics, animations, etc), write the story, implement the gameplay, etc, etc, etc.  With the system in place a sequel can expect to do more, have more monsters, have more areas, have more quests, have more everything.  To expect a small budget RPG to be built, more or less, from the ground up and exceed one of the greatest RPGs of all time is asking for the sky.  
 
BG2 had a good bit they could carry over to allow them to add an obscene amount of content.  I hope for the same thing with PoE2, and maybe even their expansions for PoE.  I am trying to look at the current game as NWN2 OC, and hoping for Obsidian to be able to focus more on creating a better, shorter, more interesting story or missions with their expac like they did with MotB and/or SoZ.  They have said they are doing something more akin to Tales of the Sword Coast so I don't expect MotB level story, but I think it may be wise to try for something on that level.  

 

Also, after Obsidian showing off the opening dungeon (Months ago) with a floor puzzle... I was disappointed in the lack of floor puzzles.  

 

That said, I could probably chat for a while about all the things I don't like about PoE, but all in all I think it is a great game, and I am having a lot of fun.  Could it be better?  Yup.  Is it Obsidian's worst game?  Um... no... My least favorite is DS3, but that is "like... my opinion, man."  

 

I don't totally disagree with the review, but I definitely think the reviewer already had an ax to grind.  He definitely seems to have not paid much attention to some of the details on abilities and the like. 

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Yawn. Waiting on Vault Dweller's review.

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"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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I found myself agreeing with most of the points but rolling my eyes with how blown out of proportion they are.

Edited by Dadalama
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It's good to criticize things you love.

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I also think he's overblown some of his gripes, but damn, I agree in principle with a lot of what he says.

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I must be doing it wrong because I just enjoy playing PoE.

Yes,what's wrong am I?I need to read more RPGcodex to cure my horrible disease.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, She got the Mercedes Benz

She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends

How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.

Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

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I found myself agreeing with most of the points but rolling my eyes with how blown out of proportion they are.

Its the Codex, they'll go over the top but the points they raise aren't wrong.

 

PoE combat is samey and items feel bland. Engagement is ****-tier.

Balance is out of whack. In every case.

The writing is bland for long stretches of the game.

Exploration isn't rewarding and maps feel small.

Cutting the stronghold and Od Nua in favor of more areas/better existing dungeons would have been good.

Stronghold is bad. Really bad.

Reactivity is crap. I ****ed over that crime family and nothing happened.

Art is pretty and music is good. VA is bad and overused.

 

Overall mods may be able to shape it up and it very well may lead to a BG2 tier sequel, but overall PoE isn't very impressive. Not the worst Obsidian game(that would be DS3), but certainly not in league with NWN2 expansions or New Vegas. Would not back a sequel without some shakeups(MCA lead writer) or without a fantastic showing from the expansion.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Vault Dweller and Grunker's review will be more positive. Vault Dweller hates Baldur's Gate and RTwP combat and his main priorities are C&C and reactivity, so as far as he's concerned pretty much anything is better than the BG games. He's also a developer so he's kinda bound by 'professional courtesy' as well. Grunker is a BG2 guy and I think he enjoyed the game but he thought that encounter design and itemization were absolutely terrible among other things. 

Edited by Sensuki

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Vault Dweller and Grunker's review will be more positive. Vault Dweller hates Baldur's Gate and his main priorities are C&C and reactivity, so as far as he's concerned pretty much anything is better than the BG games. He's also a developer so he's kinda bound by 'professional courtesy' as well. Grunker is a BG2 guy and I think he enjoyed the game but he thought that encounter design and itemization were absolutely terrible among other things. 

 

VD has shredded games in the past, both before starting AOD and during. I don't really see how you can be 'predicting' how other people are going to review the games - but I guess it's a very thinly disguised way of saying "hey if you read those positive reviews keep in mind one guy's a shill and another guy well at least he realises how some of the game sucks." 

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Vault Dweller and Grunker's review will be more positive. Vault Dweller hates Baldur's Gate and his main priorities are C&C and reactivity, so as far as he's concerned pretty much anything is better than the BG games. He's also a developer so he's kinda bound by 'professional courtesy' as well. Grunker is a BG2 guy and I think he enjoyed the game but he thought that encounter design and itemization were absolutely terrible among other things.

 

 

VD has shredded games in the past, both before starting AOD and during. I don't really see how you can be 'predicting' how other people are going to review the games - but I guess it's a very thinly disguised way of saying "hey if you read those positive reviews keep in mind one guy's a shill and another guy well at least he realises how some of the game sucks."

Yep. Poisoning the well much?


"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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VD has shredded games in the past, both before starting AOD and during. I don't really see how you can be 'predicting' how other people are going to review the games - but I guess it's a very thinly disguised way of saying "hey if you read those positive reviews keep in mind one guy's a shill and another guy well at least he realises how some of the game sucks."

I know, I've read his reviews. I personally think he's gotten a little bit softer. His WL2 review was very forgiving (still a fairly good review though).

 

I still think it will be a good review even if I know I'm going to disagree with a lot of the things they say, I'm more interested in seeing what Grunker and VD agree on. VD is basically the opposite of me when it comes to the Infinity Engine games.

Edited by Sensuki

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Decent review. I can agree on weak encounter design, poor itemization and the idea that the Stronghold & Od Nua should have been dropped/never presented so resources could be spent elsewhere.

 

That being said, I don't think rant formats are the best idea for getting developers' attention. Pretty easy to put out a negative review without it.

Edited by View619
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VD likes C&C and while PE's C&C isn't 'best ever' it's still very solid. Also, VD was found defending one of the worst quests in the game on the Codex. He'll have complaints but he's likely to be positive. He prefers DA over BG series simply because, in his opinion, it has more C&C.

 

Anyways, back to thread topic. While he does go over board and makes some mistakes he makes a lot of great points as well and his conclusions aren't really wrong. I say that and I like PE and found it fun. But, the game is HEAVILY flawed. That's just a fact.

 

"Arrogance, lack of perspective,"

 

Lack of a mirror where you are? L0L

 

 

"That being said, I don't think rant formats are the best idea for getting developers' attention. Pretty easy to put out a negative review without it."
 

It's a Codex review. He's not trying to get the developers' attention with it. It is about entertainment and being informative to the Codex rewvieers - not Obsidian or Obsidian fanboys(even though the Codex has a LOT of Obsidian fanboys).

Edited by Volourn
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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Sometimes I don't know why the Codex bothers reviewing anything, as they seem to like about four games made in the late 20th Century.

 

It's a perfect example of how cognitive dissonance creates a hill tribe of in-bred opinion. No, not opinion, dogma.

 

I agree with (easily) a third of this review, is just the holier-than-thou tone that makes my gorge rise.

Edited by Monte Carlo
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