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Review from the Future for the Expansion White March


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The original Pillars of Eternity told a fantastic, self-contained story with no obvious hanging threads to build an expansion upon.  So, we thought the expansion was going to be just random side story like Tales of the Sword Coast or most of Bioware's 2nd-class DLCs.  Thankfully, we were wrong.  The White March makes us care with great character development and a story that will leave a big mark in the world.  Basically it's more of a top-tier DLC like Lair of the Shadowbroker, not just a forgettable tangent like Jaws of Hakkon.

 

On the side of combat design, we thought the increased level cap was just going to make the game way too easy since difficulty already took a nose dive at the peak of the current level cap.  That is until we saw what they did with the high-level version of the new area.  They didn't just buff the stats of creatures in high-level version, they designed it with fitting obstacles that tests the veteran's tactical adaptability and mastery even more than ever.  Those new spells/abilities really came in fittingly handy while marching on the white hills.  They didn't just add power creep for the sake of adding new stuff, everything was all planned.

 

Speaking of new obstacles... if you are looking for a new challenge, get ready to flex those tactical muscles.  Through some clever scripting magic, Obsidian added many new types challenges like shifting environments, area-denial tactics from clever enemies, and a in-combat puzzles.  You thought you scored another easy victory by using choke point?  Think again when the new enemy summoner drops a flaming beast on your back line or drop a gas cloud on your side of the choke point.  Even if you were burnt out from PoE's combat, the challenges in the new areas completely revitalizes the game and get you theory-crafting and optimizing all over again.

 

The art and sound are again top notch and beautiful.  Some terrain look like re-colored version of old areas, but they look great regardless.  Even better is when a lot of those terrain now has gameplay value.  The hot springs in the snow might look like passive decoration like those volcano in the original game, but no, they actually do something!  I'll let you find out for yourself when you play it.

 

Overall, Obsidian brought back another old school thing, the expansion model, but they also improved on the concept thoughtfully well.  This expansion is not a skippable optional content, it's the start of a mini-sequel that you mustn't miss.

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Funny that you don’t mention it: what makes me really happy about this expansion is the companions of the base game having things to say when travelling the new zones at your side, as the companions of the expansion do when going back to the vanilla zones.

It might not seem to be such a great deal, but it helps to see them as something else than tactical meat shields.

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I still can't believe Kana Rua's last words were "Auuuugh!!!!!". Of course, I suppose you kinda lose your wits when you're being devoured by a gelatinous cube.

I also could've done without the fully illustrated Durance The Inquisitor swimsuit calendar.

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