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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature - Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Review

Default RPGWatch Feature - Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Review

July 26th, 2018, 05:59
Thanks for the review, Maylander. But you're getting slow - I was expecting this review within a day or two of release!

I loved the first PoE, and I wish it had been as bright and cheerful as this sequel…or, at least, more cheerful. Like the sequel. And I also concede that this is way better done than the first one, a neater package, and addictive like crack. I just wish - again - we could have had some of PoE 2 in PoE 1, since I liked the setting in the first one better. Alas. But I'm glad to see the sequel getting some well-deserved recognition. Obsidian has learned some tough lessons and put that knowledge to good use.
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July 26th, 2018, 06:24
I've grown more of an appreciation for the first game's setting and lore after playing the sequel. Not because I think it's better, but now I'm invested in the world of Pillars.
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July 26th, 2018, 06:40
Thanks for the review, Maylander looking forward to getting in to this one in a couple of months when I have the time to really sink my teeth in to it.
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July 26th, 2018, 16:59
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
Excellent review as always!

Personally, I would add the significant con of the game being too easy - even on the higher difficulty levels - and I happen to enjoy the ship combat, which I find a charming and pleasant diversion, when combined with the ship upgrades and crew managment.

Other than that, though - I agree with everything you said.

Oh, and I would also perhaps have mentioned the delightful AI weapons
Yes, I was considering mentioning that it's considerably easier than the original. However, I haven't actually played the game with the later patches, which I think included some tweaks and what not. I played through it twice, but that was weeks ago. The difficulty could be quite different by now.

Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
Thanks for the excellent review, @Maylander !

Very happy to hear Deadfire is less depressing place than Dyrwood.
I was also very happy when I realized Deadfire and Dyrwood are completely different, as I found Dyrwood too dark and depressing. In fact, the entire atmosphere is much better in PoE2 in my opinion.

Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Thanks Maylander - I've added the review to the RPGWatch Steam Curator.
Oooh, I didn't even know that existed. Interesting! Will have to check it out.

Originally Posted by Aubrielle View Post
Thanks for the review, Maylander. But you're getting slow - I was expecting this review within a day or two of release!

I loved the first PoE, and I wish it had been as bright and cheerful as this sequel…or, at least, more cheerful. Like the sequel. And I also concede that this is way better done than the first one, a neater package, and addictive like crack. I just wish - again - we could have had some of PoE 2 in PoE 1, since I liked the setting in the first one better. Alas. But I'm glad to see the sequel getting some well-deserved recognition. Obsidian has learned some tough lessons and put that knowledge to good use.
Sigh, yes, I know I've been slow! I bought a three story house, which I'm currently renovating from top to bottom with some help from friends. I'm about 60% done or so now, so I'm heading in the right direction, but it's taking more time than expected. Then again, doesn't everything?

And yes, if PoE1 had a bit more of PoE2 in it, I'm fairly certain the franchise as a whole would be much more of a success, and much more hyped.
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July 26th, 2018, 17:04
Yes, I was considering mentioning that it's considerably easier than the original. However, I haven't actually played the game with the later patches, which I think included some tweaks and what not. I played through it twice, but that was weeks ago.
Sadly, it's still too easy after the latest changes, at least for my part. That said, my Marauder build could be unintentionally broken - and I don't know how other builds compare.
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July 26th, 2018, 18:04
Outstanding review. I look forward to playing the game once all of the DLC content is complete.
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July 27th, 2018, 07:31
Ok, you've sold me.

I'll give this game a try
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July 27th, 2018, 10:45
Damn you @Maylander, I was going to hold off until after the expansions were released, now I really don't want to wait any longer.

Good review as always, now I'm going to start thinking of ways to get the wife and kids out of the house so I can start PoE2…
Last edited by TomRon; July 27th, 2018 at 10:58.
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July 27th, 2018, 17:27
I also agree, this makes me want to play POE2. I didn't finish the first game and was disappointed by the amount of money I gave to the Kickstarter. I was going to boycott the 2nd one but now I'm on the fence
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July 27th, 2018, 18:10
Originally Posted by Hastar View Post
I also agree, this makes me want to play POE2. I didn't finish the first game and was disappointed by the amount of money I gave to the Kickstarter. I was going to boycott the 2nd one but now I'm on the fence
Have you tried the first one again after both the expansions? To me it felt like a whole different game, where most if not all the things I didn't like during my first playthrough were greatly improved in the second.
Last edited by TomRon; July 28th, 2018 at 15:27.
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July 27th, 2018, 19:31
Most people that dislike the first game never played White March, which is a shame.
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July 27th, 2018, 19:47
i loved the game without any of the expansions and unpatched pretty much, so yeah, your mileage will likely vary.
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July 27th, 2018, 20:45
Originally Posted by TomRon View Post
Have you tried the first one again after both the expansions? To me it felt like a while different game, where most if not all the things I didn't like during my first playthrough were greatly improved in the second.
I didn't play the game till later so I'm pretty sure I had both part 1&2 of the expansion. Some of it may have been that I played a Paladin and I have read that it was one of the weakest classes in PoE. Some of it does have to do with RTwP because I just enjoy turn based combat more.

I love D&D so much that I also wasn't a huge fan of their system. I think it was just a bunch of little things.
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July 28th, 2018, 00:56
Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
Most people that dislike the first game never played White March, which is a shame.
Thank you! My sentiments exactly!
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July 28th, 2018, 15:30
Originally Posted by Hastar View Post
I didn't play the game till later so I'm pretty sure I had both part 1&2 of the expansion. Some of it may have been that I played a Paladin and I have read that it was one of the weakest classes in PoE. Some of it does have to do with RTwP because I just enjoy turn based combat more.

I love D&D so much that I also wasn't a huge fan of their system. I think it was just a bunch of little things.
Paladins can get pretty damn strong specced right, with huge bonuses stacked on their flaming attack (forgot the name) or saving throws making them tanky as hell. They're still boring though. But Paladins are always boring, it's in their nature.
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July 28th, 2018, 16:41
Good work, Maylander, that was a nice read. I do think the review needs to be challenged however in a few key facets. I completed the game on veteran in 70 hours and will now wait until all of the DLC are available and the tweaking is fully done to make Path of the Damned feel as good as it was in the first game.

Thus, I do feel you were perhaps overly generous and mildly gushing with the game (better in every way? I don't think so…) and didn't identify enough weaknesses or get into a more balanced critique mode for my personal taste. For example:

- The combat. This represents a big proportion of the game. Despite the polish and refinements, it is arguably weaker, less dynamic (only 5 party members!) less challenging and completely without attrition. I think the inconsequential wounds system needs to be mentioned, as there is no price at all for resting. You can count on the party always being at its most powerful for every fight. For me, this took away from the experience of adventuring in the classic AD&D tradition and any sense of menace that encounters may have had was significantly lessened.

Indeed, there simply weren't any battles that could adequately compare to the Adra Dragon nor even Llengrath or the Siege of Cragholdt at all for me. No doubt there is plenty of time for this to be improved. One final reflection on an encounter:
Spoiler


- The companions. I didn't particularly enjoy the new companions in this game to be honest. Their dialogue, the way they were written. There was something generic and oddly unengaging about them. Admittedly I still have to take Pallegina and Maia for a longer run, but unfortunately none that I did take really had a sense of mystery or compellingly charismatic aura (save maybe Ydwin though she's a sidekick) that made one want to speak to or use them. Aloth's Leaden Key quest was over far too quickly;
I thought that would build much more upon the first game. Overall, the relationship system wasn't quite what I was hoping for (more Bioware lite than anything) but this could also change in forthcoming patches.

Despite the open world, the dungeons in the game simply weren't big enough or memorable for me. Many even felt derivative and resembled previous places from Heart of Winter and Icewind Dale (Drowned Barrows made me think of Burial Isle and the Hanging Sepulchers made me think of the Tiers of the Dead…)
I also think the overland exploration in general reminded me more of Storm of Zehir than Arcanum, though I can see the influence of both games.

I liked Neketaka; it felt much more alive and interesting to explore than Defiance Bay did. I very much appreciated exploring the Gullet and doing its associated quests, sensing the abandonment and desperation of its inhabitants. The factional interplay for narrative purposes was solid; though it would have been nice to see even more conflicts between them in the world.

The shortness of the main quest should be mentioned as well. I couldn't believe how quickly that was over. I did it at level 19 but could easily have done it four-five levels earlier. Bizarrely, the famypr quest was more challenging than anything in these final sections.

Also, the plausibility and "impending doom" from the narrative hook of what to do while a gigantic god posessed statue is running amok is arguably diminished when the player is simply allowed to explore an open world at their leisure. There was also something lacking in the player agency in the ending, but that is naturally subjective to everyone's experience. For me, the player felt too much like a passenger and it didn't quite work…

Thus, all up, I think my first run with the game comes a good deal short of my experience with the first game+White March parts 1&2 on PoTD. The game bears some of the hallmarks of casualising and streamlining elements, but I do think the potential for improvement is there once the inevitable patching is done and additional content added.

I should also hasten to add that I'm still yet to receive my physical rewards for backing the game which has been frustrating. I'm sure other Watchers are in the same boat, singing sea shanty lamentations and all. Anyway, solid review, Maylander, just thought I'd add some thoughts and encourage some discussion.
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Last edited by Pessimeister; July 29th, 2018 at 13:13.
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July 29th, 2018, 02:41
Thanks for the alternative view, @Pessimeister ! Good read, I will definitely wait until all tweaking is done.
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July 29th, 2018, 07:31
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I should also hasten to add that I'm still yet to receive my physical rewards for backing the game which has been frustrating.
Yeah, this aspect is completely ridiculous at this point and there hasn't been much forthcoming from Obsidian about it. The update from June 21 said they were shipping in a "couple weeks" (didn't happen) and there's been really nothing since, beyond the latest update saying "soon".
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July 29th, 2018, 07:50
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Yeah, this aspect is completely ridiculous at this point and there hasn't been much forthcoming from Obsidian about it. The update from June 21 said they were shipping in a "couple weeks" (didn't happen) and there's been really nothing since, beyond the latest update saying "soon".
Well as they say physical releases are a thing of the past.

Joking aside didn't Obsidian have the same problem with PoE?
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July 29th, 2018, 08:31
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Joking aside didn't Obsidian have the same problem with PoE?
Nope, PoE1 physical copies (Kickstarter ones at least) shipped before the game was even released and some people actually received theirs before it unlocked on Steam.
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