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October 22nd, 2018, 00:15
Explore, Conquer, Rule


Journey to the Stolen Lands

Welcome to the Stolen Lands, contested territory for centuries. Defend yourself against the threats of wilderness and rival kingdoms as you explore a world rich with history, magic, and conflict.

Companion Focused Story

Experience the adventure alongside living and breathing companions, each with deep stories and decisions of their own. Love them, adore them or hate them for who they are.


Character development

Customize your character and companions with a multitude of options available in Pathfinder to make the perfect party capable of overcoming insurmountable challenges.


Kingdom

Establish your kingdom in Stolen Lands, claim new territories, and build towns and cities. Be a wise ruler or a heavy-handed tyrant.


More information.
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October 22nd, 2018, 00:15
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An isometric party-based adventure RPG in the Pathfinder universe. Great character creation, challenging RTwP-combat, interesting party members, a good story - with many classic Pen & Paper elements!
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October 5th, 2020, 18:08
I've played almost 200 hours over the last 4 months, I've installed it in early June 2020 so it was already mature by then, and rid of all its infancy bugs (which, I heard, were plenty).

I had prepared a few screenshots to illustrate the review, but unfortunately I'm limited to 6 of them…

Story

The story unfolds with the main quest, and the lore & settings are not forced upon the player, there's not a lot of reading to be done at the beginning to understand the world. Bits are given through conversations, and the important words are emphasized, which allows the player to hover the mouse or click on them for more details, for example on deities, characters, families, and so on. That's an elegant way to present the information, and the classical encyclopedia complements this information, together with the basics of the game mechanics.

Most of the dialogs are spoken, which quite good voice acting. There are several companions, who have their own history and sometimes agenda, and the player selects up to 5 of them on each sortie (when going out of a village, city or town). They have their own character, orientation and class, and sometimes they interact with one another, for the better or the worst.

The player has access to a journal with a summary of each quest, the subgoals and what is expected next. It does not keep an exhaustive track of all the dialogs, and does not babysit the player too much by giving spoilers away, but just keeps the necessary information so that the player can remember all the quests, which may be useful when coming back to the game after leaving it for a while.

journal.jpg
The journal entries don't reveal too much, but keeps the progression under control

In the quest stories and in general, the dialogs are always immersive and keeping to the Pathfinder universe, and characters are faithful to their class and orientation. There is humour, but it well balanced and not overdone, you'll find it more frequent than in Neverwinter Nights, but nothing like the sometimes grotesque comedy in Divinity: Original Sin series.

Game mechanics

It is based on the 1st edition of the Pathfinder ruleset, which is similar to the D&D ruleset, but may look a little more complex. The Core Rulebook specifies the rules more closely, or less loosely, than D&D. Each character is defined by his/her class (or classes), skills and feats.

This game is very clear and transparent to the player on all the mechanical parts: all stats are detailed by hovering the mouse on them, for instance the dependencies or such skill, or which elements contribute to such ability score modifier. The combat events are also available in a separate window, and each decision or event can be detailed as well, which helps the player understand how it works, and improve over time.

character_stats.jpgcharacter_stats2.jpg
Details on the character's stats

bookspell.jpg
Bookspell and details on spells

The game started with RTwP combat mode, and recently added turn-based mode. The latter is nicely implemented, though not entirely stable yet, sometimes the turn would remain stuck, especially when there are many characters involved (typing Ctrl-F11, then closing the bug window seems to unlock the situation when this happens).

combat_stats.jpg
Combat and details on a particular event

The world is composed of areas, like villages, cities, towns, dungeons, …, connected with routes, which must be discovered. Walking from one area to another one takes time, and enemies or other surprises sometimes happen on the way, for example forcing a fight, or giving an opportunity such as meeting a special merchant. It is possible to rest en-route or in areas, but in dungeons the party must have rations. The resting must be managed, by selecting who's hunting, cooking, guarding the camp, and so on, which adds a little bit to the game.

Each area must be loaded from disk. I've seen people complaining about that, personally I find it quick enough not to worry about it.

On top of the main campaign, the player must manage the territory (the barony), which is yet another layer in the game. As for the quests and the resting, this is a team effort, and the main character is helped with advisors, which are either companions or other important characters also playing in the campaign. Their proficiency and inclinations to manage such or such part of the barony is linked to their core abilities, which take a specific meaning in that part of the game (as they do while resting).

So there are 3 different meanings for the core abilities, which is a bit disorienting at first, but offers a sort of 3-dimensional reference.

As part of the territory management, the player must face events and projects, and put advisors on these tasks to solve problems or improve the barony. He must also build owned villages, towns and cities, but this is only visible on a map, and building a new tavern, for example, will not reflect when the party enters the area in "quest mode". This is probably out of the scope of this game, but it would have been a great achievement to see the result of a flourishing barony outside of management maps. Instead, this seems like an artificial addition to influence the stats somewhat, but without much consequence.

I'm usually not a big fan of meta-management of that sort, but in this case it is relatively well integrated, and interesting. This brings something else for the player to do, without distracting from what is happening in the story.

The game can be saved anytime except during combat. There are auto-saves, quick saves, and custom saves, with no limit.

Items

Items are stored in a shared inventory, where they can be placed and reordered manually. The load is shared between the party members, and items can be accessed by any member anytime, even if they are far apart. In villages (cities, towns) where the party is dissolved, items can still be accessed by the player's character, and they can be equipped to any of the companion. This item management makes life easier and while this is less realistic, the same outcome could be reached anyway with enough planning, so why not?

inventory.jpg
Inventory and comparison with equipped weapon

The merchants, however, are all behaving the same. They don't all sell the same goods, but they buy anything, at the same price, and seem to have endless pockets to pay. Furthermore, they are available 24/7. This was probably designed that way by lack of time, and is perhaps a bit too simplistic.

There is no crafting.

Presentation

Graphics, sounds and music are on par with modern CRPGs. Overall, the game gives a feeling of a well-polished and consistent interface.

The graphics in "quest mode" are 3D isometric, with (somewhat limited) zoom. It is not possible to rotate the camera, though one interesting mod (Bag of Tricks) unlocks the camera rotation and extends the zoom limits. Special effects are convincing, without cluttering the screen.

Using the keyboard and the mouse is easy and smooth, the controls are solid. The default keyboard is set for QWERTY keyboards, but it is possible to customize it according to personal preferences and layout. It is also possible to use an X-Box controller since the game was ported to console, though I haven't tested it… in my opinion, and also from the feedback I read, the game style isn't really compatible with playing casually on a couch with a gamepad, so this was perhaps a strange move from Owlcat Games.

The music and ambiant sounds are well made, if a bit repetitive. Unfortunately, a special care seems to have been taken to dogs barking, in all areas and circumstances, which quickly becomes very irritating, and the only way to get rid of that is to hack the sound libraries. Fortunately, while the ambient sounds tend to repeat themselves randomly, there are no looped dialogs like in Divinity: Original Sin series, so the player doesn't have to endure continuously repeated sentences while staying in a place for a while.

The performances were quite good on my old PC (i7-4770K at 3.5 GHz, nVidia GTX 980 Ti, game installed on SSD).

Conclusion

This is only a personal opinion, of course. I find this game very well balanced and polished, pleasant and fun to play, and I love how the mechanics are implemented and transparent to the player.

It is also a bit more demanding than the average CRPG: the ruleset is less frequent in that style of game than D&D, a bit more complex - at least in its description since it covers the rules more in depth than D&D, which leaves out a part of the decisions to the DM. It also lets the player search and think by himself a little more than other games, there won't be a big pointer on the next NPC to talk to, nor a big cross on the map where the big treasure is hidden. That extra difficulty may repel a more casual category of players… while it may appeal more to the hard-core ones.

The storytelling is not heavy, it is integral to the quest, and the dialogs are usually a few paragraphs long, not a few pages long. They give the player sufficient depth while not breaking the momentum, they are not expanding every bit of lore but yet they give the option to read more about specific terms if the player wishes to.

I recommend it without any hesitation to any player who's not afraid to put 200+ hours in a CRPG, especially if they enjoy a sound ruleset implementation. I would also advise to install the Bag of Tricks and the SkipIntro mods (I believe the latter is now covered by an option of the former) for the camera control and to make the loading title faster.

The game is available on GOG, and Steam.
Last edited by Redglyph; October 11th, 2020 at 17:58.
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October 6th, 2020, 12:53
That was a very helpful review for me.

The only thing that lets me hesitate to play it is the … well … often mentioned time limit.
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October 6th, 2020, 20:01
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
The only thing that lets me hesitate to play it is the … well … often mentioned time limit.
This is a single blemish within an otherwise amazing game. It would be comparable to saying, "well, Baldur's Gate uses THACO, I'm not sure I should play it". Kingmaker is simply one of the best crpgs ever created that every fan of the genre should experience.

Good review, Redglyph. What should be stated regarding the lengthy playtime is that it rarely ever drags on. In some games, you might start becoming bored and wanting things to wrap up at the 50 hour mark; I personally never felt that way in my 220 hour playthrough and its a testament to the quality of the storytelling.
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October 6th, 2020, 21:11
The time limit is nothing, don't worry about it, you have plenty of time.

I think it is just there so, you'll not play 1 combat rest, play one combat rest, play one combat rest, that is not fun anyhow, in that case you probably built a bad party and might aswell start over…

It is one of the BEST CRPG's ever made, just play it already!
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October 6th, 2020, 23:36
You can also set the kingdom stuff on auto-pilot. Although if you just set the kingdom difficulty to its absolute easiest setting then you can enjoy it without much frustration or worries. That is what I do - play the game itself on harder mode but the kingdom I play on its easiest. I do like the kingdom stuff a lot though - find it very fun to grow my kingdom. But I did not like the timers and tedium and how quickly things could go down hill. So play on easy, and simply keep an eye on the critical events that have timers. You are given lots of notice, you can check in as needed to see how much time is left, and if on easy far less chance of bad consequences for the side stuff.

It is a real fun game. I have 373 hours in it - which is a decent amount for a person like me who tends to prefer open world games like Skyrim and FO4. But I adore this game - it is superbly well made with so many complex features and layers. Not to mention a really robust character system and great story.

Plus you get to be a Tiefling! That right there should be enough to sell the game to anyone!
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October 6th, 2020, 23:44
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Items

Items are stored in a shared inventory, where they can be placed and reordered manually. The load is shared between the party members, and items can be accessed by any member anytime, even if they are far apart. In villages (cities, towns) where the party is dissolved, items can still be accessed by the player's character, and they can be equipped to any of the companion. This item management makes life easier and while this is less realistic, the same outcome could be reached anyway with enough planning, so why not?

The merchants, however, are all behaving the same. They don't all sell the same goods, but they buy anything, at the same price, and seem to have endless pockets to pay. Furthermore, they are available 24/7. This was probably designed that way by lack of time, and is perhaps a bit too simplistic.

There is no crafting.
You forgot to mention storyteller items - they are crafting… of sort
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October 10th, 2020, 03:59
Pathfinder: Kingmaker captures the charm of the Baldur's Gate games in ways that many of the "spiritual successors" failed to. Why is this so? I honestly can't say. They had less money, way more bugs at launch and pretty much no marketing to speak of.

But it is so.

Is it perfect? Heck no. The Kingdom Management is notorious for being a pain to deal with more than benefit (cue the jokes about the true experience of being a ruler) and the last couple chapters are a SLOG. But it takes 100-150 hours to even get to there (well, I played on turn based mode) so its hard to say you're not getting your money's worth.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is now one of my more anticipated titles.
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October 11th, 2020, 11:21
There's quite more to say about this game, I didn't want to make the review too long.
The whole game takes time, especially if you explore and do most of the side quests, but I've never been bored so far, that's for sure!

There is really something about it that makes it my preferred CRPG at the moment. The fact that NeverKnowsBest attributed a "Best Spiritual Successor to Baldur's Gate" title to it comforts me somewhat in that idea, BTW I really enjoy his in-depth reviews (this one I'm referring to is "A review of every major CRPG from the last ten years" on his Youtube channel, really worth watching).

I'm also looking forward to the next episode, Wrath of the Righteous!

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
That was a very helpful review for me.

The only thing that lets me hesitate to play it is the … well … often mentioned time limit.
The time limit is interesting. There are several levels of urgency, some time limits are critical, for example some main quests have to be concluded within a given time-frame, but there's more than enough time for the player to do that. I think that failing those leads to the end of the game.

Others, like events in the kingdom - sorry, barony, have to be addressed before a given date. It's not always possible because the right advisor may not be available, or you may not be in a good position to do so (each event to solve has a chance of success that depends on the advisor's ability, pretty much like an ability check. You get "crisis points" to increase your chances of success but they're scarce and only given once you claim a new region or rank up).

Sometimes you have to accept an event will not make it. Or sometimes you'll miss one because you haven't paid attention to the deadline, or you were out of the barony and haven't attended to it for too long. You may also fail the "ability check". But you're not expected to succeed in everyone of them, CRPG and table-top RPGs handle failure as a feature, up to you to plan for it and pick yourself up after enduring one

Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
You forgot to mention storyteller items - they are crafting… of sort
You got me there
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October 11th, 2020, 13:06
Well, the positive is, that the ebents are like "choice & consequence".
Thank you for adding more clarification for me.
I'll look further into it later (I'm currently more immersed into another game).
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October 11th, 2020, 18:00
Added a few images, too bad their number is limited.
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October 20th, 2020, 13:00
Hum. I realized there was already a long review of this game, just at another place, in the articles. So you can ignore this one.

I'm confused, in the "How to add a review", it is instructed that:
In this forum you can write your game reviews, comment on those reviews or share your thoughts on the game with us.

You cannot create a new thread in this forum. You have to go through our games database to search for the game you want to comment on and click on the 'Add / View Comments' link once you've found it.
That's what I did. And yet it seems the reviews are actually in the articles, also accessible from the database but from another link. So I suppose it's reserved to the 'staff'.
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November 16th, 2020, 10:57
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Hum. I realized there was already a long review of this game, just at another place, in the articles. So you can ignore this one.

I'm confused, in the "How to add a review", it is instructed that:


That's what I did. And yet it seems the reviews are actually in the articles, also accessible from the database but from another link. So I suppose it's reserved to the 'staff'.
I think you may be referring to my Kingmaker review back in 2018?

If you want your review to be published, send Myrthos a PM.
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November 16th, 2020, 11:55
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
I think you may be referring to my Kingmaker review back in 2018?

If you want your review to be published, send Myrthos a PM.
Thanks for the info!

Yes, I was referring to your review. But even if there have been changes to the game since then, it's still much better presented and more complete than my attempt

Maybe I'll try for a next game which hasn't been covered here yet.
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November 16th, 2020, 11:57
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Thanks for the info!

Yes, I'm referring to that review, last updated early 2019. Written by you if I'm not mistaken Even if there have been changes to the game since then, it's still much better presented and more complete than my attempt

Maybe I'll try for a next game which hasn't been covered here yet.
Yes, I've written it I liked your review too and would love to see your review on other games too - just drop a PM to Myrthos when you decide to write one.
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November 16th, 2020, 14:01
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
Yes, I've written it I liked your review too and would love to see your review on other games too - just drop a PM to Myrthos when you decide to write one.
Thanks!

I don't know about you, but for me, it takes a while to play enough of a game of this genre to write anything meaningful, especially when time is scarce. Then it also takes some quality time to write a review correctly, so it's not easy to come up with anything before most people have already finished the game

Perhaps with Solasta: Crown of the Magister, even if it's only in Early Access. At least there are always the undecided who haven't played it yet. Seems like a good strategy, we'll see
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November 16th, 2020, 15:56
@Redglyph late to the party but I would love to read more reviews from you as well. As purpleblob said you just have to contact Myrthos and submit the review.

I used to do a lot of interviews on this site.
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November 16th, 2020, 22:10
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Thanks!

I don't know about you, but for me, it takes a while to play enough of a game of this genre to write anything meaningful, especially when time is scarce. Then it also takes some quality time to write a review correctly, so it's not easy to come up with anything before most people have already finished the game

Perhaps with Solasta: Crown of the Magister, even if it's only in Early Access. At least there are always the undecided who haven't played it yet. Seems like a good strategy, we'll see
Exact same as me. I was lucky with Kingmaker review - I've been playing it since early access phase and had plenty of time to play after it was released too since I was in between jobs.

I think Solasta would be a good one - you can submit it as a preview!

I also plan to write preview for Wrath of the Righteous once it hits beta phase
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November 17th, 2020, 21:18
Looking forward to it!
I mean, reading the preview of course
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