Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous, from Owlcat games, is the second game to be made from the Pathfinder table-top RPG. The first game in the series Kickstarter was used to fund it, and it launched to praise albeit many bugs which were promptly fixed. I only discovered Pathfinder: Kingmaker around 6 weeks ago, and have been playing the Xbox One version recently, prior to Wrath of the Righteous.
This new release doesn’t follow on from the previous game, and you do not need to have any knowledge of the series to jump in on this second Pathfinder outing. It has its own self-contained story and characters, as well as plenty quality of life (QoL) improvements making things easier for the player.
The story is about saving the world. A worldtear (a vast chasm) has opened up and demons have been coming out of it attacking the various towns and cities in the locale. You start out not knowing who you are, after being attacked and left with a wound on your chest. You have been carried into Kenabres after being found and there is a fete going on around you. After being saved, you can look at a few different things in the fete before there is a demonic attack leading to you ending up in a cave after the ground opens up. Now it is time to get out the cave and save the world with your stalwart band of companions, then lead a crusade to take the fight back to the demons.
Starting out, you have the Character Creator. In this, you can pick a pre-made hero if you wish to get you started, or go through it yourself and set up a character that you want. There is a good selection of races to choose from as well as the usual alignment choices. What REALLY stands out, however, is the huge list of twenty five classes, with each class having sub classes available from which to choose. Once done, you’ll go through the various feats & deity in order to start the game. At first it can be a little overwhelming, but take your time and read about the different choices, and you’ll be able to get a character that you have set up exactly how you want. If all else fails, you can respec your character if you want to change once you get to the Defenders Heart.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – much like the previous Kingmaker – has two different game types. There’s the normal self-contained areas you and your companions will visit to complete quests, plus the crusade where you will be building an army and sending them off to kill the demon hordes scattered across the map.
The main gameplay plays in a similar way to Pillars of Eternity, where you control your team in an area taking out enemies, whilst going after objectives. For the combat side of things, you have ‘real time with pause’, which has been a popular choice since Baldur’s Gate, plus turn-based, if that is your thing, where you can move within a certain range and set up spells and attacks.
Personally, I have never been a fan of turn-based combat, so stuck with what I know and love: real time with pause. Once you have done what you need to do in an area, you then click the compass icon, which takes you to a map screen in order to move along the roads to different areas. One of the QoL improvements here, is that areas that have quests associated with them have a red exclamation mark beside the name, and hovering over the area tells you the quest and any specific characters you may need, making life easier. Additionally, you’ll occasionally get a text-based bit of the adventure, requiring you to make choices as to what you will do, much like the afore-mentioned Pillars of Eternity.
The new game mode this time around, is the Crusade. Here, you purchase units to add to the army and a general if you have the funds. This time you have a larger world map and head out on the roads, fighting the various demons you come across, so your character and party can move past where roads are normally blocked, in order to achieve quest goals. Some quests can only be completed if you choose to keep the Crusade mode on manual control, which has 3 different difficulty settings, thankfully. The Crusade battles, themselves, I find a bit tedious. I was hoping for something like the Total War games for the Crusade, but literally, you get a screen with a square grid, showing your general on the left, and the units represented by a single character with number beside them indicating their strength.
Then, you’ll just move until your units meet the enemy units, and then take turn hitting each other. I noticed that even when you have soldiers hitting an enemy from behind, they don’t do any more damage than they would directly from the front, which is a bit irksome. You can buff your units with spells etc, with your general, but it does very little to help.
After spending a few hours on the Crusade, taking my main party to numerous areas, I ended up in a situation where they couldn’t move any further, with roads blocked by demons and I had no campaign army. I forwarded time for days in-game, but didn’t get an option to buy any more troops and started thinking my now 18-hour save was a dud, requiring me to start again. Thankfully, whilst playing, you can set the crusade to automatic (once set to automatic, though, you cannot set it back to manual). This was a life saver and all the crusade demons etc disappeared off the map, and I managed to just start moving about the map and push towards the main objective.
There is so much world lore and reams of text to read through whilst playing, and it really fleshes out the world. Most main characters are fully voiced, so when discussing objectives and the like, it gives a good impression of the characters. Occasionally, I did start to feel some of the text was going on and on, so I just skimmed over it clicking continue to get to the next choice. You do have to go through a fair bit of text at times, talking to companions as it unlocks their personal quests. There are a large amount of said companions to choose from, and much like all games in this style, some may not get on with others because of their choices and alignments, and this adds some interesting conversations when you are at a campfire resting.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous caters for all skills and tastes with the gameplay and options. Like I previously mentioned, I set the Crusade to automatic, as I just kept getting beaten and frustrated with it. You can also set your character and party members to Auto-level Up, but with this, you still have to click on the Plus symbol next to their name, and then complete. After actioning one character, then click the character screen icon again, as it jumps out back to the game screen, and you can do this for everyone else. I don’t know why it doesn’t just stay on said character screen, and then click someone else from the icons at the bottom.
Thankfully, this time around, you cannot fail the main quest like Kingmaker, where after so many days have passed you can fail the main story. The only requirement on WotR is finishing side quests which are tied to a chapter, and they have a red hourglass next to them in the journal as a reminder.
I have really enjoyed my time with Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, especially after setting the Crusade mode to automatic. If you like cRPGs, then this is a must-have title and well worth picking up. I have only encountered one or two minor bugs, like shadows tearing across the screen, as if something is wrong with the VRAM on the graphics card (my card is fine and this is the only game it happens on). There is currently no gamepad support, but that is getting added at a later date when the console versions come out.
Thanks to our friends at META Publishing for supplying us with the review code.
- Developer: Owlcat Games
- Publisher: META Publishing
- Players: Single player only
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!