Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is out now and has been a while coming to consoles after the PC version launched on Steam and GOG back in May 2018. From what I have read and understand, there is also a Nintendo Switch port coming some point in December 2020 so that’s one to watch out for if you have a Switch.
This sequel is set 5 years after the events of the first game. Once again, the game is set in Eora and you – the player – takes on the role of The Watcher. Eothas, the god of rebirth and light, who was believed dead, awakens under you stronghold Caed Nua. His awakening isn’t peaceful, however, and he obliterates your stronghold and drains the souls of everyone within the vicinity. The Watcher does have part of his/her soul torn away, but does survive as Berath, the God of death, offers to restore the soul in exchange of becoming a herald and take on the task of pursuing Eothas across the Deadfire Archipelago to find out what he is doing.
When you start, you do have the option to pull in an end-of-game saved character form the first game, and the choices you made will affect the world in various small ways throughout play. Personally, for me, I had to start a new character as my prior saves are on PC and PS4 and there is no cross-save facility available.
With starting this way, you will choose one of six variations in the way you played the first game, going from Extremely Good – where you do everything asked without question, scaling down to Evil Incarnate. After this, you are free to create your character how you want, so I decided on my usual Dwarven Warrior-type for fantasy games. Much like most RPGs, regardless of whether it is an older title like Neverwinter Nights, or something new like an Elder Scrolls game, you choose your skills and the type of weapons with which you want to start. Then as you play, you can decide how you want to carry on, maybe doing a dual class to be able to heal, so you essentially become a Paladin or Warrior Monk type thing.
Of course, like other RPGs, in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, you will meet a large number of folks around the towns and areas you search. Many of these NPCs will give additional quests, but some will also want to join your party which comes in handy. From the moment you land on the first island, you have a companion who is a swashbuckling rogue and he’s great at opening up locked chests if you haven’t unlocked that skill for your main character. You will also come across a mage in the first town you visit, who believes she can send souls that you find to the light, and you will recognise another mage from the first game, after you head out to a quarry on a quest.
The maximum party size is 4, and you can dismiss someone who will head to your base if you come across someone you want in your party, or who is required to have to do a specific quest. In the first town, your base is a room and you can recruit ex-party members back from there.
The game, itself, sees you traversing a large overland map with areas that can be explored dotted around. Each area you visit then has it’s own self contained map to explore, where you may find caves or hideouts that are linked to quests, or could have some new loot or weapons. The combat side of things can be played in one of two ways, and you will make that choice before you start the game. Much like the old Wizards of the Coast Games – such as like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale – you have the option to play ‘real time with pause’.
Using this combat style, you can pause combat to issue orders to your team, then un-pause for the actions to happen. You can set the game to pause on combat, which gives you a good look at the battle before it actually starts, which is really handy. The ‘real time with pause’ system is my preferred play style. Now, for those that don’t like this style combat, you also have the option to play using a turn-based combat system. This is where the enemies and your characters take turns to hit one another until you or your enemies die. Personally, I don’t like turn-based combat, as in a real situation you wouldn’t say hang on a sec while I hit you, then you hit me!!!
Visually the game is as beautiful as the first one, and the sound is absolutely fantastic with all-important conversations being voiced, so you don’t have reams of text to read through. Each area you will visit on the Archipelago, has it’s own distinct look, and not forgetting you will be sailing round these islands, instead of just one large continent.
I have loved Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire as much as I loved the first game. The controls are intuitive enough, but did take me a little while to get to grips with them given I played the first game on PC last time around. I actually had to look online to find out how to talk to a companion! This game is absolutely superb and the wait for arrival on console has been worth it. This is one of the very few games that I will keep playing until I finish it, that I have received for review, as I am loving it that much!
To sum up I highly recommend this, so go buy it if you have never played the PC version, or buy it again if you fancy kicking back relaxing on the sofa and play it with a controller.
- Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
- Publisher: Versus Evil, Obsidian Entertainment
- 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!