Pillars of Eternity: The Elf isn’t worth it

Maybe this is the summer of the CRPG for me. I’m progressing in two right now, Fallout 4 and Pillars of Eternity, and in both games I’ve made it further than I did in previous attempts. They both offer very different RPG experiences, not to mention perspectives.

I like Pillars of Eternity because it’s one of the smoothest RPGs in terms of design that I’ve handled over the past few years. I can get my head around these systems and am very familiar with it due to the heavy attempt to make this game a lot like the old Infinity titles. It’s not too difficult to figure out where to go or what to do, there are tons of sidequests, companions talk to each other, and there’s a ton of party combat. It’s a great pick-up-and-put-down experience for when I’m in the mood.

I’ve only had two quibbles with the game so far. The first is that the snooty noble Elf companion you pick up early on is the worst. Seriously, the worst. Sure, he’s a mage and has all sorts of powerful magic, but he dies when a fly smacks into his nose and the enemies seem to make a beeline right for him. By far, he’s died more than any other member of the party. The only reason I kept him around for as long as I did was that he was one of those voiced characters with a backstory and sidequests, but eventually I had enough and booted him so that I could bring in a Druid to help out. She’s doing great so far, by the way.

The other quibble is that several hours into the game, you arrive at a big city, and that always bogs me down. I just can’t warm up to urban exploration and questing in MMOs or CRPGs, and it’s the same here. I feel like it’s this wall I have to bash through, and it’s only by setting smaller goals (explore two sections of this larger area) that I’ve been able to make progress.

That said, everything else has been fantastic. Great stories, surprisingly engrossing lore, challenging but not impossible combat, and I get to design a character with two rapiers who is lightning fast and hard to hit.

Part of the appeal of this is that there’s a lot of content ahead: Pillars of Eternity has expansions, and when those are done, there’s always the sequel. I’d love to be able to import my character and continue her journeys in this world.

Anyone else carrying a torch for Pillars of Eternity or even playing it right now?

5 thoughts on “Pillars of Eternity: The Elf isn’t worth it

  1. I played Pillars for quite a while, and the dropped it. It’s just not that fun zig-zagging through the maps to uncover it 100%, facing the same encounters in a largely pre-ordained fashion, with the worst type of combat system in RPGs. I played BG1&2 and Torment (etc) back in the day, and that was fine… for the time. It does NOT hold up well, especially when you have played Divinity: Original Sin.

    The specific moment I dropped Pillars is after I fully explored the city, didn’t know where else to go, wandered into a new area, and my party died to a bear. Turns out the bear was an endgame bear or whatever, but with no indication that that was not an area I should go until I leveled up elsewhere. Realized I was just going through the motions, so I uninstalled.

  2. I’ve had PoE in my GoG library for a while now, but never got around to it. I’ve recently started playing it as I try to work through my back log. I find it quite fun. The difficulty settings actually matter for a change. Normally I just crank that up to the max (except permanent death) and still manage to complete a game reasonably well.

  3. Played about 75% of the game and didn’t want it to end so I stepped away for awhile – and never got back to it. Guess I need to finally finish the game since I was one of the members of the kickstarter campaign on the sequel and it’s sitting there right now untouched on my hard drive.

  4. “several hours into the game, you arrive at a big city, and that always bogs me down”

    This happens to me too. It’s actually as far as I’ve gotten in PoE2 — I do the whole initial island, then head to the big city and…. start a new character. Or I did that about 4 times anyway, and I’ve not picked that game back up in a while.

    PoE1 didn’t have the same roadblock for me, as the big city was broken up into several zones that were largely self-contained.

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