Posted in CRPG, CRPGs

Pillars of Eternity 2 goes down smooth like butterscotch and rum

I’ve been sorting through my gaming backlog for a good title to play during lunchtime, and Pillars of Eternity 2 slid onto my lap as the obvious candidate. I think Pillars of Eternity 1 may be the last CRPG I’ve fully played through and beaten (expansions aside), and I’ve heard pretty good things about the sequel, even though it underperformed financially.

I don’t think enough recognition’s been given to Obsidian for creating CRPGs that don’t involve frustrating camera controls and fiddly turn-based combat (Divinity Original Sin 2 is getting some side-eyes from me here). It’s quite familiar to anyone who’s ever played those old Infinity Engine titles like Baldur’s Gate 2, just gussied up for the modern age. And hey, the sequel is pirate-themed, so why wouldn’t I play it?

I had the option of importing my old character and choices from the first game, although I did neither. POE2 also allows you to hand-pick every choice or pick a general summary, including a tempting one called “Everything Bad” where you’ll have to play in the wake of making an uninterrupted string of horrible decisions. I wasn’t quite brave enough to pull the trigger on that (I really didn’t want certain NPC party members to be dead at the onset of this game), but so I went with something more in the middle.

This time around, I rolled up a fuzzy little Orlan Druid who specializes in summoning critters in a fight and is generally sarcastic and flippant during conversations. The story has me chasing around a giant god who’s on a rampage through a chain of islands, doing the usual CRPG stuff of finding party members, doing quests, and gradually becoming Grade-A Amazing.

What else is there to say? So far, I’m having a good time. I love how these games are drenched in good writing and dialogue and voice acting. It goes such a long way to drawing me into this world, and I appreciate how many little choices I can make simply in a conversation. The graphics are decent — not astounding but workable. It’s probably the game’s weakest point, although it’s not all that weak as long as you are cool with an art style that looks lifted from 2000.

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