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сряда, 13 май 2015 г.

Pillars of Eternity - EN





As you're probably aware if you're following the blog I'm huge RPG and fantasy fan, so when I heard about Pillars of Eternity I was really hyped! For those of you who are not aware (somehow) Pillars of Eternity is a fantasy RPG in the style of classic games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. It is developed by Obsidian and it came out on 25th of March. If this got your attention then continue reading, because here comes my belated review of Pillars of Eternity.



The World



Eternity's world is one full of magic and life. In the very beginning of the game you will stumble upon ancient ruins, huge magical artefacts, magic traps, numerous caves and dungeons. Also every locations is different and distinctive from the previous - forests, villages, swamps, coast areas, cities. But what makes the world feels alive is the changing environment. During your adventures rain will pour on your party, lightnings will trick your eyes into seeing things, fogs will hide dangers and treasures and last but not least there is day and night cycle which will create realistic feeling of passing time.  



Oh and almost forgot Eternity's world is open. From the start you can try to go anywhere, the question is will you be able as there are strong enemies that may prove too much for your party if you get there too early. But this only increases the trill of exploring. And while it is not necessary to explore every corner of the world, it can be rewarding as you will find dungeons, side quests and hidden treasures also you will get experience for every new area you find. Exploring also will help for emersion in the game as you will find all kinds of books, stories and bits of lore which if you're story lover as I'm will make the game even more enjoyable. Mentioning the story...



Story and Lore( may content light spoilers )



You turn out to be something called a Watcher, someone who is able to talk with ghosts from the past, see the past of people and events with those people. You're phenomenon, something that little understand and many fear, because often Watchers go crazy and become violent. Your main task will be to find more about your condition and learn how to keep your sanity. 

The story is interesting and well told, with a lot of conversations and lines to pick from while talking with people. Also you will meet a lot of interesting and distinctive characters, most of which even have their own voices. Some of  them you will be able to recruit while others will just give you quests and tell you stories - personal and about the world. 



From the very beginning the game successfully creates the feeling that your adventure is taking part in an old world, filled with history and past events. Big role for this play the main character's ability but also all the ancient ruins, monuments and buildings you find and the stories that you will find about them, There is almost no place without a book, letter, scroll or words carved in stone. But even where such are not found your characters will find other things that tell about the past such as nests of birds, toys or broken pottery.
Important thing to mention is that there is a lot of decision making in the game and its vital for the future of your adventure what you do from the very beginning. Angering the wrong man, killing someone because he upset you somehow may strike back at you when you least expect it to. 

Also there are factions in the game and many characters are be part of them. Your reputation with those factions will play role in how people react to you and your actions. 


Friends, Party and Fights


While it’s true that half of Eternity is the story other big part of it are the battles with different opponents. Unlike many RPGs here you will lead a band of adventurers and almost never will be alone on your quest. It is probably possible to try and explore alone but the game is not designed to be playable by only one character. You will get wrecked by the bands of enemies. This brings us back to your party.

During your wanders in the world you will meet many characters that will want to join you, but you will never be pressed to take them with you. "Then how will I fill my party, two or three of us will not be enough." you may say. And the answer is that there are a lot of places from where you can hire adventurers which are blank at start and it’s in your hands to mould them. This is allowing you to build the party you want and not the one that the game offers you. Now both options for companions have their benefits. Characters you meet will come with helpful skills, items and some levels under their belt, while hirelings will start from scratch. But will be yours to develop turning them in this one link you're missing in your party.



Now when you know about your party let's talk about the action part. In battle you will rely on the very well-known from Baldur's Gate and Dragon Age "pausable-real time battle system". Unlike Dragon Age though you will not have the luxury to neglect the control that the pause gives you. Leaving your party to auto-attack and take care of the enemy on their own will often result in mass death. But even when you try your best if you have lost practice from Baldur or never played such games you will still die. The game is challenging and it is obvious from the start, because the it clearly states that even Normal difficulty may prove too much for unexperienced players. But Eternity is not by any stretch unfair. Once you get the hang of the fights you will breeze through many of them and when your whole party is slaughtered you will be able to understand why and try to avoid it in feature. Also if you're a veteran in this genre of games you can always try the harder difficulties like Iron mode where you have only one save and it is deleted when you die.


Tabletop and Pillars of Eternity


In Eternity you will see many mechanics which will be familiar to you if you have played any board game RPGs or old computer RPGs. Those include rolls to hit and interrupt, skill checks to open locks and doors and stats affecting conversation options. This effectively brings you back to the days of Baldur's Gate and Plancescape.

Conclusion


Pillars of Eternity is a massive RPG experience, not only because of its 70 hours gameplay, but also because of its massive, detailed magical, living world. It is something created to revive the love for old RPG classics. And it has done great job. There is no element that is a miss; from the strategic battles to the rich story filled with lore and faithful choices. If you have played Baldur's Gate and have enjoyed it, if you have played Divine Divinity: Original Sin and loved it then Eternity should be your next game. But one advice from me. If you don't like to read a lot, don't touch it, because the story is big part of this game. It is not something that just goes along the action; it is something that changes because of your actions. Not reading the dialogues and the story will be like playing without graphics.



Of course when you create something so massive and complicated like Pillars of Eternity there will be things that won’t be perfect. One such thing that comes to my mind is the auto pathfinding. At crucial times it may bring down your whole party because your tank is stuck behind your archer and mage...But this happens very rarely. Other thing that will rarely get in the way is the inability to rotate the camera. This is direct consequence from the tight sticking to retro graphics and engines. Which while I understand that it is done on purpose, I'm not sure is it good or bad. But those are minor flaws that in no way change the fact that Pillars of Eternity is amazing adventure that only you can decide how will end.

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