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Game Info:

Pillars of Eternity
Developed By: Obsidian Entertainment
Published By: Paradox Interactive
Released: March 26, 2015
Available on: Windows/Linux/Mac OSX
Genre: RPG
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Price: Price: $49.99 CAD, $44.99 USD DLC(Individually): $16.99 CAD, $14.99 USD DLC(Pass): $27.99 CAD, $24.99 USD 
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Fueled by Obsidian’s desire to return to games like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and the other story driven isometric rpgs, comes Pillars of Eternity, which raised $1.6M in 5 days on Kickstarter. With more mature themes than some games, Pillars of Eternity deals with gods, souls and past lives. Complete with a fully customizable player character and party, the game is ultimately yours to discover.

The gameplay itself is an isometric top down RPG, where you control your main player character, and in combat control your other characters. Movement is done with a point and click interface for movement, with your party following the player character, and other than using quick keys, such as space to pause, almost all interaction can be done with the mouse. 

Starting as a member of a caravan travelling to the Dyrwood, you are attacked for allegedly trespassing on holy ground. After escaping from ancient ruins while suffering odd effects, you set off to find out more about your condition. Winding up in the first town, you can pick up supplies, and meet your first two potential party members. Additionally, if you see fit, you can build a party of your own choosing at the Inn. With plenty of quests to help you get your bearings, I personally feel this game does a good job of getting you introduced to it, without any real hand holding. 

Pillars of Eternity
Highlights:

Strong Points: Amazing story, great character depth, lots of replay value
Weak Points: There was some character content that was cut due to time, which ends up causing two characters to not feel 100% fleshed out
Moral Warnings: This has many questionable decisions, features heavy use of magic, and involves murder, coarse language and sexual implications

Pillars of Eternity’s strongest points lay in the pre-made companion characters, quests, and main storyline. The story has successfully kept me hooked, and the companion interactions have been amazing. I won’t give away too many details, but there is definitely some interesting topics, and Obsidian Entertainment once again showcases how skilled they are with the grey areas. Even the “good guys” have their flaws. 

The combat, which may initially seem overwhelming to some, has the added benefit of both stopping time to adjust orders on the fly, as well as programming an AI to do basic abilities such as placing your cleric in a support role, or having your tank auto-engage the nearest enemy. More advanced commands, such as the Paladin’s Flames of Devotion, or per rest mage spells usually have to be cast manually, which isn’t much of an issue due to pausable combat.

 

Pillars of Eternity
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 20%
Violence - 3.5/10
Language - 1.5/10
Sexual Content - 2/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 3/10

While not the epitome of graphics, Pillars of Eternity is a gorgeous game, with an amazing backdrop, and well-drawn character sprites. The music fits well with the theme, and I have experienced no instability personally. Add in that Obsidian has offered a code to access the Beta branch of the game, for the adventurous users to test upcoming tweaks to gameplay and send in feedback. The interface itself is simple enough, that some poking around and reading the in game manual should help you figure out what is what. A minor note is that this game does include a lot of reading which can negatively affect some people’s opinion of the game. 

The game does deal with mature themes, including children born without souls, random ambushes for doing certain tasks, tough decisions that affect the outcome of the game, and many other heavy themes with spoilers attached. It also includes your standard RPG violence, and when enemies are defeated, their corpses remain if there’s any of that sweet sweet loot. 

With a price tag of $49.99 CAD($44.99 USD), an amazing story with multiple outcomes, different play styles for different classes (I have plans to start a playthrough as a ranger with a bear pet, and build a custom party of other rangers with bear pets), I can wholeheartedly recommend this for the more mature audiences. I myself beat the game once in 37 hours, first DLC included, and will be gearing up for the next DLC on February 16th, 2016 to make different choices, with a different class. It is a must play for anyone who fondly remembers the likes of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale or Planescape: Torment.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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