- Game: Pillars of Eternity
- Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed), PC
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
- A complimentary code was provided for this review.
Pillars of Eternity originated as a PC exclusive title a couple years ago and was met with a very warm response. The game presented a clear return to CRPGs (computer RPG) games of old and gave players a taste of what games were like in the Baldur’s Gate and early Fallout days. If you’re a fan of that genre, there’s certainly a lot to love about this game. However, you might find yourself wanting a mouse and keyboard for this title.
The game starts out and allows you to fully customize your character in terms of back story, class, race, etc. Pillars of Eternity sports the familiar isometric camera view similar to Diablo but features a completely different combat system. Pillars of Eternity gives you a real-time combat system but allows you to pause it to choose different abilities and such. The combat system works but can feel cumbersome if you compare it to games today and it may not feel all that natural with a controller. One major change from most RPGs is the fact that killing enemies doesn’t reward you with experience. This makes the player take on several quests to level up but that isn’t an entirely bad thing. Pillars of Eternity features strong writing and voice acting so it can be pretty fun to take on some of these additional quests.
For a game that originated as a Kickstarter campaign, it really is impressive to see the scale and size of this game. The quests are some of the best found in RPGs being that they aren’t boring to do. The game features little to no fetch quests which are always a common complaint because who wants to grab five frogs while the world is coming to an end? Pillars of Eternity does away with that and replaces them with well written quests.
Another strong point is the setting. The story takes place in the world of Eora which also features several different nations. The game does a great job of sweeping the player away and transplanting them into a different world altogether. Picking your class and race feels like an important choice so you make sure you fit into the world.
One major way Pillars of Eternity stands apart from other RPGs is the Endurance meter. Members of your party have both an Endurance and Health pool with both acting as similar things. If a party member’s Endurance pool is depleted they become knocked out in combat. However, if the Health pool runs out, that means that party member is gone forever. This makes every battle important but also nerve racking at the same time.
Pillars of Eternity is by no means the longest game in the world but it can still result in a time sink. If you’re just doing straight main story content then you should be able to breeze through the game but that would be doing yourself a huge disservice. Some of the quests even include some twists that take you off the beaten path which is a cool thing to see in a video game. If you play your cards right then you can crack 100 hours in this game and beyond.
Unfortunately this isn’t a game without its flaws. Since this has the feel of an old school computer RPG that means it is pretty text heavy. If you’re someone who wants to jump straight into action and not be held up then this game might not be the right one for you. We don’t really have the flashy, action packed cutscenes that we see in games today but instead we have walls of text. I have mentioned there being some voice acting but you will need to read the vast majority of this game. You also will have to pay very close attention to every battle so that means no fiddling around on your phone unless you want to say goodbye to your characters forever.
Pillars of Eternity proved it belongs in the top echelon of games back in 2015 with its release on PC. In 2017 it does feel like there is a place on consoles but it’s clear this game is better suited for the PC. That doesn’t make this game bad by any stretch but I’d probably recommend the PC version if have the option available.
I didn’t run into any performance issues on the console so you don’t have to worry about that. While the PS4 and Xbox One don’t seem like natural fits for this type of game it doesn’t really distract a ton from the experience. The lengthy campaign, what voice acting is there is good and strong ability to role play can transfer everywhere and those are three things that Pillars of Eternity can deliver. If you’re a fan of Baldur’s Gate or even the new Divinity: Original Sin then you should probably give this game a whirl.
- Excellent character creation options
- Lengthy story
- Strong voice acting (when there is voice acting)
- Good world building
- Great tactical combat
- Lots of reading
- Combat can be quite punishing at times
- Feels more natural with a mouse and keyboard