You play a newcomer to the lands of Dyrwood, a nation in the fantasy world of Eora, where science and magic live side by side. You decide what character you should play – male, female, human, elf, fighter, magic user… you have a massive amount of choices to choose from so start by grabbing a big cup of tea and take some time to customize your character.
As the game starts, you are one of the travellers in a caravan headed to the cities. Something goes wrong – and soon you are fleeing and travelling all over the world trying to save your mind.
The story is good. I won’t say it is excellent storywriting and I get the feeling it was a bit rushed at the end, but it is definitely good. The quests you will recieve while playing are also interesting and very enjoyable. Note that in order to get the full experience by the game you shouldn’t be afraid of having to read a lot: Stories and quests are largely experienced in dialogues.
In fact, you get no experience points at all from defeating monsters (except for some bonuses after a certain amount) – the majority of experience points is received when you complete quests.
In the game you control a group of up to six people. One is your main character, the others are people you meet on your travels. They have all their own agenda and personality and you can get to know them better by talking to them as you travel. I really liked how the NPC characters were written and one of my favourite parts of the game was getting to know the people I travelled with.
It is also possible to “recruit” new group members in all taverns in the world – this allows you to customize an NPC exactly how you want him or her in order to balance the group.
Combat is great. I miss a few features (especially being able to tell NPCs to “don’t move from this spot”) but all-in-all I loved combat. You can pause at any time in order to plan your next move or to give new orders.
When it comes to graphics, I didn’t find Pillars of Eternity breathtaking or amazing, but it is not an eyesore either. If you have played isometric RPGs when you were younger, you will feel some nostalgia because the surroundings are very similar to what you may remember. My only peeve is that the player character is not as customizable as I would have wished it would be.
As in all RPG games, loot is important. It’s fun to find new items and to equip your characters. There is also a (very optional) crafting system. I played at normal difficulty and didn’t have to use any crafted items up until the very end.
So, should you play this? If you like RPGs or pen and paper roleplay, the answer is yes. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the metacritic score – it isn’t just nostalgia that makes this game good.