Available on PC
One of the really beautiful things about games is the freedom that developers now have to obtain funds and create the kind of projects they are passionate about. The original Pillars Of Eternity, a vast, complex and deep RPG of Obsidian, was funded by a global army of fanatics who were more than prepared to spend their money to demonstrate that there was a clear appetite for a subgenre than the big publishers, understandably, they have refused in the last decade.
The original game was a great success, re-establishing Obsidian as a studio in charge of its own destiny, instead of relying on (often excellent) work projects such as Fallout New Vegas and South Park The Stick Of Truth. And in Deadfire, the sequel even bigger and somehow even more dense, you can feel the passion and commitment of Obsidian with this series and genre in each pixel.
It's important to keep in mind that as good as Pillars Of Eternity 2: Deadfire is, it's not for everyone Those with a really short attention span can have difficulties: there are long conversation trees, a deep list of characters with intertwined relationships and constantly changing, an endless amount of guides, tutorials and systems, and a pace that may seem glacially slow if you're accustomed to action games.
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However, if you know what you're getting into, or you like the idea of diving head first into a huge and role that consume life and that require patience, dedication and concentration, then Pillars Of Eternity 2 Deadfire could well be the masterpiece you've been looking for. Like a great book, this is a layered, dense and challenging game.
You play as The Watcher, the protagonist of the previous game who has the ability to speak to the dead. While prior knowledge of the game's past is useful, it is not necessary that you have played the original, and while you play as a specific character, there is a great variation in the choice of class, charges and personality traits.
This time, the action takes place through a huge archipelago of Deadfire, which means that you will actually be doing some navigation on your most splendid ship, The Defiant. Before that, however, you'll have to familiarize yourself with the game's central lapses, conversations, missions and, of course, combat.
Pillars Of Eternity 2 uses a dynamic pause system, so, technically, the combat moves in real time. But you can line up your attacks by stopping the action on the screen and letting your characters act like a spiral spring. This allows both the tactical depth and the frenetic pace of real time, which means that combat can be placed between pensive as a turn-based strategy game and manic as Diablo.
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As is the style, you play as a member of a larger party, so you'll have to be tactfully astute in how you can polish to the members of your group and combine their various powers to succeed. There is a system that allows the AI of the game to automatically select all the abilities of your group, if you prefer to concentrate on yourself, but the real magic comes from delving into each menu and conjuring a mixture of powers that suits the specific encounter in the that you are .
Beyond combat, those familiar with the genre will know the score. You click on the environments to move, and almost all missions and moments of importance arise from conversations. Obsidian has always proven to be the operator at the highest level with regards to branching dialogue and strong character-based writing, and this is one of the best studio jobs.
It would take more than a hundred hours to find all possible conversations in this great archipelago, but it is worth the investment. Each interaction reinforces the world or history (by the way, you are hunting for a giant), or it is so interesting that you will really forget the main mission and you will be completely enthralled with whatever they ask you to do.
After a brief and strictly controlled prologue, you are free to explore and take as much time as you want in Deadfire. Dedicated players could spend months here.
And if you want to explore, you'll need that ship. However, do not expect Sea Of Thieves: this is still a point-and-click issue and, as such, navigating Pillars Of Eternity 2 feels a little clumsy. However, there is enough place on board your boat and dangers from outside, which makes navigation completely forgivable.
You will spend some time managing the morale and interactions of your team. This almost becomes a game in itself, while making difficult decisions about their crew's food, or looking for distant islands to hire new members away from the drunken nights at the local tavern.
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There are also many fights to be done at sea. Here, the combat really turns into turns. They take you to a different screen and you have to carefully plan your actions from a menu, either by moving your ship, adjusting the speed or, of course, firing. Like the best turn-based games, stories emerge from the slow rhythm and constantly changing battlefield, and it is even possible to capture memories of the genre's bearer, Xcom, in dramatic encounters in the ocean.