Well, that headline was embarrassing. Fear not, our headline writer has just been sacked and replaced with a mindless stooge [it’s Dave. It’s always been Dave -ed.] who has agreed to write boring headlines for half the price. While it was embarrassing, this headline was relevant to the game at hand, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which has a Golden Age of Piracy vibe mixed in with its Infinity Engine roots. Why should we care? Because PoE2: Deadfire releases today.
The first Pillars of Eternity from Obsidian was throwback to the classic Bioware RPGs of yesteryear, namely the Infinity Engine games: Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. When I say throwback, I mean it was literally exactly like those games, albeit with a bigger, deeper story and much, much better graphics. There were tweaks here and there, but when I first loaded it up, I was transported back to 1998, which is not a bad thing. The Infinity Engine might be the best RPG engine ever devised and why it took this long for someone to make a new RPG with this system is beyond me. Well, Obsidian did and knocked it out of the park.
The biggest difference between PoE and those earlier Infinity Engine titles is the lack of a D&D license. PoE has its own RPG system and isn’t based on anything going on over at WotC. While this annoyed me (I know the D&D rules, so building characters was second nature in those old games), the system they created is deep and yet easy to grok. Another RPG that used a similar engine and released around the same time, Divinity: Original Sin, has a system that I have yet to master. In Divinity I always feel like my character builds are subpar, whereas in PoE I don’t feel like I’m guessing. As all the kids are saying these days, YMMV.
That said, I never did finish the original PoE. It was a barrel of fun, but I may be too old to put this kind of time into a video game [looking at the time Dave spends playing Factorio, I doubt this. -ed.]. Similarly, campaign style tabletop games generally remain unplayed due to the time commitment as well. Maybe I’m just a loser? [a broken clock, and all that… -ed.] Whatever the cause, I plan on heading back into PoE at some point down the road and finishing the campaign, mainly so I can then leap into PoE2, which looks amazing.
An island chain comprising a huge city, fiery volcanoes, mighty pirates, and desolate sandbars, you’ll navigate the Deadfire on your ship. Of course, exploring the open world will lead to any number of encounters, some helpful, some dangerous. You may even come upon undiscovered lands. Assemble your crew, board your ship, and may the wind be always at your back!
Not only does the game feature an island-hopping campaign, but you start off with a ship that you can equip, upgrade, and man with different crew and just the thought of having my own ship is enough to get me to, maybe, skip the ending of PoE and move right into this one.
Your trusty ship, the Defiant, is your main means of getting around the Deadfire’s open-world. It’s also your home base, and that of your companions, and your crew.
You’ll be able to upgrade it, hire new crew members, and even take it into combat using a dedicated ship-to-ship combat system developed especially for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Build up enough wealth, and you’ll be able to buy larger, and more impressive ships, too!
The game also introduces a new companion relationship system which will allow your NPC cohorts to interact with each other and the world in ways they couldn’t before, making them feel more like tiny little people than sprites you can order to indiscriminately chuck fireballs.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is coming today to PC/Mac/Linux via Steam. Because it’s 2018 you can’t just go select it and order without some complications. The usual “Deluxe” and “Super Deluxe” versions are both available as well, which always puts me in a bind. My wallet says that I don’t need that parrot in-game pet, but my parrot-loving brain says I do. My wallet is dumb.