I recently bought a PlayStation 4 and seemingly completely switched to the dark side of the Force, changing my old “baking” habits. What strategies, what indie and isometric RPG, when there is a wonderful new world-God of War, Heavy Rain, Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn… but for two days in a row the gamepad is discharged sirotlessly somewhere on the couch, a new console is covered with dust, and Kratos with Atreem somewhere there, on the other side of the large-format TV, feel betrayed and abandoned me to fend for themselves in the woods. Well, excuse me, got Pillars of Eternity III: Deadfire, and the laptop is again not just a typewriter: with red sleepless eyes I’ve been on the seas for a huge statue, a doll possessed by a dead (supposedly) God Eotas.
On land and sea
It was by the grace of the God of sun and light Eotas who returned to life that the citadel of the main character of the first part, the Guardian, able to see the souls of the dead and read their memories, was destroyed, and he himself died. But the other gods returned him to his mortal body and charged him with tracking eotas to find out where He was going and what he was up to — the only way we can get back some of his stolen soul.
In pursuit of a huge statue we go on our own ship, because the giant rushed straight to the archipelago of Dead Fire, where a lot of water, Islands and wild… natives. From my preview of the beta version, you already know that the ship in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is not a luxury, but a real vehicle with which you can and need to explore the world, discover new Islands, coming up with their names, and fight with pirates. Therefore, I will remind you only briefly: the ship can be repaired and upgraded and it is necessary to hire a team, choosing from more or less experienced sailors, boatswains, gunners and other specialists of Maritime Affairs.
For ship have to buy guns and core, repair kits and sails for the team — food, water, medicines. And, of course, wards regularly ask for salary. All this, including even the quality of food, affects their morale and affects the outcome of sea battles, which are implemented here in the form of unique text quests.
However, this does not mean that the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire turned into a sort of isometric “Corsairs”. This is still an “old-school” party RPG in its essence-with detailed character generation, including the choice of biography and origin, with a bunch of chatty companions, a solid role-playing system and familiar battles: in real time, but with a controlled pause.
Most of the time we spend on land, but the appearance of the sea and ships really opened up an additional layer in the gameplay, adding diversity and interesting research of the world. You leave the port and head on the right in the story the island, but on the way out of the clouds emerges the other Islands of land, which clearly can be something to profit, you will meet pirates, the head of which is assigned a reward. Or the corsairs find you and ask you to deal with someone by sneaking into the Fort on the other end of the map. And all this you want to do, all this is incredibly addictive, teasing your inner pirate and sailor and promising new adventures.
Well, there, on the plot of the island, you spend hours exploring the six areas of the huge city and happy to see how swells from the job your magazine. You can work for different trading companies, whose interests clearly intersect, the local native power, smugglers, you can look for food and medicines for the caste of the poor and the poor, help to find peace of mind, to fish for information from local prostitutes, to steal rich estates or to catch thieves who robbed one of the shops.
And I just about one island, they say — but there are others, with their settlements and quests. And companions – as friends in the first part, and new faces — are always ready to throw problems. Our old friend Eder, for example, wants to find his girlfriend, lost somewhere on the Islands, and a new servant of the order Of Dawn asks to help her collect the lost souls, which she catches in her strange lantern.
At the same time, each quest here is sure to have its own back side and twist. If someone was beaten and robbed, you will certainly find out that he asked for it, and you still have to decide who is right and who is to blame. If the spirit of the deceased woman asks to cremate her body, be sure: she was not just left to die alone and refused to put on fire. If you take to help a large mother to sail off the island on the ship, the captain of the ship there are only three empty seats for six of her children — and this problem will also have to deal with you.
I got this role
And in each case, each dialogue is a bunch of checks for compliance with the level of skills that would help to find a solution or get more information. In Pillars of Eternity II valued diplomacy, bluff, intimidation, religion, knowledge of the streets, history, athletics and even metaphysics.
Accordingly, almost every quest we solve differently. The problem of food for the poor can be solved in three different ways. And to get medicine for sick sea fever, or you need to kill one of the merchants or wait until night and Rob another (after overhearing the conversation of the guards and find they nights go for a walk to the pub), or just buy a drug, if a lot of money. Or hire a killer, so he dealt with the shopkeepers for you.
This, of course, is not Tyranny, which immediately forced to decide the fate of entire Nations and put the hardest moral dilemmas, but here, even deciding whether to give the widow a purse with the money of her dead husband or leave it to yourself, you still play the role — money in the game is always not enough, and conscience torments. And such situations arise constantly.
All of us
And all this in the sequel is supported by the fact that the game has become better, it has become easier to play, more comfortable and interesting. Useful skills, as I said, there are more, and the skills of the party members are formed in a common Treasury, allowing hope not only for themselves but also for their comrades. There was an opportunity already at the start to create multi-class characters, getting instead of the usual, for example, a paladin of some pastor, intercessor, fanatic or knight-magician. In addition, now immediately visible all the abilities in each branch of talent — it allows you to plan in advance how and in what direction to develop.
In battles you are free to use all available spells and skills, without fear that any of them will be unavailable until the next rest. Fights thanks to it became more dynamic and spectacular. Especially given the fact that once a fight for any reception or “spell” can be strengthened 10 times.
All the important dialogues voiced, expressive, and quests no longer scare the young people with walls of dense text — all became shorter, and the case is not lost in this depth and literary flair.
From other “amenities in the room” I note the modified interface, the appearance of hyperlinks to unfamiliar names and names in the dialogues and a new reputation screen, which you clearly show with whom and why you are friends, what actions, topics and words each of the partners can cause irritation, and which — approval. So now you can pick up a point party, so no one quarreled, for example, on religion. Or, on the contrary, to pit all, then to the cynical grin to watch the showdown — so even more fun. Thanks to such a detailed system of values for each member of the party partners in the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire look even more alive — they are more often, emotionally respond to all the words and deeds, which directly affects the relationship with the main character, and with each other.
The authors care so much about the player that they even allow, as I said, to hire a killer to solve the problems for us. This does not mean that the game has become very much easier. No, at high levels of difficulty, and even in the “Test of iron”, where exactly one save is available, hardcore is still enough. Just play became more comfortable and more pleasant.
Leaving behind the eternal problems of Obsidian with the technical implementation (crashes here happen, but it is quite fixable things), we can say that the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire looks like a perfect sequel. Moreover-as an ideal isometric RPG from Obsidian in principle: it is felt that the authors have accumulated all their rich experience and made the game, which found a place for all the “old-school” joys and traditions, and for new trends and mechanics. And all this is well adjusted to each other — there is nothing superfluous, and the game itself tries to do everything to make the public comfortable, convenient and wildly interesting.