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Review RPG Codex Review: Darth Roxor on Disappointment, thy name is Pillars of Eternity

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by DarkUnderlord, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    Tags: Darth Roxor; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

    Darth Roxor has written a number of reviews for us at the Codex. He's covered a whole range of games both old and new such as Shadowrun Returns, NWN 2: Storms of Zehir and Darklands among others (which I'd have put here but the search function is still on my list of things to fix). So what was his take on Obsidian Entertainment's first KickStarter project: Pillars of Eternity?

    Despite the "hive mind consensus" that's often claimed, the Codex has always been about diversity of opinions. One of our founding tenets is that you are free to love or hate anything you want as long as you can explain why and back your opinion with arguments.

    And Darth's opinion is that PoE is not good, just not good at all. Here's a bite:

    When Obsidian Entertainment started their Kickstarter campaign for Pillars of Eternity in 2012 (under a working title of Project Eternity), many saw it as the second coming of Christ for cRPGs. There it was: the veteran developers from everyone’s beloved Black Isle Studios, reinforced by Tim Cain himself, wanted to bring us a modern successor to the Infinity Engine games. In their pitch, Obsidian described Eternity as something that would marry the combat of Icewind Dale, the narrative of Planescape: Torment and the exploration of Baldur’s Gate. Considering that a few years earlier Obsidian had given us the two Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions, Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir, that also fit parts of the above bill, it looked like there was no other choice but to get hyped.
    [...]
    Now, what do we make of PoE’s character system? Judged by its own merits, if I had to draw a comparison, I would call it the communism of character systems. Certainly, you have the feeling that everything you pick is kind of, sort of, equally useful (with some exceptions). But the flipside to this is that everything is also equally bland.
    [...]
    Your only reliable experience gains come from doing quests. That is certainly a reasonable approach by itself. It is however much less reasonable when you consider the amount of fighting you do in this game – all the trashmobs you steamroll through give you nothing, yet you are nevertheless forced to genocide them – most of this game’s playtime is spent fighting!
    [...]
    The bad encounter design and general lack of difficulty have one more very unfortunate result - they make exploring and dungeon-delving insanely boring. But make no mistake, this is also due to the dungeon design being very lacklustre to begin with.
    [...]
    Long story short, the stronghold has no use whatsoever. You can spend lots of money to fill it up with underlings and buildings, but nothing ever happens there. The buildings sell garbage. Your underlings don’t really do anything. Your free rest hall is behind 4 loading screens. You can even hold prisoners in a prison, and it has no effect on the game whatsoever. To say that the stronghold has been tacked on is the understatement of the century. Which is why I won’t even bother wasting more time talking about it.
    [...]
    The way the setting at large is presented to the player leaves a lot to be desired. PoE suffers a lot from its writers being obviously very proud of what they’ve done, so they make sure to tell you how awesome their setting is at every step – when an NPC starts talking about a distant place or a past event, brace yourself for a gigantic encyclopaedic infodump filled with dozens of alien names, regardless of whether the NPC is a commoner or a historian. This kind of exposition should be in the ‘cyclopedia’ section of the game’s journal, not in every second friggin’ dialogue.
    [...]
    Which brings us to what possibly surprised and disappointed me the most in PoE – the general writing quality is simply underwhelming. It never reaches any heights, it’s at best average and at worst abysmal. Everything is overly descriptive, very often just redundant and not leaving much for the player’s imagination. The majority of texts could easily be trimmed to one-third of their original size, which only tells me that PoE has never seen any editorial work apart from fishing out typos. One of the best examples I can think of is when you first meet Guy McBaddie the main villain, and the game makes sure to tell you at least three times that he is a bearded dude in a ceremonial robe and a fancy hat, even though the description is accompanied by two different illustrations in quick succession.​

    I'll let you read the rest and judge for yourself.

    Thanks to Darth Roxor for taking his time to review PoE for us, and stay tuned as we'll have some further perspectives on PoE before all is said and done.

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Darth Roxor on Disappointment, thy name is Pillars of Eternity
     
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  2. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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  3. Stinger Arcane

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    Where's the review we actually care about.
     
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  4. RK47 collides like two planets pulled by gravity Patron

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  5. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

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    The truth hurts, doesn't it?
     
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  6. Ed123 Arcane Patron

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  7. TripJack Prestigious Gentleman Hedonist

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    :abyssgazer:
     
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  8. Ed123 Arcane Patron

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    Roxor is a crusading iconoclast, GTFO of his way
     
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  9. sser Arcane Cuck Developer

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  10. Black Arcane

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    Hey, but that at least let them off the stretchgoal hook!
     
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  11. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Darth Roxor wrote: clone of Baldur’s Gate 1 that mindlessly copies all its flaws while actually dropping the things that made it work,

    Yuri wrote (april 6): Welcome to everything that made BG/IWD shit and nothing that made them work.

    You do not have permission to use my content, bitch.
     
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  12. Ed123 Arcane Patron

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    Who is "Darh Roxor"? Typical not-fantasy writing.
     
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  13. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    I do agree that I might have used some cultural appropriation :dance:
     
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  14. RK47 collides like two planets pulled by gravity Patron

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    Yea verily
     
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  15. Black Arcane

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    No worries, I'm sure Roguey has some ball-draining piece that will be up as soon as xir is done worshipping Sawyer.
     
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  16. karnak Arcane Patron

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    I wonder if the over-hyped tits of Witcher 3 will prove to be another disappointment this year.
     
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  17. darkpatriot Arcane

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    Agree with some of the review (especially the quest design and reactivity, biggest disappointment in the game), disagree with some other parts. I wanted to comment on one part that was flat out wrong though.

    There are quite a few unique bits of equipment. There are lots of items with special effects that are not-craftable. As far as I can tell, I haven't finished the game, quite a few of those non-craftable effects seem to also be unique to just 1 or 2 items in the game.

    You could argue that those effects are underwhelming, and many of them are, but saying that there are not unique items in the game is flat out wrong.
     
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  18. Black Arcane

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    It's a consolized AAA game, what exactly are you expecting?
     
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  19. Stompa Arcane

    Stompa
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    Nailed it on the topic of buffs. One thing that bugged me about PoE's spells was that the designers either didn't understand or were deliberately fucking up Vancian casting. Each individual spell needs to be powerful enough to make it worth wasting a very valuable resource, your spell slots, on. In terms of buffs this either translates into short-term-big-benefits spells like Haste or long-term-small-benefits stuff like Bull's Strength and the like. PoE does neither, its buffs are piddly outside of Accuracy boosters where every point counts and short, not even lasting through the whole combat in some case.
     
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  20. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Some nice firme tits and a good piece of booty.
    And maybe some Mortal-Kombat like fatalities.

    But essentially a very good story and a complex interaction between player and gaming world.
    And maybe a threesome between Geralt and a couple of tavern girls.
     
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  21. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I would rip it to shreds. This is the most "Fuck you, backers, we don't care about our promises" I've seen. This is worse than a p2w mobile fortress manager game. Add to that no reaction from the world about it.
     
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  22. Black Arcane

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    That'd be a first for Witchers.
     
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  23. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    I meant that there are no unique items with really unique abilities out there, and I stand by it. Yes, there are some singular items that are the only ones that have a particular effect in the game, but most often those effects are just 'stuff you've seen before+'. Like, okay, you might find an item with a 'unique' x1.45 damage that from a separate effect instead of item quality, while no other item does that. But it's just a bigger version of 'x1.15 damage' that's so very commonplace. And others that look a bit more promising are just talent effects pasted onto weapons.

    Again, compare to mace of disruption that can't even be simulated by any spell.

    Of course, it doesn't even have boobie cards.
     
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  24. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

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    Mighty burn, good sir. :obviously:
     
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  25. sser Arcane Cuck Developer

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    I think the itemization issue is best summarized by the fact that Eder is hired already wearing the best chest piece in the game.
     
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