Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Xbox One) Review

Originally released a year ago on PC, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has been ported to current gen consoles with all included updates and DLC in one package. With a massive open world and a staggering amount of customization, this deep quest will take several dozen hours to experience it all. RPG fans have a lot to get excited about in this ultimate package, that is, if one can suffer through the technical issues.

Deadfire is a complicated game.  Before the player can even begin the adventure, the opening scene drags on forever and the player is forced to craft a customized character that takes way too much time due to the ludicrous number of options. Because there are so many choices, there is an immense fear of getting it wrong. The worst thing that could happen is you are 15 hours into a quest when you wish you could go back and start again with a different loadout.  Further, the player needs to claim attributes that the game doesn’t explain.  Games today are usually front loaded, coming out the gate with a massive explosion to grab the player’s attention and create a desire to see more. Here, by the end of this opening segment, I just was mashing “A” to get to the actual gameplay.

The complicated interface and menu screens do not lighten up during combat either. Although the player can choose between a slower turn based approached or more real time, any battle could be your last. It is also easy to see that this game was clearly designed for a mouse interface; the analog stick here in the console version is serviceable and still playable but nowhere near as fluid as it should it. However, the worst part about playing this long and involved RPG is the inexcusable load times. Any time the screens transitions, say walking into a house, the game usually takes somewhere between 1-2 minutes to load. This is awful when you just need to enter a building to claim a quest and immediately walk out, forcing the player to sit through a bland loading screen for a few minutes to complete a few seconds of gameplay. And since the point-and-click interface isn’t the most accurate, it becomes maddening when accidently clicks are made.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has some shining moments, like the quality writing, massive world, adjustable combat, and ship management elements, but there are no denying the technical issues that really darken the entire experience. This is an RPG that isn’t for everyone but the diehards should find some pleasure here especially if they originally missed the PC original. It is an intimidating title with its staggering amount of depth, so much so that it should ship with a warning label geared towards newbies and players without tenacity.

Also available on PC and PS4. A Switch version scheduled for release in 2020.

SCORE: 7/10

Not As Good As: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Better Than: a pay-to-win mobile spin-off
Wait For It: Dark Alliance

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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