Pillars of Eternity 2 – Quick Thoughts

I played the original, and Tyranny as well.  I’m a few hours in, and PoE2 is good with a few hiccups.  I have not reached Nekataka because I like exploring too much.

I mentioned the bit about character creation in a previous post.  There’s a wide gap between that and Tyranny’s more open-ended character builder.  PoE2 is a throwback to more traditional D&D games, and the mechanics within.  It feels more restrictive here, and the choices matter more.  It works.

  • Combat is faster and more open ended that previous.  You’re not as limited with attacks/spells between rests.  It also feels smoother and more meaty than previous games.
  • Itemization and crafting is still not fun.  I’ve yet to find any RPG where crafting was fun, so it’s 99% me in this case.
  • Multi-classing is great for the main character.
  • Less so for companions as you don’t get to pick their “best” 2nd class, you don’t get specialization options, and you get they at a specific character level with existing skills.
  • The companion AI is good enough for most combat.  They won’t fireball your party.
  • The new AI companions I’ve met so far are all interesting. Xoti, and Serafen.  They fit the setting well.
  • The boat I’m 50/50 on.  I think the concept of exploring islands is neat, and mini locations to explore.  It’s a bit of “choose your own adventure” which works well.  The minutia of managing the boat is much less fun.  At the start when money is a bit tight, you are restricted in food/water.  Eventually, it becomes so cheap that it’s nothing but busy work.
  • I have yet to experience true ship combat.
  • I like the overhead map for travel.  It gives you something to look at.
  • I do not enjoy the concept of movement in this game.  At least 80% of the game so far is just walking.  I am heavily spoiled on fast travel.  It is just annoying having to wait minutes of travel to talk from one NPC to the next in a chain.  Boat travel seems longer still, with a very large map.
  • The overall setting feels like a Knight in King Arthur’s Court compared to the previous game. The main character and setting do not appear to fit well – like they’ve traveled in time.
  • I like the individual story lines and quests.  Nearly all have multiple options that are skill dependent, great voice work and a lot of grey responses.  In nearly all cases I had the necessary skill to pass a given test… with 1 exception where I was clearly 10 levels below.  I am chalking that up to bad design as the game leads you to this place very early.
  • I am a fan of the ant vs the god story trope, where you are the ant.  Blizzard has made mint off this, GoW is entirely about that struggle, Horizon hits that out of the park.  That wasn’t dug into in the first game until the very end.  It is core of this story and I think it works really well.
  • No bugs so far!

You start in the SW Ruins.  It takes 2-3 minutes of real time to travel straight to Neketaka.

I’d guess I’m only about 10% of the way in.  Level 5/20, and the majority of these games have a very long tail end with side quests and whatnot.  First impressions are good, just not stellar.  I enjoyed Tyranny quite a bit more, and thinking about why really contrasts PoE2.  The choices in Tyranny were much more interesting, the pace was frantic, and the character development options were wider.

Maybe PoE2 is just a slow burn until that part opens.  I’m certainly enjoying the game, which is the entire point of this adventure.  I’ll keep focus on that.

4 thoughts on “Pillars of Eternity 2 – Quick Thoughts

  1. “Less so for companions as you don’t get to pick their “best” 2nd class, you don’t get specialization options, and you get they at a specific character level with existing skills.”

    The above isn’t true. Whenever you find a companion, they have enough XP to match your current level, but they start at level one, meaning you make all the leveling choices. Maybe you are thinking of the support skills, like stealth or history? Those also start at level 1, but character race/class/background puts some points into certain skills by default.

    Also at any time you can respec any character at an Inn for 1500 gold (can’t change class however).


    • Must be something wrong with my game then. When I picked up Serafen he was already level 5 with all his skills selected to that point. Same with Aloth a bit earlier. Maybe I selected an option by mistake?

      Good to know about the respec though. Too bad it doesn’t go the subclass route, there are some combinations I’d like to try out. Hmm… wonder if I can muck in the console to make that change.


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