‘Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire’ provides lots of RPG fun

Obsidian Entertainment has made many memorable sequels over the years. Whether it was “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II,” “Fallout: New Vegas,” or “Neverwinter Nights 2,” many times have they put their brand of role-playing game (RPG) storytelling onto another developer’s property. Each of these games are very beloved within their communities for reimagining existing worlds through Obsidian’s unique lens.

With “Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire,” Obsidian finally gets to make a sequel to their own game. It’s a game that mixes up the genre while still retreading what made the first game so good.

The first noticeable difference in “Deadfire” is the change in setting. The first game featured a fantasy setting inspired by “Dungeon and Dragons.” While there were definitely some fantastical areas later on in the game, the vast majority of the game takes place around Dyrwood, a by-the-book European-flavored fantasy setting.

In “Deadfire” the main character, known as the Watcher, explores the pirate-infested Deadfire archipelago. The game trades lords and castles for captains and ships. In the game, the Watcher is tasked with stopping the god Eothas as he rampages across the area. On this journey the Watcher teams up with some familiar faces, such as Eder and Pallegina, and some new ones as well.

While the selected companions from the first game are a great sight to see, it’s these new ones that make the new character stories that much more engaging.

My favorite new companion is Maia who’s unflinching demeanour as an eagle bearing ship captain is matched by her own naivet when it comes to dealing with people personally and politically. The game’s character work is some of Obsidian’s best, going as far back as “Fallout: New Vegas.” Each character provides an interesting dynamic to your party, forming their intrinsically-shaped piece of the puzzle of the player’s party.

Where previous Obsidian outings are easier to recommend to a more general audience, “Deadfire” is still very devoted to the old style of PC RPG. Isometric camera perspective? Check. Real-time-with-pause combat? Check. Extensive dialogue options? Check. Obsidian is clearly making no concessions to obtain a much wider audience here.

While there are few changes to the combat, the ones that are here are welcome. Changes to the magic and resting system give exploring dungeons and other areas a quicker flow. The visuals, while sharp, detailed and colorful, are still on a low-budget level. Don’t expect “The Witcher 3’s” visual aptitude here; this game is clearly devoted to 1998 and the old Interplay style of RPG.

While “Deadfire” isn’t a new benchmark for the genre, it is a great addition to Obsidian Entertainment’s legacy of great RPGs. It features some of the best characters Obsidian has ever put to code and a world that begs to be explored. While the mostly-good story does lull in certain spots and becomes somewhat predictable by the end, the game shines on as one the best RPGs of the last few years.

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