It’s been three long years since the first PoE game came out, and we’re now finally expecting the new “Pillars of Eternity” to be released very soon (on the 3rd of April, to be exact). However, before we jump into PoEII, let’s have a little history lesson first shall we?

As I was saying, when Obsidian announced the kickstarter campaign for the first game, it was great news for all old-school RPG fans, and luckily enough for you and me. Obsidian was able to reach their crowdfunding goal on time. So it’s nice to see how far we’ve come in 2018 =) And with that said, it’s now time for me to cover the preview build of PoEII!

pillars of eternity 2 deadfire city of dreams

Not only has Obsidian has managed to polish “Pillars of Eternity II” without dumbing it down. Obsidian has also sorted out a new overworld map for you to explore as well.

As soon as I started playing the preview build I noticed a much better graphical quality. The 3D models during character creation look a lot better than they did in the previous game, great news for those that love to spend a lot of time customizing their character.

The character creation provides even more options to customize your character than in the previous game by allowing you to multi-class your character giving it more flexibility. Picking only one class is also a good option since it will enable you to reach the class best skills for peak efficiency.

pillars of eternity 2 deadfire beautiful graphics

“Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire” is even more beautiful than the original game when it comes to graphics, animations and artworks.

Our playthrough took us to the Deadfire Archipelago, an exotic area of the world where we’ll be able to explore through a new overworld map that allows us to travel on foot or by sea. While you explore the world on the overworld map, you will be depleting some of your basic resources such as water, reminding me of “Wasteland 2”. Furthermore, you can see the day/night cycle in motion as you travel through the map. The main character now has access to a ship that serves a base and also provides means of travel.

While exploring the world on foot can trigger the usual random encounters, travel by sea can lead to sea battles where your ship faces off against an enemy ship. Ship battles are turn-based and each turn you can choose between different actions firing your cannons, turning your ship or go full on ramming speed. In other words, if you like the direct approach, then you can ram the enemy ship and then board them to trigger a fight between your party and the enemy crew.

pillars of eternity 2 deadfire the new map

The new map allows us to explore the sea and attack other ships, yarr!

Back on dry land I could appreciate the beauty of the handcrafted maps, even more impressive than in the first game. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of 3D maps but Pillars is starting to win me over. While interacting with NPCs I noted that skill checks are now much more prevalent in dialogue than in the first game (the dialogs reminded me of  a lot of the ones that’s found in “Fallout: New Vegas”), and that’s never a bad thing! And there is more good news to be told.

Because while I was running into random encounters. I was happy to see that my companions had their own AI, a feature that was lacking in the first game at launch (if I recall it correctly).

pillars of eternity 2 deadfire killer of giants

You can build your party and customize your companions as you see it fit. Furthermore, you are also free to choose from seven different companions to join you on your quest (you can assign multiple classes and deeper abilities for each character as well).

While the combat system remains as complex as in the previous game, it has been cleaned up a little bit by reducing the party members from six to five and by toning down the special effects so players can better read the battlefield. Combat remains as tactical as in the first game with each class having a vast array of skills, and some of the new animations and models of the enemies are pretty impressive as well.

pillars of eternity 2 deadfire the battleship

This is what PoE II’s boarding action sequences looks like after you closed the distance in sea battles.

As good as that might sound though. Unfortunately, our preview only gave us a taste of all the good things the game will offer at launch. For example, we only had a few visual customization options for our characters. However, it’s understandable that a preview build won’t have all the features. Nevertheless, as a Kickstarter backer of the first game. I’m really looking forward to get my hands on the full release of the second game (PoEII is said to launch on the third of April this year).

+ Notable graphical improvement over its predecessor
+ Exploration has been expanded with the new overworld map
+ Obsidian has managed to polish the game without dumbing it down

– So far the game lacked a lot of voice acting, hopefully it will change for the full release
– You can’t finish the preview build

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound/music: 3/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay value: N/A (N/A in replay value because the preview wouldn’t allow us to even finish the game)

tgg grade 4 out of 5

Verdict: 4/5
You know, even though there are a few down sides to the preview build of “Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire” (such as the lack of voice acting here and there, for example). Obsidian has still managed to give me (us) a pretty good taste of what’s to come with the full release PoEII (and good thing that since the game is said to launch in April), and what an awesome and great RPG taste it is. So I can’t wait to get my hands on the full version of PoEII.

Title: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Format: PC
Genre: RPG
Resolution: Highest possible on PC
Release date: 2018-04-03
Difficulty: Normal
Spent time: +5 hours
Average grade internationally: N/A
PEGI age rating: +18
Price: Free

Robin Ek – Editor

tgg author avatar Jack Davis
Jack Davis
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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