Pillars of Eternity • You have completed Act I
So, it seems like my journey to the depths of being a terrible consumer continues, with my inability to stop myself grabbing the original Pillars of Eternity on the Xbox mid-year sale (I already had it on PC, though it has been performing terribly).
Aside from the fact that they have a terrible sense of style when it comes to naming their achievements, Obsidian have done an absolutely brilliant job with Pillars, and as far as a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate goes … I think you could just about call this an out-and-out successor. The UI, the story delivery, everything about it builds on the original D&D series, and then some. It is an exceptional game.
For achievement hunters though? Not so much. I’ve spent a not-inconsiderable portion of my evening making my way through to game just to conclude what has been dictated as ‘Act I’. I wouldn’t say I did a speed-run, if anything I dabbled a little bit on side quests just to see if I could gather enough ingredients to craft food (there is an achievement for crafting, or cooking, five different items), but alas, it turned out that just straight-up questing was the way to win-over this first achievement.
And the first act, it sure did deliver.
In terms of story, I like the rhythm by which it’s delivered. There’s a healthy dose of overall story arc – none of which seems ‘urgent’, meaning that you can always actively venture off onto side quests without it seeming out of character (think Fallout 4 … never before has someone’s apathy towards their kidnapped child stood out as a glaring narrative oversight). In fact, even your companions, and the story beats which prompt them to join you – are all crafted in a way that makes it seem quite logical that they would come along for the ride, encourage you to help them out on their own non-essential tasks, and then persevere.
If you need an example of video game A+ storytelling, this is it.
I’m very keen to take my time with Pillars, so it might be a game that I keep going back to once I’ve earned my other daily achievement, but time will tell. I feel like it needs a solid session of gameplay in order to be able to progress a lot of the main story beats though, so at this stage I’m suggesting that it might be more of a weekend warrior activity, but I am absolutely keen to get through the main story at some stage – so I suspect this won’t be the last time you see it grace the pages of this blog (how many times have I said that before?).
Pillars of Eternity is Baldur’s Gate for the contemporary audience. And I am – so far – loving every minute of it.