A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pillars of Eternity is a downloadable action-heavy role-playing game wherein players create a custom hero and recruit up to five additional party members to fight against creatures and villains. The game requires heavy reading through character dialogue, which includes sporadic profanity. Strategic thinking helps not only during combat but even before fights break out; some confrontations can be avoided completely via conversation options. Although there's a moderate amount of fantasy violence, including occasional blood, the viewpoint and scale of the action reduce its impact.
What's it about?
Pillars of Eternity is an original fantasy developed by the talent behind classic RPG franchises such as Baldur's Gate and Fallout. The central plot of the adventure involves the player's character traveling as a part of a caravan to start a new life in a new land. After stumbling into a supernatural ritual, the player's soul becomes "awakened," granting unique abilities and detriments. These powers must be used to help stop a rising evil responsible for blight that's stealing the souls of children. Throughout the game, the player and gained allies also will become involved in numerous side quests, which expand on the story and the setting of the game.
Is it any good?
Pillars of Eternity is a near-perfect homage to classic computer role-playing games, avoiding things such as cinematic cut scenes and celebrity voice-overs in favor of an engaging story that unfolds in a carefully crafted world. Nearly every character, creature, and item is described down to the smallest detail via text, allowing the player to discover nuances such as body language, motivation, and lore. Although reading does take up a good portion of the game's more than 70 hours, it always adds to the overall experience.
If there's one drawback to Pillars of Eternity, it's that there sometimes feels like too much is crammed into the game. Add together the various races, classes, subclasses, weapons, and skills, with multiple gameplay paths, recruitable dialogue options, branching quest lines, and even a personal stronghold to manage and upgrade, and the game's reliance on micromanagement can feel overwhelming to those new to the genre. Still, Pillars of Eternity manages to raise the bar and sets a new benchmark for what a role-playing game should be.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how it's sometimes possible to use critical thinking and conversation to diffuse potential combat. Is it possible to use your words to avoid a conflict?
Discuss how a diverse group can come together to accomplish higher goals. How can people of different backgrounds and races benefit from a sharing of knowledge and skills? How can this positive use of diversity translate from a fantasy setting to the real world?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Paradox Interactive
- Release date: March 26, 2015
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.