This homage to classic role-playing games takes its steps onto consoles for the first time, and provides rich, detailed gameplay that will last for hours. There's a reason why games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale are considered classics: The balance of gameplay, story, and memorable characters tie together to make an absorbing package. Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition follows bravely in their footsteps, bringing this traditional form of role-playing game adventure away from the mouse and keyboard to the controller, and does so very well. Much of this is owed to the new control scheme, which puts the main elements gamers need a keyboard for on a circular dial. All you have to do is highlight the option you want and hit a button, and you can access your character stats, inventory, combat abilities, and other options. Even better, accessing the dial instantly pauses on-screen action, quickly allowing you to set up your tactics. For the most part, the radial dials work beautifully; there are only some times where the system gets confused, such as when it's not sure that you want a particular command if your thumbstick direction falls between two options. This only requires re-entry, and is a minor speed bump to the hours of gameplay you'll enjoy.
That's right: Thanks to the inclusion of the expansion packs of The White March Part 1 and 2, you're looking at upwards of 80 hours of gameplay at least to fully explore the world. And there's plenty to see -- whether it's the frozen wastes of the White March, the civic intrigue of Defiance Bay, or the threats under the keep of Caer Nua. In fact, the focus on gameplay and story highlights how you don't need to push the limits of a console to still keep players engaged. But everything isn't perfect here; in fact, the worst issue with the Complete Edition are the technical flaws, particularly with loading. Load times for the game frequently range between 30 seconds to a minute, but that happens every time you have a scene transition. If you're in a large outside scene with a lot of combat, this isn't so bad, but if you're in a keep moving from room to room before heading outside, and you're forced to sit through all of these load times, it's very frustrating. Even worse, this will sometimes cause the game to freeze, forcing a full restart. Tech issues aside, though, Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition is a great game for role-playing game fans, and it should be added to their console library.