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: Complete Edition is a role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4. This title is a compilation of a PC game and its two downloadable expansion packs into one remastered package. It features some strong profanity, like "s--t" and "f--k" in spoken and written dialogue (along with sexual innuendo), and while there are some moments where you can purchase beers in taverns or eat herbs for stat bonuses, no ill effects are shown. Players can visit brothels and hire male or female prostitutes, though no activity is shown. Combat occasionally happens against monsters or humans in various environments. While players can use hand-to-hand weapons, firearms, projectiles, and magic to defeat their opponents, and enemies can be blown to pieces or set afire, the top-down perspective and zoomed-out camera angles limit the impact of the violence.
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What's it about?
PILLARS OF ETERNITY: COMPLETE EDITION is a role-playing game set in the world of Eora. After stumbling upon a sinister rite being performed in the wilderness, the player becomes what's known as a Watcher, a person with the rare ability to see the past lives and actions of the souls of others. Your abilities couldn't have come at a better time, because babies across the land are being born without souls. To solve the problem, you and fellow adventurers will embark on a series of quests to discover the cause of this affliction and put an end to it. The Complete Edition adds in the downloadable expansion packs of The White March Part 1 and Part 2, along with some additional modifications for console gameplay. Along with larger font for game text, there's a new radial control system using the controller thumbsticks and shoulder buttons to provide access to menu options and combat options. The game also comes with designer commentary tracks that explain how some portions of the game were made or redesigned, and a number of other tweaks, like adjusted difficulty levels and raised level caps for characters.
Is it any good?
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.
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 sharing knowledge and skills? How can this positive use of diversity translate from a fantasy setting to the real world?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Paradox Interactive
- Release date: August 29, 2017
- 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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