Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part 1

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part 1 Game Poster Image
Snowy expansion adds new heroes to mature fantasy tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Focuses on good things (love, loyalty, acts of kindness) and bad (crime, violence, selfishness).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players can role-play as benevolent heroes, violent criminals; their companions run gamut of moral spectrum.

Ease of Play

Complex game with intricate systems, rules. Players have to be able to read, absorb large amounts of information, understand how to direct, equip, upgrade parties of multiple characters.

Violence

Large part of game about fighting enemies. Although characters aren't terribly realistic, seen from far away, they're shown bloody, burned, dismembered. Dead bodies also a frequent sight.

Sex

Fully integrated DLC means players can return to earlier areas in main game, enter a brothel, hire male, female prostitutes -- nothing sexually explicit shown.

Language

Sporadic instances of "s--t," "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players can buy alcoholic drinks in taverns.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part 1 is a downloadable add-on expansion of the action/role-playing game Pillars of Eternity. Players must own the base game and have it installed to play the expansion. The White March Part 1 adds new story content containing violence with lots of fantasy violence using swords, magic, and other medieval weaponry. While the camera is pulled back, there are some instances of blood splatter in combat. There's also occasional bad language and references to alcohol and sex. Mature themes and complex gameplay could make the game inappropriate for kids under 14.

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What's it about?

PILLARS OF ETERNITY: THE WHITE MARCH PART 1 takes players to a snowy wasteland called the White March. Answering a distress call, players journey to the March to help its current inhabitants, a multiracial group of hardy survivors determined to carve a living out of the hostile environment. There, they learn of a long-vanished race of dwarven smiths rumored to be trapped inside a fortress. In hopes of discovering the dwarves' collective fate and the secret of their legendary Durgan Steel, players set out to penetrate the fortress, accompanied by two new companions: an eccentric monk and a murderous robot.

Is it any good?

This is a worthy expansion of the main game that adds two new characters (Zahua the monk and robotic rogue the Devil of Caroc) as well as new locations, gear, levels, and objectives. This superb new content takes players on a breathtaking adventure that offers them plenty of opportunity to engage in good old-fashioned role-playing. The expansion starts by adding two new character levels (the new max is 14) and improving the behaviors of non-player characters; that means smarter companions and smarter enemies. To defeat the latter, players can dabble in talents outside their own class and make use of powerful new soul-bound weapons.

Cool as these things are, they pale in comparison to the expansion's new story line. The White March is an icy region full of beastly dangers such as wolves and trolls and more human threats such as mercenaries and religious fanatics. The region is as beautiful as it is treacherous, marked by snow-covered vales and shadowy ruins and begs to be explored. Conspiracies, legends, and hidden treasures are revealed as players make acquaintances and learn a variety of cool new spells and abilities. Clocking in at around three hours, this new chapter tells a well-developed story with a satisfying conclusion, and it whets players' appetites for what's coming in Part 2.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about diversity. Why is it important to understand cultures other than your own?

  • Discuss the ethics of archaeology. When artifacts are found, what should be done with them?

  • Think about fate. Do you believe fate controls what happens to you?

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