I love Pathfinder, having played it as both a player and a game master for many years. I also love computer RPGs, with games like Baldur’s Gate being some of my fondest gaming experiences. Combing these 2 things seems like a no-brainer.
I played Pathfinder: Kingmaker shortly after it came out and was very surprised with how well they integrated the Pathfinder ruleset, I was able to recreate my cornugon smash inquisitor/rogue from a tabletop game perfectly! The kingdom building part of that game was pretty boring though and I ended up modding it out to get to the parts I enjoyed. Wrath of the Righteous improves on this by adding in the various “hybrid” classes from the Advanced Class Guide.
When I heard that a new Pathfinder game was in the works that didn’t focus on kingdom management I was very excited, maybe with the benefit of not having to build the foundation of the game they could really get something smoothly working this time around.
The game was pretty buggy right at launch, with many rapid patches to fix things, and then patches to fix the things that the patches broke (such is life of a software project). It was still fun enough to play through and reset when I ended up in a broken save game after doing a respec of my character partway through the game though.
I have since beaten the game twice, so despite the games flaws I feel it is worth the time.
I’ll start with my gripes and then move onto what I enjoyed.
- Out of combat movement speed is way too slow, with so much downtime of just moving around the world I had to keep some other media on hand to avoid being bored as my characters walked across a map to reach an objective.
- Kingdom management is still a thing, and involves a lot of loading screens to try and resolve a quick event.
- The Heroes of Might & Magic style battles are trivially easy and very unrewarding. The game also doesn’t give you enough details about what units can do it and even covers up the bottom right tile with an un-hidable combat log so you can’t see how large of a stack of units an enemy has there.
- Too many combat encounters. Games like Divinity: Original Sin 2 really showed that having fewer more focused combat encounters is much more intersting than having many encounters that are nearly identical.
- Only a few characters have portraits during conversations, even seemingly important characters will just have a blank space where a picture of them should belong.
- Act 4 is awful to navigate around in, the whole area needs to be reworked.
- Like Pathfinder: Kingmaker, game balance still seems pretty rough. Enemies scale up to crazy high defences, and its not uncommon to be fighting enemies with more than twice your level.
- The Pathfinder ruleset implementation is still great, being able to make and play with different tabletop builds is very fun.
- Lots of options to take your alignment the way you want it to; even if they mostly loop back into the same areas.
- Mythic levels add a fun amount of depth to the choices you can make and add to the replay factor.
I start to lose interest in the game by the end of act 3. I think if they had made a game half the length it could have been a much more refined experience than having something that starts to feel like its dragging on.
7/10 - If you like CRPGs, and especially if you liked Pathfinder: Kingmaker, you will enjoy this game but be ready for a bumpy ride.