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Pathfinder: Kingmaker review
by LaserRaptor97

Pathfinder Kingmaker is a CRPG that feels pride in it's table top roots and tries hard to emulate that feeling while taking inspiration from more contemporary CRPGs and I'd say they mostly succeeded in that vision with some hiccups.
1st the positives :
• The character creation is very deep, possibly overwhelming for new players. But once you get a hold of it, it's very rewarding with how much build variety can be done.
• The Pathfinder table-top rule set makes for very engaging battles. It used to be very hard at launch, relying more on rng luck but after several patches I think it's quite fair now. Using proper buffs, feats and spells to counter the enemy strength never stops being exciting.
• Without going into spoilers I'd say the story while nothing groundbreaking works well enough to keep the player invested. Each story arc has enough plot intrigue to have it's own game but since there's so many, individually they feel a bit shallow. Despite this complaint I would argue that it works to serve the larger narrative.
• Companion characters have actual personality with history and are not just stand ins for their race, this I greatly appreciated. I loved the camp side banter and how they can interject during story moments. Having to have them in party for romance to trigger properly was nice too.
• Kingdom management mini game is quite fun with choices than can have consequences with the companions. Watching your city having the buildings you built show up in the map screen never got old for me. Small side quests from unlocked locations were nice too.
• The visual design is gorgeous with perfect use of special effects. Using powerful AOE spells never got old. But I wish the game had camera rotation like D:OS2.   
• Voice acting for the most part was great and added to the immersion. Though I wish important story dialogues weren't half voiced, either keep it silent or voice it fully. Having to hear half dialogues in great voice acting and having to imagine the rest took me out of experience slightly, though this is a minor nitpick.
• The music, my god. Inor Zur is a genius and it shows. Every tracks fits the game ambience just right and quite a few of those I would listen to ousdide of the game too.

Now for the parts that in my opinion can be improved:
• 1st point has to be bugs. I'm glad how much the devs have worked to fix the bugs and balance issues of the game but still there is some work to be done. I ran into 2 broken quest that was supposed to be fixed and a few visual glitches here and there. Saving takes too much time and it needs to be fixed, taking 7-8 seconds for a quick save during later parts of the game is unacceptable. Fortunately there's a mod.
• Although visually gorgeous, I'm not that impressed with level design. Specially during earlier positions of the game you get kinda bland maps purely carried by the quest story you have in mind instead of visual story telling. 1st World was a breath of fresh air but even that went stale soon. Also I feel they are too open and lack strategic use like in POE, but it will be a very subjective opinion. Unique locations aside from main quest that have optional bosses often reuses same locations. Maybe this where the kickstarter budget shows most.
• The companions need more flavor text to flesh them out. After you initially meet and talk with them, there's nothing to talk about for 20-30 hours before their companion quest kicks in and even then it's just a couple of lines at most. At the least they should have dialogues after each important story event. Also longer dungeons needs some side story in the form of notes or something. Idk about others but fighting similar enemies over and over without discovering fun stuff about the location is boring. I hope the story's better in the future games too.
• There are unsual difficulty spikes in the game, specially towards the end. Hopefully will get more balance patches.
• A personal grievance but I dislike the over reliance on RNG in everything. I know that's how table top games are probably but on higher difficulties you are forced to reload not because you did something wrong but because the enemy just had a higher roll than you. That is not fun. I'm so glad DOS2 moved away from it although armor system needs some fixing.

Overall it's very fun game and a solid entry into the CRPG genre.
«Just one more turn»
«Underrated»

Other reviews2

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Game review: (No story spoilers!) Pros:-Genius Story (exciting, profound, incredibly extensive and linked (means a Side quest can already point quite enough to a new Main Quest)-Combination of Role-playing and Simulation (Royal Administration) provide a Lot of Variety- Huge Game world with a Lot of Content-Sweet Graphics with numerous small Details-Exciting Story of the individual Characters, which additionally provides minor Quests again-difficult moral Decisions, which however do not always deliver a predictable Result. -Sometimes absolutely funny Dialogues where you just don't get around a loud Laugh. -Good Management of inventory-coherent and beautiful Background through the Soundtrack So Much to all the beautiful Things in Pathfinder Kingmaker, unfortunately there are also some negative Points. Cons:-The RNG when huming is sometimes a bit "modest" whether in Dialogues or in the Combat System. But it's part of it. -Personally, I find the Random Battles on the Map when travelling now just annoying, they are not really Challenging and just stop when travelling quickly Through the Kingdom. -The Combat System should, in my Opinion, be revised. It is always sold as "tactical Fights." I perceive the Mixture of turn-based-but at the same time somehow running in real Time-struggles as chaotic at best. -There is little that is explained to you in Turtorials. There are small Pop-Ups every now and then that give you some tips at an initial Time, but that's what you're already. -This brings us to the Sword Of Damocles in this Game, the Complexity. I love Games that are a little demanding or that you have to insert yourself into something. However, this is really a Mammoth Task in this Game, especially in the Abundance of Spells, negative effects, Buffs, weapons, Etc. Grade as far as Debuffs are concerned, the whole thing is really partial to Despair. Take a Char suffers from any permanent Debuuff, sure how do you get rid of it, Treat it with Cleansing, recovery, Infirmity or changing The 10 Skills meant to pick up 30 different Debuffs? I really Struggle to understand the whole thing but in the End You hit your Camp on rattling for a While and then the annoying Debuffs are gone too. The Descriptions seem to be partially bugated, which in 50% of Cases the "right" Spell does not really help against Debuffs, even if it is in the Description. This leads to Frustration. I would like to see a "simplified" Mode, because you can perhaps turn on or off. -The Magic System is not quite so nice for me either. When I started the Game and created my Character, I was fond of Descriptions like "mighty Wizard." However, the "mighty" Wizard has to budget quite nicely with his 2 Fireballs that you can shoot per Day and reach out to the Crossbow when used up, unfortunately. This may be in line with the "Rulebook," but I have a different Idea when I think of "powerful" Wizards. Especially since half the Spells also race blunt past the Opponent. There is certainly a simple Solution for This, but it remains unfortunately a Mystery without a failed Tutorial. -The Game constantly puts you under Time Pressure through Timers. Without you know it well. I would like to make Time for Side Quests, but unfortunately that kind of doesn't work, because you Are constantly afraid that ticks a hidden Timer somewhere. This is extremely annoying at a certain Point ... Bugs: To Bugs in General, I can say that there are some. But You are used to worse in the Time of the Early Acc Games. What comes to mind spontaneously, for example, the repeatedly lingered NPC in my Thornroom will remain standing after being granted an Audience. Then there are some Text and Translation errors and, in some cases, some Interface Bugs. Not all very dramatic. The Game has crashed once in a Loading Screen, which is also absolutely okay. However, there are also a number of bugged Quests and this unfortunately affects not only the side Quests but also partly the Main Quests. I've had to throw away hours over Hours at Savegames for More than once because of Bugs. Verdict: No Buy Recommendation, if any will wait quite a while. Initially, I was ready to see away via smaller Bugs. At some Point, however, this simply cannot be done any more. Even the Main Quests are in some cases so budgeable that one is constantly worried about your Savegames. I myself am stuck in a Place where I can't get any further and can only hope that there will soon be a Fix.
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