Review: Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition


Posted on August 18, 2020 by David Rodriguez

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  • 9.1/10
    Total Score - 9.1/10
9.1/10

Summary

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition is a superior version of an already stellar game.

Developer – Owlcat Games

Publisher – Deep Silver

Platforms –Xbox One (Reviewed) PS4, PC

Pathfinder: Kingmaker was a neat CRPG when it released a couple of years ago on PC. An interesting story premise, with deep gameplay hooks marred by some questionable design choices and pretty severe bugs. In addition to hitting consoles for the first time, the definitive edition is jam packed with tons of quality of life fixes, all DLC included, and a much needed turn based combat mode.

Battles can get huge

For the uninitiated, Pathfinder: Kingmaker begins with an audience in which we and a group of other adventurers are asked to capture a criminal who threatens the territories of the Stolen Lands The plan doesn’t work out, and you are thrust headfirst into a sprawling adventure.

If you’ve ever played Pillars of Eternity, the interface and gameplay styles are identical to that. In general, those who have tried any of the classic Bioware or more modern Obsidian developed CRPG’s titles will find themselves at home.

The management of the party itself, consisting of up to six characters. The party can be controlled in a group or, depending on the circumstances, by selecting individual characters; in case of skill rolls, both in game and in the aforementioned events narrated, the system will always select our partner with the highest value, so as not to waste time.

Some environments are stunning

At first the similarities may seem a bit too on the nose, but Pathfinder is a bit more dense in the rule-set, and Kingdom management adds a whole layer of depth otherwise not seen in similar styled games.

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is hard, even when played on Normal. Party growth is very slow, fights are challenging even in the early stages of the game and the party’s cumulative footprint management system is much more present and decisive than those of other titles, as is the rest mechanic which requires some attention to be understood (you have to assign the characters to various tasks such as hunting, cooking, patrolling, camouflaging the camp and taking care of special tasks, also deciding how much to make them sleep to recover tiredness, skills, magic and health).

The game follows it’s rules more than most other CRPGS, and if you don’t understand those rules you will be punished for them.

However, custom difficulty is great in Kingmaker. You’re allowed to make a custom difficulty where a bevy of options can be tweaked and configured, and it really helps if you’re a novice to the genre, or want a punishing brutal experience.

The starting party can be a bit odd in terms of skills and starting gear, but narratively they all fit and make sense. The writing is really well done, and each character can get into so much detail about them and their backstories.

The central plot does hit some snags, and it’s not without some cliches, but what CRPG isn’t these days. Despite the obvious plot twists, the story is well told, and it can vary wildly based on your playstyle and how the player manages their kingdom and allies.

On console the game works well enough. It’s prrety well optimized, with the only real issue being long loading times. On an external SSD, the loads were much better, so if you’re interested and have one, make sure to install it on that first. The interface is okay, and the turn based combat helps a ton with making large chaotic battles manageable on controller.

If you played the original on PC, or have dabbed in similar titles on console, Kingmaker is a stellar game with a ton of depth, story and fun, if you have the patience to learn and dig deep in it’s world.

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David Rodriguez is a former writer at Rectify Gaming.