Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Hands-On: You’ll Come Back, But Be Gone For A While

pathfinder WOTR

Prediction: It’s going to make its target and likely much more.

A little Kickstarter action, anyone?

Developer Owlcat Games is hard at work on a follow up to the incredibly deep Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which combined gameplay inspired by classic PC role-playing games such as the Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, Fallout 2 and Arcanum with a huge kingdom building system in a massive game with a pretty loyal following worldwide. It’s not at all a simple game as it sticks closely to the tabletop experience down to complex rules that need to be learned and implemented lest failure be your primary option.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a more an even more ambitious follow up, but tailored a lot better and not a direct “sequel”, adding in a wealth of changes to the game engine, a load of new classes to play as and packing in a ton of content. Owlcat is clearly in it for the long haul. This is good, however, as the hands-on demo’s Siege at Drezen sequence was pretty thrilling and left me wanting more. Before the demo, game Director Alexander Mishulin spoke and I got a wealth of lore on new classes, Mythic Path characters such as Angel, Lich, Aeon, and Trickster, some of the overall goals in the story line and more brain-filling content. There’s a lot going on here and Mishulin noted the final version will allow for many options and choices for new as well as returning players (which means a ton of replay value, naturally).

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This is going to be as deep as it gets and then some, but it was also noted that the dev team has been listening to feedback from the first game and is tailoring this new experience to be a bit more flexible for new players as a option. that certainly doesn’t mean the game will be easy or “casual”, mind you. The depth outside of the combat will include a number of “pay attention” elements that will have players glued to their PC’s as they dive into what’s looking like an extremely comprehensive solo campaign.

The Drezen siege began with a series of decisions made at a headquarters and dealing with positive and negative feedback from allies. Do you go in a stealthy way based on intel from a possibly unreliable source? Or do you team up with some brute force types and bust in their way for a possibly rougher time? Which route you pick opens up a few options in dialog, but whichever was chosen determines a point of entry and the battle challenges ahead. I picked one, dealt with a bit of skill checking on an ally who wasn’t pleased with my choice (a nice touch) and soldiered on.

 

 

As the party was made up of a pre-chosen and pretty powerful lot (who could still be slain if one was careless), I had to learn as I went along which skills and magic to use or suffer as a result. The intuitiveness of the auto-pause when combat was initiated was a lifesaver, coupled with the fact that my team was sufficiently leveled up. A few new twists have been added to gameplay, so at times more enemies may pop in unexpectedly for an ambush when you think all is clear. As the group went from one encounter to another, it was nice to see a few choices on where to go and what to do become available. One could choose to explore the maps and find loot, or go straight for the demon boss via whatever route was chosen earlier, dispatching his minions along the way. Time was short with the demo, so I mixed in a bit of both, but in a faster way than I normally played.

There were a pair of encounters with potential allies along the way, one with a demon we chose to free from a cell she was imprisoned in, another with a sort of angry character who wasn’t happy with the party for teaming up on the boss at the end of the demo. Personally. I was glad to see them both as it seems as the game progresses that’ll be coming back and may be joining the cause or not. We shall see. I mentioned to Mishulin without hesitation that this game would clearly make its funding goal early, and as I have a Kickstarter window open as I type, I’m finding that I need to type faster and finish this post because the funding is over $135,000 on the way to a goal of $300,000 and it’s only the first day of the campaign.

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You don’t have to be a Mythic class to see where this one is going to go, folks. But if you’re at all interested in the game and want to pledge, click away and secure yourself a digital or physical version, as there are a few rewards you can also get if you’re fast and early enough.

-GW

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