Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – The Forgotten Sanctum – A Brilliant Ode to the Classics

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – The Forgotten Sanctum DLC
Obsidian Entertainment/Versus Evil

 

The release of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire stoked the fires of the CRPG flame pit, and showed the gaming masses that good ol’ fashioned role-playing games were still blazing hot. Indeed, the Pillars of Eternity series combines many facets of beloved CRPGs such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, and has continuously delivered it all on a platter of sumptuous modern graphics and exemplary writing.

To follow up on the magnificence of the main game, Obsidian Entertainment has released a bunch of free content updates as well as three DLC packs. The first of these DLC, Beast of Winter, was an absolute beast (pun intended) of an expansion and really set a high standard for anything to follow.

The second one, Seeker, Slayer, Survivor—although possessing a cool-sounding title—didn’t quite measure up since it emphasized combat instead of the excellent storytelling the series is known for.

And that takes us to Deadfire’s final DLC, The Forgotten Sanctum. Does it stand up well to the first DLC or falter somewhat as did the second one?

The Forgotten Sanctum mainly centers around the mysterious god named Wael, whose murky past hasn’t been explored much throughout the first two DLC. That is somewhat understandable since Wael is the god of epiphanies, mysteries, and secrets. However, I soon discovered that The Forgotten Sanctum was expressly designed to shed some light on this ominous figure and Obsidian did a great job of doing just that.

After being terrified by dangerous tidal waves while sailing the seas, The Watcher and his hardy party of adventurers soon cross paths with Llengrath, an esteemed member of the Circle of Archmagi. The Watcher then accepts a mission on an island shrouded in mystery, and from there he and his companions discover other members of the Circle who worship Wael.

I won’t spoil any narrative elements from here but suffice it to say that you’ll eventually discover what the source of the tidal disturbances are, as well as more of a broader history of the game’s world, Eora.

While exploring the ancient halls of the Sanctum, your party will come across many dusty tomes which explain some of the mysteries of the previous DLC. You’ll also be presented with moderately difficult puzzles as well as the many dangerous types of denizens which lurk within the place.

The Forgotten Sanctum is replete with extraordinarily powerful foes which wield deadly magic, weapons, and/or abilities. For those new to the series, encountering these foul fiends can often result in getting your entire party slaughtered. However, since Obsidian recently released an update that allows for turn-based combat instead of the pause-able real-time system that the series is known for, a much more tactical approach is now possible.

My own play-through of The Forgotten Sanctum had stalled, since I couldn’t figure out how to get past a particularly brutal foe. But when I heard about the new turn-based system I jumped back in and finally managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

One of the most problematic issues I’d been having with some of the DLC’s foes was that there were unique battle conditions which upped the difficulty quotient considerably. However, in the end I appreciated this added layer of challenge because figuring out how to overcome such fearsome obstacles made surviving each encounter that much sweeter.

Graphically, The Forgotten Sanctum is a gorgeous game to behold. It still possesses the lush, hand-drawn backgrounds that fans of the series have by now grown accustomed to. The character and creature models are also nicely animated.

But what is probably most impressive (at least in my humble opinion) are the outstanding combat and spell effects. Every sword swing and fireball is accompanied by some truly awesome effects that make you realize how far CRPGs have come.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – The Forgotten Sanctum is the complete package—it comes packed with gorgeous visuals, brilliant writing, great pacing, and some seriously challenging gameplay. Any fan of CRPGs or lover of fantasy games, in general, will definitely want to check it out if they haven’t already.

 

SCORE: 84%

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – The Forgotten Sanctum features great graphics that make its fantasy gameplay truly shine. However, you’ll want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

Visit CyberpowerPC’s website to check out all of the other great deals as well!

 

 

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