Pillars of Eternity Preview

In the event that you're looking for another quick overview of Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity, there's a new preview on GameGrin that shares their impressions of the Infinity Engine-inspired RPG after checking it out firsthand at this year's E3. A few paragraphs to pique your interest:

For Paradox's press demo, lead designer Brandon Adler showed off a male mage who's travelling as part of a caravan destined for Gilded Vale, where a local lord is giving away land to homesteaders. Of course, this trip doesn't go smoothly (it's an RPG after all nothing goes smoothly) and after a fallen tree and a general sense of foreboding stop the travelers for the night, Eternity introduces the concept of a Soulstorm. This mystical (weather) that rips the souls from any living thing that has the misfortune of being in its path, and when one hits the group's campsite it scatters the travelers, forcing our mage and the members of his impromptu party Calisca the warrior and the rogue Heodan into some nearby ruins.

Here, Eternity gives us the first glimpse of how dungeon-crawls (or other extended bouts of repetitive combat) play out. While the game occurs in real time, combat gives players the ability to pause and make use of the tactical aspects of their party. Abilities use stamina, which players need to monitor almost as closely as their health: when a character's stamina hits zero, they're knocked out. Health on the other hand, slowly depletes outside of combat as well, and players must rest their party periodically to restore it. However, resting in the wider world requires camping supplies and the number a party can carry is limited by the game's difficulty setting.

In between fighting spiders and Xaurips (Eternity's version of DnD Kobolds), it also becomes apparent that the game lacks much of the linear design players often expect from an RPG, instead relying on exploration and trial-and-error. The party, for example, discovers a hammer and chisel while exploring the ruins, which later come in handy when they're faced with a false wall. Had the player missed the hammer and chisel (which were hidden in a dead end a ways away) they would have had to find another solution either an alternate way to break through, or a different route.