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Page 5 of 5Technical Information
And now, let's finally address the elephant in the room. The game launched in a sorry state comparable to an early beta. The bugs were numerous and ranged from minor to game breaking. And regardless of who we blame for this - the developers, the publishers, or the Unity engine - this sort of thing should never be encouraged.
Still, even though the bugs are many, I honestly think that their ubiquity is greatly overstated. I started playing Kingamker roughly a week after it launched, installing new patches as soon as they became available and this allowed me to play through four out of the game's seven chapters without any major issues and just a single crash. When I got to chapter five, I experienced some finicky interactions, had a few broken side quests, and was forced to improvise some workarounds during the main quest, but the game was very much beatable.
And according to the recent patch notes, most of the bigger issues have since been addressed, so if you pick the game up right now, you should have a more or less smooth playthrough with maybe an occasional visual glitch or some minor bug here and there. At the same time, take everything I say here with a grain of salt, as this review is based on my own experiences and nothing else, and when it comes to bugs, a sample size of one is not what you'd call extensive.
Moving on to the game's visuals, while not overly impressive, they're more than competent and have a certain rustic charm to them that helps reinforce the game's fantasy atmosphere.
The sound design, on the other hand, is pretty great. Even just the opening notes of the main theme you hear when launching the game are filled with power and determination. The rest of the music, some of it composed by Inon Zur of Baldur's Gate II and Icewind Dale II fame, is not far behind. And while the game's voice acting is limited to important dialogues, party banter, and chapter introductions, it sounds great and shows plenty of character.
Another thing I want to mention is how the game handles saving. In theory, Kingmaker ticks all the right boxes - it has an adjustable number of quick and auto saves and also allows you to save the game at will. But with this being a Unity engine title, while initially saving and loading is almost instant, as you go through the game, that time can easily reach roughly 20 seconds per loading screen. I won't lie, it's less than ideal, especially when you're trying to manage your kingdom.
I really hope something can be done about this in the future, because during the tail end of my playthrough the lengthy loading times were honestly more annoying than all the bugs combined.
Even today, games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout, and Jagged Alliance 2 stand proudly as benchmarks of their respective genres, since for whatever reason, video game developers spent the past 20 years not building upon the foundation of those games, but instead streamlining and simplifying their mechanics.
No more, says Owlcat Games with Pathfinder: Kingmaker. It's time to move forward, to take the old classics as the baseline and expand them, add more features instead of taking them away. Massive, complex, and immensely fun, even a heap of bugs was not enough to diminish my enjoyment of this game.
If you like isometric RPGs, you simply owe it to yourself to play Pathfinder: Kingmaker.
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