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With the Kickstarter campaign for Owlcat Games’ CRPG Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous up and running, we can now check out a good deal of hands-on previews for the game online. These previews tend to cover the game’s exciting new features while also offering a quick overview of the currently available demo content. Have a look:
I played a section of a fortress assault mission, which involved killing a lot of giant spiders. The darker tone is immediately obvious. I bloodily dispatched giants and archers on the ramparts, unlocking doors that led deeper and deeper into the castle. This combat-heavy section can't show off the game's most promising features however. The new Mythic class paths look great, and Owlcat are determined to do a better job of polishing the sequel to make sure consequences correctly line up with your decisions during the final stages of the game. Time-limited decisions are gone too - apparently players absolutely hated them. Now you will be able to really ponder those difficult moral decisions. Angel or demon? The choice is yours.
Shpilchevskiy explains that Paizo Publishing – creator of the tabletop series and Pathfinder owner – was a big help in letting the studio move forward with this idea. “Paizo is a great partner. They were very open-minded. If we came up with some new ideas, some new content to fulfil the framework, they are always open to discuss it, which gives a lot of creative freedom”.
For example, he says, “initially this adventure pass was about good side (paladins) working with the bad side (demons) – mostly. So you can play only as the good aligned characters. And we suggested, let’s have the ability play as the bad guys. Bad guys still may want to fight demons, and still might want to save the world – but for their reasons.” To protect their own interests? we ask, to which he replies: “Yes, yeah – for example”.
The interface now alerts you if you’re wearing armor with incompatible bonuses. Alerts, not prohibits—because maybe you’re doing it on purpose, sacrificing utility for fashion. That’s fine with Owlcat, as long as you’re aware.
Many of Wrath of the Righteous’s hardest encounters are also optional. That’s another part of making Wrath more approachable. Give people a challenge if and when they want it, but don’t grind the story to a halt because of one encounter.
Choices. It all comes back to choices. Owlcat wants Wrath of the Righteous to be every bit as complex as Kingmaker, but with the option to scale back. Pathfinder is a famously crunchy (read: rules-heavy) system, but it doesn’t need to be that way for everyone, maybe.
There are also plans to add a new strategic layer that will allow players to send troops around the world to fight demons, find treasure, recruit new allies and gather war assets. It sounds similar to systems I’ve seen in Assassin Creed and Metal Gear Solid titles where you send out teams of NPCs that you’ve amassed to do automated timed missions, but it’s hard to say how similar they’ll actually be without seeing Pathfinder’s feature in action.
I have little doubt in my mind that Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is going to be a meaty game given that its predecessor weighed in at over 80 hours by many accounts. So having played just 45 minutes of gameplay give or take during our preview demo, it’s hard to get an accurate gauge for how the overall quality will hold up tens and possibly even hundreds of hours later.
That said, what I did played, and what has been said by the developers both in our previous interview and at the demo, left me feeling very optimistic and encouraged about the direction Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is going in.
To battle the demonic invasion, your character and party companions receive extra abilities from the selected Mythic Path. There are many Mythic Paths, and they permanently alter the characters and the world around them. Some of the Mythic Paths include Immortal Lich (which lets you command powerful spells and an undead army), Path of the Trickster (which lets you manipulate probability), and Path of the Angel (which lets you summon celestial allies into battle and bolts of divine judgment upon foes).
In addition, some Pathfinder RPG character classes that didn't make it into Kingmaker will appear in Wrath of the Righteous alongside the returning roster that includes the Witch and Oracle classes. More classes and character options will be revealed in the future.