Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Review

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Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2021-09-02
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When Owlcat Games released Pathfinder: Kingmaker back in 2018, that expansive CRPG with an abundance of classes, quests, and systems came pretty close to being a worthy successor to the Baldur's Gate throne, but it wasn't quite ready to dethrone the king just yet.

And this now leads us to Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, Owlcat Games' second go at creating a massive CRPG based on a deep tabletop ruleset. Older, wiser, and more experienced - the developers had every opportunity to create a truly spectacular video game here. But were they successful? Read on to find out.

Just When I Thought I Was Out

Not getting any younger myself, I have to admit I had my reservations prior to diving into Wrath. At this point, I generally prefer my video games to last somewhere between 20 to 40 hours. Anything more, and I tend to lose interest. As such, the prospect of getting lost in a massive campaign was a bit daunting.

That didn't last past my first day with the game. The clock was showing around 3 in the AM when I vaguely remembered that sleep was a thing people did. And perhaps even more shockingly, that enthusiasm persisted, and for several weeks my life consisted of two things: Pathfinder and Not-Pathfinder. With the latter being a remote afterthought.

So, above anything else, it's important to note that the game is very fun to play, and it does manage to evoke that rare feeling of wonder that comes with exploring a truly deep and expansive RPG.

Now, as you might have guessed, Wrath is using some iteration of the Pathfinder tabletop ruleset, which makes my job a bit tricky, because if I were to sit here and explain all of Pathfinder's quirks and intricacies, we'd be here all week.

In short, the game is based on the first edition of Pathfinder that in turn is a spiritual continuation of Dungeons & Dragons' third edition. D&D 3.75, if you will. Meaning that if at some point you've played a D&D RPG along the lines of Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights, you'll know what to expect.

And if you didn't, or if some of the finer details elude you still, Wrath has this neat dynamic tutorial system that pops up every once in a while to give you some useful bit of advice, like if your character has been blinded, and instead of removing that condition you keep fighting like that, or when you have a clearly better item than what you're currently wearing just sitting in your inventory.

And what with this being Owlcat's second Pathfinder RPG, it has more of everything compared to Kingmaker. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Wrath's character building is currently unrivaled.

You have 25 basic classes all going up to level 20, each with 6-7 subclasses. Then, there are 13 prestige classes and abundant multiclassing options. You also have 12 races (with their own selection of sub-races) to choose from, ranging from the fairly standard Humans and Dwarves to some funkier options like the Oreads, a race of literal stoners, and the daywalker-wannabe Dhampirs.

On top of that, you have backgrounds granting you additional proficiencies and bonuses, as well as what feels like hundreds of feats.

And just in general, the game gives you plenty of options. You can get a dinosaur pet. You can even ride said dinosaur into battle. You also can dual-wield certain shields, which is a very amusing feature to me. Basically, if there were ridable turtles in this game, it would've had everything.

And because all that variety isn't enough, the game also has these so-called Mythic Paths. They essentially act as an extra leveling system that goes up to level 10 and happens in parallel to your main class advancement. Only instead of collecting experience points, you need to progress through the game's story in order to raise your Mythic rank.

Upon gaining a Mythic level, your characters will get access to either a Mythic feat - these usually improve one of their existing ones - or a Mythic ability that can get deliciously overpowered, like being able to extend the duration of most of your spells to full 24 hours, or simply refusing to die for two full turns.

Your main character will also adopt a proper Mythic Path. These will gradually turn you into some powerful being, like an angel, demon, lich, and other things of this caliber. All of them come with powerful abilities that are built to work with both spellcaster and warrior classes, and a decent chunk of unique content.