Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Review

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Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2021-09-02
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With me being an Aeon - a cosmic judge-type fellow - I could see disturbances in the Force basically, and had Aeon-specific quests to right them. I was also great at dismantling enchantments, seeing through lies, and even had a chance to engage in some recreational time travel.

And what with there being ten of these paths, this opens up plenty of opportunities for replayability. And before you even unlock your Mythic Path proper, you can also choose a Mythic affinity of sorts that gives you a few extra abilities and doesn't need to align with your actual path.

So, to give you an example, for my playthrough I wasn't engaging in anything remotely close to power gaming and just picked things that seemed appropriate at the time to see where that got me.

I was playing a Barbarian tactician who at first wanted to go the Angel route, it being the first option you get. As such, I picked the Celestial Totem Rage ability. Then, upon discovering Mythic affinities, I went with an Azata boon, that gave me some damage resistances, a strong reliable attack, and a way to give my allies some extra damage.

But when the time came, I turned towards the path of an Aeon, since it felt the most reasonable of the lot. And that made me a paragon of Law, which over time prohibited me from gaining any new Barbarian levels, and so I multiclassed into a Mutagen Fighter.

Being a Barbarian at heart, I ended up as an overall rubbish Aeon, and later on, was tempted to become a contract-signing Devil. But before I was able to switch sides, an altercation with the Prince of Darkness ruined my plans and left me a half-baked Aeon with something to prove.

You see, this sort of organic blending of a game's systems and its narrative, not knowing where your character will eventually end up, it's what makes RPGs so exciting to play. And very few of them offer such a breadth of options and meld their elements together so well.

What's also a clear step up from Kingmaker, is the general clarity and usability of it all. Wrath has a fantastic UI when it comes to character building (and not as fantastic when it comes to everything else).

When creating a character, it's easy to see which options you have at any given moment. And as for the game's abundant feats, there's now a search bar that allows you to look up a specific one or even a group of them based on some common tag. Plus, you can immediately see which other options any given feat unlocks.

Even the bane of many a newcomer to a D&D-adjacent game, the less than obvious stacking of bonuses, has been addressed and whenever there's a conflict of buffs or equipment, you can clearly see which of your bonuses are being wasted.

Or how about another noob bane - specializing in some weird weapon and then not finding any during your adventures. Wrath has this "companion" that's essentially a sentient weapon. And as opposed to most such sidekicks, this guy can transform into any weapon at will. And he gets stronger as you progress through the game, making him always at least a decent choice and allowing you to specialize to your heart's content.

Three Hearts, Three Lions, Three Stooges

And now, with the basic systems more or less sorted out, let's consider the actual campaign.

The game takes place in and around the Worldwound, Golarion's region directly connected to the demonic Abyss. For the past hundred years, the people living there have been locked in a seemingly endless war with an alliance of demon lords trying to use the Worldwound as their foothold to conquer all of Golarion.

During that century of warfare, four attempts to retake the demon-infested lands had already failed. And when your character arrives at the scene and all Hell, pun intended, breaks loose, an opportunity arises to mount Crusade 5, the last of the Worldwound crusades. This is its story.

Over the course of the game's campaign that will take you somewhere in the vicinity of 100-120 hours to complete, you'll get to cross swords with a host of demons and their godlike demon lords, learn more about the origins of the Worldwound and its connections to Golarion at large, deal with the logistics of a military campaign, and meet a stacked cast of pretty unique individuals.

This being a game about a holy crusade, you'd expect a lot of the characters to follow a certain archetype, and the campaign in general to have a somewhat solemn and heroic tone.