Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition Review
A couple of years after launching on PC, Pathfinder: Kingmaker launches its Definitive Edition on consoles. Is it worth diving into, or should you skip this long RPG? Check out our review and find out.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition Review
Pathfinder: Kingmaker takes place in the Stolen Lands, an area ruled by a bandit named The Stag Lord. When the game begins, you are invited to Swordlord’s manor and given the task of killing The Stag Lord. However, before you can set out, the manor is attacked, and most of the other candidates given the job are killed. The Swordlord splits you into two teams, and tells you whoever beats The Stag Lord will become Baron of the Stolen Lands. You set out with a party of three and begin to hunt the bandits.
As you hunt for the bandits, you realize the lands are plagued with other problems as well. Trolls, undead, manticores, warring tribes of Kobolds and Mites, curses, slavers, and giant beasts wait to kill any adventurer that crosses their path. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is brutal when it comes to its difficulty, and entering the wrong cave or set of ruins could mean game over. It requires a more tactical approach then just running in guns-a-blazing if you want to last. You can turn the difficulty down and adjust other settings like lower critical hit chance for enemies or weaker enemies in general. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a marathon, and completing it fully will put you well over the 120 hour mark.
With the Definitive Edition of the game, you get two options for combat: Real-time with pause and turn-based. Real-time with pause is the default setting, where you all fight at the same time. Your AI will use its default attacks and abilities, and you will auto-attack unless you pick an attack. You can pause with a single button and choose all the moves and then unpause as well, helping with tougher fights. The real-time combat mode is excellent for groups of large enemies that are weak, like goblins or kobolds. It is also much quicker than turn-based fighting.
Turn-based combat gives you a turn order, and everyone goes on their turn. This gives you much more control over your party’s movement, skills, and attacks. I preferred this mode for bosses and more powerful groups of enemies. The downside is that it is prolonged compared to the real-time fighting. A five-minute fight in turn-based can be done in half the time if you do it in its real-time style. Thankfully, you just have to click the stick in to change between combat modes, making it a nonissue for the most part.
After you defeat the Stag Lord, you get to another major part of the game: kingdom management. Put simply, being a Baron isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need to manage what buildings are put in your cities, who your advisors are, which errands you send your advisors off to, and listen to citizen’s complaints and neighboring countries’ requests. Its a balancing act of earning income, keeping people happy, not going to war with neighbors, and picking the right person for the job. It definitely has its moments, but it can really feel like a chore sometimes.
The big problem is that you can’t access your kingdom menu in other kingdoms. While you are out handling business elsewhere, something might pop up in your Barony that you can’t deal with without going home. It leads to a lot of back and forth on the campaign map, which can be tiring with all the random encounters along the roads. The other kicker is that you have to load into the kingdom management screen and then load back out when you exit. It seems like this could have been a little more streamlined.
The loot system also suffers from being hit and miss. There is a ton of loot in Kingmaker; too much, to be honest. You will pick up all sorts of stuff to sell or equip. At first, the annoying thing was how often a magical weapon would just be +1 to damage and hit. You rarely get a +1 weapon with acid one it or another effect. It does mean that getting a powerful weapon like that is more special. It feels like you get 100 +1 generic longswords before something really cool. You can buy them, but they run around 24k. That’s a lot, even for a Baron.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive additions also comes with all the DLC included. The Wildcards DLC gets you a new Tiefling companion (technically two) in the primary campaign, who you find shortly after becoming Baron. Varnhold’s Lot gives you a short side story that happens in a neighboring area of your Barony, where you play as a new character. Beneath the Stolen Lands is a rogue-like adventure into the space beneath your Barony. You create a new party and try to clear as much of the dungeon as possible. When you die, you come back stronger and with new benefits. It is in the main campaign as well, but I didn’t spend much time with it.
I guess the real question is: How does it run on the PlayStation 4?
The answer: Not great.
Load screens take a good while, and they are plentiful. New area? Load. New building? Load. Kingdom Menu? Load. Random encounter? Load. And of course, you have to load back out of all that as well. I had many frame drops, and quite a few crashes as well. Thankfully, it saves so often that I never lost more than a few steps of progress. However, that does not mean that this is okay. I will say the new patch reduces the crashes quite a bit, but they are still present nonetheless.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition is a good game marred by technical problems on the PlayStation 4. As it stands, it is difficult to recommend to anyone in its current state.
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