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If you have fond memories of classics like Baldur’s Gate and Fallout, and love isometric party-based CRPGs, then Owlcat Games’ 2018 release, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, is a journey you won’t want to miss. At Player Opinion, some of us have ascended to benevolent rulership, while others have embraced the mantle of terrible tyrants within the enchanting fantasy landscapes of the Stolen Lands. Brace yourself for an odyssey where destinies hang in the balance, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

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Pathfinder: Kingmaker Game Review

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Gameplay Experience: 18/25

Pathfinder: Kingmaker offers an engaging experience where your decisions shape not only the story but also the expansive game world and your character’s destiny. While these choices can lead to satisfying victories, they also bring the risk of unexpected game overs or unwinnable scenarios, injecting unpredictability into the narrative. Despite the apparent simplicity of point-and-click controls, the game’s mechanics (more on this later) are deeply rooted in the complex Pathfinder rulebook, creating a learning curve that appeals to a specific niche of RPG enthusiasts. This commitment strikes a balance between accessibility and depth, providing a captivating challenge for players well-versed in the nuances of tabletop RPGs. Perhaps this is a downfall in a sense, as the overall accessibility of Pathfinder: Kingmaker may not appeal to the vast majority of players.

Presentation & Immersion: 16/25

Navigating the user interface of Pathfinder: Kingmaker brings a blend of experiences. The HUD maintains an intuitive and easily comprehensible design, ensuring a smooth gaming experience. However, the Kingdom system, designed to add depth, feels cumbersome and overly complex, presenting a less user-friendly aspect. On the audio-visual front, the game offers a nostalgic homage to classic isometric party-based CRPGs, creating a visually appealing journey. Owlcat Games excels in crafting an engaging plot filled with twists and turns, offering multiple choices and paths that lead to diverse story endings. The game’s immersive maps further enhance the experience, each intricately designed with unique encounters, quests, loot, and secrets, encouraging players to explore and immerse themselves fully in the diverse landscapes.

Design & Technical: 20/25

Exhibiting robust AI, Pathfinder: Kingmaker delivers challenging encounters that can border on extremely brutal, especially on harder settings. The game’s extensive range of settings surpasses the norm, providing an unprecedented level of choices—perhaps more than any game encountered at Player Opinion. Despite the linear structure of each map and predetermined loot, the inner workings of the game content create a diverse player experience, featuring beautifully designed environments and abundant content. However, amidst these well-crafted aspects, a notable flaw emerges—the game’s complexity. Strict adherence to the Pathfinder ruleset by Owlcat Games and Prime Matter inundates players with overwhelming information on class choices and skills, similar to the daunting skill tree in games like Path of Exile. While the game operates remarkably well, this complexity poses a challenge for the average gamer.

The Skinny About Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Final Considerations: 22/25

For those in search of a gaming experience featuring multiple extensive playthroughs, zero microtransactions, and offering genuine value for your hard-earned cash, Pathfinder: Kingmaker stands out. Yet, the challenge lies in the game’s accessibility to a broader community, potentially marking a downfall when compared other games, think Larian Studios’ 2023 release, Baldur’s Gate 3. Despite its inherent complexity, Baldur’s Gate 3 manages to strike an admirable balance, making it enjoyable for a wider audience. Our dive into Pathfinder: Kingmaker was undeniably enjoyable, but given that Player Opinion operates as a bit of a nerd factory, it’s inherently difficult for us to harbor any dislike for such games. If you find yourself a fan of Dungeons & Dragons or the Pathfinder tabletop games, Pathfinder: Kingmaker offers a deeply satisfying experience, tailored to the tastes of tabletop enthusiasts.

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