Fortunately, developer Obsidian’s craftsmanship shines through at every turn. This is a sprawling, beautiful game. Characterisation is deep and customisable. Battles are challenging yet fair.
The orchestral score cribs heavily from Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings soundtrack (but let’s be honest, it’d be disappointing if it didn’t).
And the story, which explores the nature of reincarnated lives in a cursed realm where children are born without souls, is so well written I quickly found myself charmed.
Originally released on PC in 2015, this Nintendo Switch port transfers mouse and keyboard commands to radial menus.
It’s slightly cumbersome in battle, particularly while casting spells, but it does work.
Elsewhere, a few porting niggles crop up. Changing between handheld and TV mode occasionally sees UI elements cropped off screen and the save file timer hasn’t been adjusted to account for the Switch’s sleep mode. But these are minor issues worth tolerating.
CRPGs will always handle better on computer (that’s what the C stands for, after all) but I found the Switch’s portability particularly suited to the sprawling story.
Absorbing the mountains of fantasy nouns in chunks on public transport or in bed felt more natural than hunched over a desk, helping me endure the steep barriers of entry.
If video games exist on a nerdiness spectrum, with FIFA at the jock end of the scale, Pillars of Eternity occupies the opposite end.
It’s dense, intimidating and about as socially acceptable as playing D&D by yourself. But it’s also brilliant.
Reviewed: Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
David is an award-winning journalist, and was previously editor of Game Informer Magazine Australia.