About Pathfinder: Kingmaker
The Pathfinder is a top selling pen-and-paper fantasy roleplaying game. It builds on more than 10 years of system development and the largest open playtest in the history of tabletop gaming to create an unparalleled fantasy roleplaying experience.
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil!
Take on the role of a canny fighter hacking through enemies with an enchanted sword, a powerful sorceress blessed with magic by the hint of demon blood in her veins, a wise cleric of gods benevolent or malign, a witty rogue ready to defuse even the deadliest of traps, or any of countless other heroes. The only limit is your imagination!
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is an evolution of the 3.5 rules set of the world's oldest fantasy roleplaying game, designed using the feedback of tens of thousands of gamers just like you.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I pre-ordered and looked forward to playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The game came out on Tuesday (September 25), and by Friday (September 28), the game had been patched three times with over 100 bug fixes (and a promise of a major big patch later this first October week).
I’ve experienced a ton of game bugs, which I won’t really go into (most of it was written and addressed in the changelog/fixes in the patches) - but let’s just say it made playing the game in the first chapter not a fun experience. While the bugs are annoying (game won’t start unless cloud saves synced, custom portraits not carried on cloud saves, disappearing items, balancing issues, resolved quests still showed as active/not closed off, game crashes), it made me think that the developers didn’t have any real-world play testers (or enough play testers) before the game launched.
They could’ve easily solve these bugs if they had just released the game as a beta a month or two to people who aren’t familiar with the D&D rules. Sometime these developers and hardcore fans don’t see / can’t see from the perspective of a fresh set of new eyes.
Even though the game came out on Tuesday, I actually couldn’t download and install until very late Tuesday evening - well into Wednesday. When I started playing the game on Wednesday, I noticed how incredibly punishing it was on “Normal” setting. Every battle was a challenge, because my starting character only had 11 hit points and were constantly killed right away with one or two hits.
Even the first side quest, I was murdered by swarms of spiders, because the quest giver didn’t bother to tell me that the spiders were invulnerable to everything except for fire or acid. That’s fine, I found the answer after visiting a forum that explains how to kill the spiders. Kind of wish that stuff was written in the game. Or, you know, have one of the characters with high world knowledge to mention, “maybe you should use fire on these spiders.”
The bear at the Temple of the Elk was impossible to kill on level two, but at this early point in the game, it’s not possible to level up to level four or above. You couldn’t kill it with all the buffs, potions, and best armor (at that early stage in the game). I was stuck for a while, until patch two came out and resolved the balancing issues.
With Patch 3, I was able to finally made my wait to the Stag King’s fortress. The fortress won’t appear until I finish another quest… which I didn’t know about so I accidentally finish other quests out of order. By the time I found the fortress, I noticed that I only had five days (you’re given three months to find and kill the Stag King) left. Since it took one full day to travel from the outpost to the fortress, I could only do this twice before the game is over.
The first time I attacked the fortress, there was this weird bug that automatically killed the Stag King (I didn’t even touch him!). I felt a little cheated, so I reloaded and had a proper fight the second time.
You don’t need to kill everyone at the fortress, just the Stag King. After I told someone at the outpost that he was dead, the game closed the quest and started Chapter 2 of the game.
In the second part of the game, the gameplay is slightly different. Now it’s part castle management and part RPG game. Although a lot of modern RPG games includes elements of management (such as Pillars of Eternity and Dragon Age: Inquisition), I have never found this part of the game fun. It’s not. You have to resolve the kingdom’s problems and try and maintain their happiness and loyalties. There are (there will be) quests that only certain team members can go on, but unfortunately if they’re on another quest, you’re screwed. In fact, many of the timed quests are problematic, especially if you haven’t found all the necessary team members.
The other thing that I don’t enjoy is the camping aspect of the game. Sure, the first time was kind of fun, assigning your team to various tasks before going to sleep. However, you have to setup camp every 12 hours, so you camp a lot. It’s time consuming, and I wish there was a way for you to disable this feature or speed it up/make it less of a chore.
Look, I understand they spent a lot of time working on the camping mechanics, and I know, for a fact, that some gamers love this sort of thing… but it’s just not fun to me. It’s just bothersome to assign someone to watch the camp, assign someone to hunt for food, assign someone to cook food, etc. Plus, sometime the characters would talk to each other, it’s awesome the first time… but I could live without this extra in my game.
I’ve spent 23 hours playing the game (restarting the game four with different character builds) and I love it so far with the latest patch. The game is beautiful, the game play is awesome, the music is amazing, and voice acting is top-notched. Unfortunately, all the bugs prevented it from being an instant classic. I think over time, with all the problems ironed out, this could be a great game.
If you guys are interested in the game, the game is playable with the latest hotfix, but I suggest waiting for the first big patch 1.04.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is out now on Owlcat Games / Deep Silver. You can purchase the game on GOG.com.