Before we get this one started, as always, I want to take a minute to thank that guys and gals over at Plan of Attack, Obsidian Entertainment, and Red Cerberus a huge thank you for the review code so we could play what I can only describe as a masterpiece of its genre. It is truly an honor to be chosen to play a game to review, and while I fully plan to bash this one a bit, it deserves plenty of praise as well.
First the story. I will start by saying you do not HAVE to play POE1 to enjoy POE2, it is however very helpful. Depending on what choices you make there are returning characters and they will make comments and mention of the last game as you return to the role of the Watcher and Eothas awakens from under your home at Caed Nua.
Eothas is a god, and a god that decides people need to die, and your soul, at least in part, belongs to him. Now why this occurs I won’t be talking about, you will have to chase him down across the world of to find that out yourself, which leads to what I believe is the best addition to the series, your boat.
The boat works as your main form of transportation around the Deadfire Islands, and you can not have a game with islands and boats without pirates. What do pirates do? They attack ships.
Ship fights require you to have a crew, cannons and so much more. The better the crew, the better your ship will operate. Have a big ship and a skeleton crew? Things won’t go so well. Have a well-trained crew with plenty of cannons and food but forgot to buy cannonballs? You are still in trouble. You will always need to make sure there is food and shot for everyone to avoid a mutiny, and if things go bad, prepare to be boarded. This all works both ways tho, and you should feel free to do the same to anyone silly enough to annoy you.
The battle system is also a strong point in this game if you like Isometric style RPG’s. From the start, you have two options, real-time with pause where the action is always going and you can pause it when you need a second to make some choices. The other choice (and the way I played it most of the time) Turn-based. This was added in the 5.0 PC version and will be familiar to those that play Xcom 2. Regardless of how you choose to play it, you will never be at a loss for strategy and things to kill. On the lower difficulties, you can make a mistake here or there and be fine but at the higher ones, the small mistakes mean certain death.
Speaking difficulty there is truly something for everyone. If you don’t have a lot of time but love the story, there is a difficulty for that. Do you want to go all out and see if you can survive the hardest challenges possible undefeated? They got you covered.
Now earlier I did say I would bash the game a little, and here are the bad points. Nothing was a deal-breaker for me, but there were a few things that got to be pretty bad at times. For example a few times I got stuck on what seemed like absolutely nothing and couldn’t move my character. This was easy enough to solve by switching characters and letting the stuck character come over to me on his own. I will also note there was a patch while I was playing that may have patched that out since it hasn’t happened since, but be aware it did occur.
Another thing that got to me was the occasional frame rate drops and slowdowns. At no point did they affect gameplay, they just exist and bother some people more than others. For me, I don’t care if they don’t last more than a second or two and these didn’t. My last complaint is my biggest tho. Even on a PS4 Pro, this game has some significant load times. They are far from the worst I have run into, but when you have to sit through a few in a row it gets to a guy.
Bottom line tho when push comes to shove, this is early 2020 PS4 game of the year candidate for me. The game is beautiful, the story and world are well crafted and the sound and voice acting is top-notch. 9/10 must-play for RPG fans.