If you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons then you might be interested in Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition. Developer Owlcat Games released Pathfinder: Kingmaker on the PC a couple years ago but now the Definitive Edition has arrived on consoles with all of the downloadable content packs included and some much-needed quality of life improvements. How has the overall transition to the console controller gone?
Now of course this game is based on the Pathfinder tabletop game so if you’re familiar with the ruleset there and the inner workings you’ll feel right at home in this video game version. If you aren’t though the game just kind of throws you right into the experience and there isn’t much for tutorials present. This could be daunting for players who haven’t played a CRPG before but for those who have it shouldn’t be too hard to get your bearings. Now it wouldn’t quite be Pathfinder if the game didn’t offer you a deep customization system to dive into upon starting off and that’s exactly what this game does. If you just want to get right into it you can go with several pre-made characters but those who like to really customize their character have that option too. There are 9 different races to pick from and a whopping 16 different classes. Each of those classes then have 3 different archetypes that you can pick from meaning that you can have many, many different options for characters. You also have a ton of control over different gameplay features such as difficulty, how your characters progress and much more. Customization is something Pathfinder truly gives you in spades.
The story in the game early on has you trying to take down the Stag Lord from his position of power in the Stolen Lands so that you can take his place. Once you manage to do that there is still much more of the game’s story to experience though I won’t spoil any further bits about it in this review. The game has some fun characters and some interesting quests but I wasn’t impressed by the story or anything. The game is quite long and even when you finish with the main story you still have all the DLC giving you even more to do. Some of these packs were smaller things such as Bloody Mess, which added more blood and gore to the game, and Arcane Unleashed, which added more spells and magic. Then you have the Wildcards which brought the Tieflings race, the Kineticists class, and the new Tiefling Kineticist companion for your party. Finally, you have the more story-based expansions such as Varhold’s Lot and Beneath the Stolen Lands which gives you even more hours of gameplay in what is already a pretty meaty package.
You move through the world via premade paths on the World Map. At times you come to forks and have to make a choice of which way to go. At any given time, you can get stopped by random fights and how you approach the combat is up to you. One of the biggest changes to the game now that it is on console is the addition of a turn-based combat system. The PC version’s combat was all real-time but the developer got a lot of feedback and implemented this new option for the console release. Even better is the fact that you can toggle between the two systems at any time with R3 which gives you a lot of freedom in how you tackle combat. Finding the need to think for a moment and plan your next strike? Toggle that turn-based option on. Want the AI to take over when you feel like you have the situation under control? Turn the turn-based option back off. I myself switched between the two quite often during my playthrough as I enjoyed both and found each of them useful for different encounters. Overall, it’s a great addition to the game and lets you experience the combat the way you want.
There is another side of the game as well that I haven’t spoken about yet and that is the whole managing your kingdom part. As the new ruler you have control over building your kingdom, bringing in goods and more. This part of the game requires a lot of your time as there is constantly something going on that needs your attention. If you ignore them you can end up on a game over screen so that isn’t really an option. I didn’t particularly enjoy this part of the game and thankfully this is another area the game allows you to customize. If you want you can just turn the kingdom management part off and proceed with the rest of the game.
The graphical presentation in Kingmaker looks fine for an isometric RPG but it didn’t really wow me at any given time. Performance was good sometimes and other times the game seemed to struggle. Some of the inputs also seemed delayed which would make scrolling through menus annoying and I also had the game crash on me a few different times. A big patch just released on the day the game came out and I didn’t have time to go back and test it so hopefully some of these issues were fixed in that. On the audio side of things, the game has a pleasant fantasy-like musical score that fits the world in the game. It also has plenty of voice acting and all of the lines were delivered quite well by the actors.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition is a deep isometric CRPG that any D&D fan will most likely enjoy. The base game alone has tons of content to get lost in but when you add in all of the additional DLC you get a very robust package. It’s just a shame that some annoying bugs and crashing issues are currently present as they do serve to be quite the annoyance. Hopefully they get fixed up soon so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful RPG experience that is here.
*Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker - Definitive Edition$49.99
- Great adaptation of the Pathfinder tabletop game
- Tons of content in the base game and DLC
- Solid visuals and fantasy soundtrack
- Voice acting is good from top to bottom
- Tons of character and gameplay customization options
- Can be intimidating to newcomers
- Encountered numerous annoying bugs and game crashes
- Didn't enjoy the kingdom management parts