Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (PC) Review

By Athanasios 12.09.2021

Review for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous on PC

Dungeons & Dragons-inspired CRPGs used to be few and far between. For a long time, in fact, most people basically had to choose between two titles: Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights. More were slowly added to the library - the key word being 'slowly.' Nowadays, however, fans of the genre have been spoiled by a variety of gems that combine the old with the new, with one prime example being the Pillars of Eternity series. Pathfinder: Kingmaker, a game based on a tabletop RPG, was a more than decent addition to the modern-yet-retro world of CRPGs, whose main two flaws were how unbalanced (and buggy) it initially was, and how it was afraid to stand out from the rest of its ilk, especially when it came to story and world-building. Far from a bad experience as a whole, however, so the existence of a new entry can definitely be regarded as good news. Long story short, here's a look at what Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has in store.

If one was to write a review of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, and focus solely on the character creation screen, that unlucky fellow would spend an eternity writing. This RPG is definitely inspired by the classics of the genre, and thus it's not eager to simplify its Dungeons & Dragons roots for sake of convenience. Players have an enormous number of choices to make long before they even begin the adventure; choices that go beyond the appearance of the hero or heroine, with multiple skills, classes, and even class archetypes (think of them as sub-classes) that expand one's options in all sorts of ways, allowing to further specialize a build. The spreadsheet-like creation screen will probably discourage newcomers, but the developer has tried to improve this when it comes to explaining things, especially when compared to the somewhat unwelcoming Kingmaker.

Screenshot for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous on PC

Make no mistake, this remains a title that requires from the uninitiated to pay attention for every single step of the journey for at least a few hours in order to start feeling more relaxed around all this talk about 1d20 rolls, Saving Throws, and so on and forth. By comparison, Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire had a more streamlined UI and set of mechanics. Luckily this is still much better than its progenitor in that regard. One nice feature is the inclusion of an automatic level-up system that is especially helpful for greenhorns who don't want to manage their characters, as well as their companions, although, to be frank, this is not exactly advised for more advanced difficulty modes.

Pretty much the same can be said about the real-time-plus-pause combat. In "Easy" one can play without much care, but raise the bar just a notch, and you'll need to become a much better tactician, and learn how to use everything at your disposal. Wrath of the Righteous also features a neat turn-based combat mode, which activates with the push of a button, slowing the pace down, and providing ample time to think of a strategy. Unfortunately, this needs plenty of work right now, as it brings forth several issues, whether that's losing turns from switching weapons, not being to attack a foe for no reason, or characters not doing the thing they were told to do.

Screenshot for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous on PC

This installment continues the "trend" of RPGS that offer one additional game-within-the-game, which, for some (critic partly included), will be an element that sort of ruins the pacing and immersion of the whole thing, and feel more like a chore. Luckily, it's an enjoyable chore, despite it feeling slightly half-baked. This time around, instead of managing a barony, players are tasked with organizing crusades against the demon armies. Build and manage cities, lead armies, and many more, with the depth of the mechanics, and, as such, the available choices being once again mind-blowing, with your crusade actually being influences by some of your choices in the adventure part. Nice, but as mentioned before, a bit of a chore, and is also kind of plagued with bugs, with the "auto-pilot" button currently being a no-no, as the AI can make some pretty poor decisions.

Screenshot for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous on PC

Story-wise, players are in control of a typical ‘Chosen One’ type of character, with which they’ll lead a crusade against a demon infested wasteland, in a classic, very paint-by-numbers fantasy tale that’s written well, provides a neat feeling of being part of a legend, but is otherwise devoid of any originality, plot twists, or philosophical ponderings. Also, while the writing is more than decent, it’s a little flat compared to the much better prose seen in other modern D&D-flavoured RPGs, with characters many times coming off as comic book characters. “I’m the jolly and heroic paladin!” “I’m the sarcastic, and pragmatic rogue.” Everyone “shouts” their stereotypes a bit too much during conversations.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with WotR can be found where it counts the most, which is the occasional difficulty in role-playing the way you want to. Dialogue options are varied and all, but many times they won’t make any sense character wise, forcing players to pick between the less… irrelevant choice, which is kind of sad for an RPG that is so complex in almost any other area. Thankfully, this remains a game where choices do matter, and greatly affect your adventure, especially through the use of Mythic Paths, where the hero uses the powers of Mythical beings to stop the demon horde, and in essence opens up new dialogue options and even skills, adding even more depth to it all.

Screenshot for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is not a big improvement over Kingmaker, but it is an improvement, nonetheless. Some of its elements are exceptional, like the overwhelming variety in classes, skills, and "paths," or the general epic aura it has, while some other parts sit somewhere between decent and good, like the story (which is a bit too stereotypical), the Crusade portion of the gameplay (which is a buggy chore), and the actual role-playing, which, while fine and all, won't be enough for those spoiled by other modern classics of the genre. Despite some its flaws, it is undoubtedly very entertaining, and highly recommended, as it will surely satisfy your hunger for a good RPG.

Developer

Owlcat Games

Publisher

META Publishing

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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