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Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Enhanced Edition

With the help of over 18,000 Kickstarter backers, Narrative Designer Chris Avellone and composer Inon Zur, Owlcat Games is proud to bring you the first isometric computer RPG set in the beloved Pathfinder tabletop universe. Enjoy a classic RPG experience inspired by games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout 1 and 2 and Arcanum. Explore and conquer the Stolen Lands and make them your kingdom! Based on our players' feedback and suggestions, this version of the game improves and builds upon the original. Based on our players' feedback and suggestions, this version of the game improves and builds upon the original. This edition includes: • numerous gameplay-enriching content additions and dozens of quality-of-life features • new abilities and ways to build your character, including a brand-new class • new items and weaponry
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I am writing this review as a reaction to some of the current top reviews of this game. It saddens me that people may turn away from what I consider to be an exceptional experience because some people just weigh what is important in a game differently than you or I might. I will say that I never played the table top version or knew anything about this game or the Pathfinder system before this. The entire experience was brand new and fresh, but let’s get to it.
Obviously, you can see right away that I giving this game a recommend, but in order for this to have any impact, let’s first make sure that we have similar gaming preferences. So, to give you a better idea of where I am coming from and decide if my opinion will be of any value, understand that while I don’t exclusively play RPGs, they are my primary gaming genre. I love them, I love the story focus, I love the relationship building, I love the adventure, the occasional romance, but MOST of all, I love being given agency within the narrative and seeing the consequences of my decisions come to fruition somewhere in the game. You can surmise then, that I weight the story and roleplaying elements far more heavily than strong gameplay/combat. Enjoyable gameplay/combat to me, is just a bonus and it typically elevates an RPG to the next level. Some examples. Strong narrative/characters and strong gameplay/combat: Witcher 3. Strong narrative/characters but weak gameplay/combat: Dragon Age: Origins. Weak narrative/characters but strong gameplay/combat: Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Now keeping all of that in mind; This game now stands as one of my favorite RPGs of all time, so it is without hesitation that I am able to recommend this game to fans of role playing experiences. If you want a fun narrative, with endearing characters, solid RPG elements, astounding attention to detail, and you want to see your choices come to life in game, then this game is for you. GIVE ME THAT CROWN BOI. I once saw a group of random peasants looking for treasure and they asked me for directions, so I sent them in a random direction, because lulz Chaotic Neutral. Only to find them CHAPTERS later and have them tell me my directions worked and they are now rich. HAHA now that is what I am talking about. Now, I would be remiss not to mention the enormous amount of customization that you have as a player in terms of building your character. Tons and tons of classes (including archetypes) that allow you to build your character however you want. Awesome role playing possibilities. Love it. Want to be a ranger/bard/barbarian, do it, want to be some sort of duelist character, go for it, want to be a biting barbarian or a sword saint or a rogue that uses two flails? DO IT. This game is your canvas.
Okay but a few caveats, because again while I love this game, it has weak elements to it, and just like any other game these need to be highlighted too. Here are the most jarring problems for me. The game is not balanced, I mean talk about getting absolutely MURDERED in every other encounter. Enemies are tough, way too tough, the later part of the game is filled with enemies that can paralyze you, instant kill you, and have beefed up stats more in line with someone who is max level instead of the more likely 17-19 level party you are going to be if you don’t grind. Skill checks for locks and perception checks can only be done ONCE per level. I mean wtf is this LOL. This means if you fail to open a lock ONCE you cannot try again with that character until you level up. Uh pass, my guy, I am not coming back to to this area just to open the one chest. Encumbrance in games is the absolute bane of my existence, yeah yeah hard core bro, I hear you. That is realistic. BUT IT IS NOT FUN. With the amount of level drains and stat drains that you are going to be hit with, you will be encumbered constantly. Geezus. There are also some very strange narrative choices where the agency is taken away from the player. How much these specific instances will bother someone will vary, but for me, given how excellent the narrative elements are for the majority of the game, these instances really stood out. One specific issue here is that some dialogue choices are locked behind alignment, like we are somehow unthinking beings that are unable to rationalize decisions. Even funnier is the fact that there are tons of OTHER dialogue options that are other alignments that YOU CAN select. Come on Owl bros, why do you hurt me like this? The moving around in the map, okay seriously makes me want to bury myself in soup cans. As your territory grows you are sent farther and farther from your capital and you move sooooooooo slow. End me. I have to get the one egg from that one mountain and it is going to literal real life minutes. You can feel your body wasting away when this happens. Another thing, if you have never played Pathfinder like me. You will get overwhelmed. This system is not easy to understand and it baffles the mind how people play this outside of a video game. Ya’ll are a different breed. 300+ hours and I am far from mastery here. Lastly, I just want to quickly mention the Kingdom Management. I liked it, but really it is hit or miss. Automate it in the options if you hate it.
Okay I can hear you typing already. (Read this part in a funny accent) “ But my friend your negative paragraph is so much bigger than the positive paragraph, you said you loved this game”.
Well yes you are right and yes I do love this game, so here is where the biggest caveats come in.
Thankfully our great masters at Owlcat Games were kind enough to give us difficulty customization, so if you think you can play on Normal, don’t, play on Easy. You think you can play on Hard? Don’t, play on Normal. Look, the fact is, unless you are a Pathfinder genius, this game is going to punish you, so don’t help it hurt you. Adjust the settings to whatever works for you and I promise things will be so much better. If you want to be a masochist then do it later (or don’t your choice :D). Okay now one more thing: I recommend this game be played with mods, specifically Visual Adjustments (which lets you customize your character and companions to look exactly how you want them to in game) and Bag of Tricks (which lets you adjust SO many aspects of the game that it almost makes many of the issues I mentioned before, moot, as you can just adjust them). And before I start hearing about how you shouldn’t review games based on mods, let me just say this: MALARKEY. Mods elevate a game, a strong modding community and good mods allow players to tailor the game to their preferences, which to me IS part of the core experience. The mere existence of mods that give you options to make the game better tailored for you, is absolutely worth considering when buying. So yeah, play with those mods, 80-90% of my gripes with the game were solved because of them. Annoying lock mechanic: FIXED, annoying dialogue alignment locks: FIXED, annoying encumbered issue: FIXED, some weird bug that has you permanently debuffed: FIXED, an item didn’t show up due to a bug for a quest: FIXED. I mean these are god sends and combined with an appropriate difficulty level will make your experience 100 times better. Trust me.
Okay so let’s sum up because honestly kudos to you if you read this far and because steam is capping me out lol. The game is fun, but it is fun if you are looking for a specific experience. Yeah it is unbalanced, yeah some classes are better than others, yeah it can be very punishing, yeah it sometimes has weird unexplained mechanics, but ultimately if what you WANT is an RPG with story decisions, good characters, and the ability to role play how you want, then I promise you. Follow my suggestions and you will go on a journey that you won’t soon forget. Remember, this game is long, you don’t need to deal with things that aren’t fun, just fix them and enjoy the ride. Spread the love of RPGs my friends. Spread it.

Review from Steam

5/10 So-So.
You may look at the hours played and the score and think ‘what?’ but, I do think this is a very uneven game. So, pro’s;
It’s a CRPG
Dungeons and Dragons (Pathfinder module)
Many classes, skills, party members and thousands of skill checks on top of speech checks.
You get to found and run your own Kingdom with a basic card-based and event-based Kingdom management mini-game.
Loads of locations, lovingly crafted.
A superb multi-layered, chaptered story based on curses and their powers. The secret ending is a hell of a trip to get through, requiring some fairly easily missable options that you need to take to witness it. (I got the secret ending in any case.)
It genuinely is an epic adventure. (Just look at that hour count...)
Turn-based mode is a god-send, opening up new tactical options and making the game far superior and more fun than real-time-with-pause IMO. (Real time with pause is still an option for those of you who hate turn based, however.)
Neutral points:
Being an epic adventure, it is long. Ridiculously so. You encounter quite a number of people and it can be hard to remember them all, even with the in-game help relaying to you who they are. =p When I got to the ‘finale’ I made a save called ‘finale’, and then about three hours later made another save named ‘how is this not finished yet?’ The game is ridiculously long at times, the end phases could have been trimmed a bit.
Negatives:
Poor, to atrocious encounter design
If the story is written by someone keen to put you through your paces in an epic of twists and turns, the encounter design was created by a masochist. Or a DM who just wants to piss you off. A good DM is one that makes things challenging, but fun. Who will fudge rolls or allow the rule of cool. Here it is just layers of suck and unfun throughout, as if the DM wants to defeat you at every turn (these DM types suck IMO.) In particular, the final two stages of the game, which is meant to be an epic rush to the boss, are awful slogs of tediousness of enemies with bloated attributes and overpowered abilities that force saves every round. (On tabletop, one save confers immunity for 24 hours, not so here). I don’t understand why the game designers decided to bloat enemy attributes and make them anal, it is not fun at all to bother with them. (I understand turning the difficulty to ‘normal’ with ‘weak enemies’ is what would get you closer to the tabletop rules, which alleviates some of the issues, however, there’s an actual mod to deal with this.)
Note to developers: Keep your story guys, but please, fire the idiots in charge of your combat balance, please… for the love of sanity. (There are some magnificent encounters though, some are quite enjoyable, but good lord too many times does the game descend into melees of ‘this isn’t fun.’)
Over-reliance on dice rolls.
Yes, it’s dungeons and dragons, so there will be dice rolls. But… Lots of things are triggered by checks, and by ‘a lot’ I mean ‘nearly everything’. A lot of these checks are hidden, you roll for perception for hidden loot for example – miss the roll? Tough luck you failed it until you level up. Fail to unlock a chest? No loot unless someone else tries or you can level up. (oh, and you can’t “take 20” on these out of combat – for those that don’t know ‘take 20’ means you’re under no pressure, out of combat, so you can take a ‘max’ roll of the dice (i.e. 20) because you have all the time in the world to make sure you attempt something properly, at least that’s how I understand it).
The result is, you may very well be heading towards save scumming, especially when you roll really bad rolls consistently enough that it makes you wonder why you’re investing in the skills for the check.
Low level combat is boring
Because of the rolls, you and enemies will be mostly playing a game of swing-and-miss for an hour before someone dies. And at the end of the game, conveniently you get nerfed into a temporary low-level combat zone, which married with the atrocious encounter design, is pure hell.
Everything you do is dictated by a time limit.
For me, this is actually a positive point, but I know many people abhor time limits. So, every main quest has a (hidden) timer. If you don’t get a move on and do the quest, then it fails, and often it fails with a game over.
This is brilliant IMO because how often have we seen people complain about the main quest being ‘urgent’ and yet, we can mess about doing side stuff, putting it off until we can be bothered? Pathfinder will punish you, and punish you hard if you mess about. If you get a main quest, you do it, and you do it yesterday.
Once you finish your main quest, then you can do side stuff.
Some of the puzzles are ridiculously obtuse.
Seriously, they are so bad that you may as well brute force them or get a guide.
Horrific lack of documentation, poor UI, lack of being accessible.
If you like CRPGs and/or you know of D+D and Pathfinder, you should be okay. If you do not. Good luck.
I needed to resort to google to know what status effects actually does, because the game fails to explain them. What does it mean to make an enemy nauseated? Staggered? What actually does it do combat wise? Who knows, google it is. This horrific lack of documentation is apparent in the class creation pages. Yes, there’s fighters, wizards, that’s easy enough. But what is a Sage Sorcerer? A Vivisectionist? What do they gain and lose? Who knows, to the google-fu with you!
The game is lame at being accessible, this is made for Pathfinder fans pretty much, but for newbies? Nope. Accessibility? What’s that?
Awful performance issues (Unity game optimisation)
It’s rare that I get a game made in Unity that runs well for some reason. This is no exception. I had to disable AA to get over 30fps, and even then, it regularly dipped to 30-40fps on what I do consider to be a decent rig.
Conclusion:
So, as you can see, I have so many issues with this game, that although I stuck around for 130 hours for the story, characters and the setting, it is riddled with problems. Don’t let the fans of the game persuade you that it’s “fine” and a masterpiece or without problems. It genuinely isn’t. It lacks accessibility, it suffers from uneven encounter design, bloated enemies, frustrating mechanics with an unwillingness to bend or fudge some rolls in your favour.
On the plus side, you can adjust difficulty on the fly. There’s a deep world here, deep combat (almost) and the game is dripping with references, nods, stories, everything is connected, everything you do comes together, it is fantastic through and through. If it were more accessible, if the developers smacked whoever did encounters and enemy bloat on the head with a cricket bat, then this definitely would be pushing 8-9/10 territory.
As it is however, all I can say is buyer beware. Get this if you’re a D+D fan or a CRPG fan, but understand that you need to settle in for the long-haul, need to be prepared for absolute frustration alongside the fun of it. (And this is the finished product, the release version was plagued with game breaking bugs, so if you’re interested in Owlcat’s second game, don’t pre-order it IMO, wait for the early reviews and for their bug clean ups.) So, yeah, 5/10 is fair if I were to be objective. (Personally) I absolutely loved the game, (unless I was hating one of their awful encounters), and it held me for 130 hours, so it isn’t all bad, but it is severely flawed.

Review from Steam

One of my best friends ran this tabletop setting years ago. We were never able to finish the campaign, but playing this game felt like he was at the table running me through this again. It's well done and bitter sweet, seeing as how he passed away last year due to brain cancer. Thank you developers for giving me this chance to play this game and think of my late friend.

Review from Steam

Of nearly all of the modern CRPGs I've tried, this one is the best. Better than Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, Torment Tides of Numenera, Divinities, Shadowruns, Solasta. The only exception to this is Disco Elysium, but that game wrestles in it's own category altogether.
(Note: I haven't played Wrath of the Righteous yet, so this opinion may yet change.)
I've often felt that the more modern (3rd edition onward) iterations of DnD would be more fun on a video game than on the table, and this game seems to bear that out. It really feels like a sincere translation of the modern TTRPG experience: the extensive character building, the tactical challenge of combat, the character development power fantasy of 1-20 (ish, I only managed to get to lvl 18 by the end), combined with an enjoyable adventure story, world exploration and fun companions.
The scope of this game is immense and ambitious, which gives the game a great sense of adventure. You're given a relatively huge map to explore point-crawl style. Time passes during travel, and camping, lending to a certain amount of verisimilitude for the world, as the main quests do come with time limits (though the time limits never seemed particularly oppressive as long as you're prioritizing the order in which you do things).
The camping system in itself is the best I've seen in any CRPG; you assign party roles for watches, hunting, cooking, hiding the camp. Random encounters can take your camp by surprise, especially in more dangerous areas. This is an important part of a TTRPG adventure to me, and too many CRPGs opt to turning resting into some kind of an automatic heal-button, but not this game. Your companions even have small conversations during camping, which adds a nice bit of flavor. It really does feel like taking a party to an adventure, much more so than any other CRPG I've played.
The gameplay is classic CRPG fair of party based dungeon crawling and tactical combat. The main difference maker here is that Kingmaker lets you switch between turn-based and realtime with pause on the fly, which is something I hope every modern CRPG does from now on. You can use real-time when you know a few on the fly commands combined with party AI will get the job done, and turn on turn based for more challenging encounters that require more granular control of what your party is doing.
Those challenging encounters can be very challenging indeed, and the game does have some difficulty spikes that may feel jarring. Frequent saving is advisable because the game does not pull its punches. I do think many people are overstating the difficulty though, I never really felt like I was sucker punched with a completely unfair encounter, and I never had to revert a significant amount of progress due to difficult encounters.
The combat is some of the more satisfying CRPG combat that I've played, mostly owing to the faithfulness to the TTRPG system. There's a wide array of tactical choices at your disposal, and the game tests your knowledge of it's systems regularly, though it doesn't always present information to you that well.
I do have to say, though, that at times the combat encounters can become somewhat of a slog. Some dungeons are quite long and consist of a lot of repeated encounters of defeating groups of the same enemies one after the other. The pacing of the game could do with some tightening, and though I appreciate it's immense scope, it doesn't really need to be as long as it is.
The main story is fun. It is nothing groundbreaking to be sure, but it sets a good stage for your exploration of the Stolen Lands, and the journey itself is satisfying. A lot of it is pretty classic fantasy stuff: trolls, owlbears, fey and kobolds and the like. Personally, I've come to appreciate the more classic tropes like this. Dialogue gives you a nice amount of options of using your skills and stats for certain dialogue options, and the game gives you nice freedom of roleplaying the kind of character you want to be. Each companion comes with it's own set of quests that resolve throughout the lengthy game, and most of them go through some nice development.
The Kingdom Management will be an acquired taste, to be sure. It doesn't feel tacked on exactly, and I wasn't annoyed by its inclusion, but it is also not particularly deep and I can definitely see how some players might it gets in the way of the actual adventuring content. There is an option to let the game handle it, I didn't test that option out so I don't know how that affects the experience and whether you end up missing some content if you do automate it. It was an interesting experiment, and definitely suits the story this game tries to tell, but it doesn't completely hit its mark.
Overall, this is a robust and faithful TTRPG experience in a video game format, and the most worthy successor to games like Baldur's Gate out of the modern offerings. The game is incredibly ambitious and I'm shocked at how well it succeeded in what it set out to do.

Review from Steam

First of all, even though I recommend the game take it with a pinch of salt and heed my words.
Kingmaker is a very flawed game. One of the best I've ever played, and yet I'd rate it 5/10, despite it giving me over 150+ hours of game time, more than making up the money I spent on it. Because, it isn't just fun, it's absolutely frustrating if you don't enjoy the mechanics of the game. This isn't a game I would recommend everybody, saying the game is out to get you and to make you suffer is not making it justice, especially in the end game.
Now here are the reasons why I wouldn't really recommend this game, at least the ones that stuck with me, this game has some really bad game design choices, for example, the lack of in-game documentation, the game doesn't explain a lot of status effects or mechanics. You have to google and figure it out via pen and paper wikis. That is a critically bad game design, this leads to a lot of new players to the genre just dropping the game out of frustration, basically, the game doesn't prepare you for what's to come leading you to realize mid-game that your build just sucks and you need to change it.
Heavily RNG based, everything relies on a dice roll, so get ready for a lot of missed hits.
But it's now all bad, here is what made me stick with it for so many hours, it has some excellent story, well told at least in my opinion it made me overlook some of the frustrations just out of curiosity as to what would happen next. A somewhat enjoyable Kingdom management, it doesn't impact the story but it can be an end game if your kingdom falls, I don't recommend turning off the Kingdom management because you will miss some really funny/interesting events just turn it down to an easy difficulty so it's not something you have to worry about. A flexible combat system, you can do Real-time or you can play it turn-based tactical, you can use real-time for easy fights you just want to get it over it and turn-based for difficult ones where you need to micromanage your party.
If you read this and still decided that you want to try it do yourself a favour, research builds and stick with it, you don't want to be caught with a bad build in the middle of a dungeon having to reload a save so you can travel to the one person that allows you to change your build at a cost. Normal difficulty isn't actually a normal difficulty in Pathfinder in the early game you might not notice it but mid to end the difficulty will spike to ridiculous levels, I still have PTSD from the end game dungeons FUCK THE WILD HUNT , here is a very important tip by end game make sure your party has Freedom of Movement and Stone to Flesh you will thank me later. Pathfinder has customisable difficulty levels that can be changed at any time, read the options it might save you some headaches and always carry rope with you.
However, if you have reached the end of this review and feel like these game mechanics aren't for you but you like the style I recommend you try Tyranny or if very pretty graphics matter to you Divinity: Original Sin 2 is right up your alley.

Review from Steam

So, you've been looking for a DM to play some DnD with, and you just found one. All your friends have recommended this DM, and he's had to work very hard to get where he is, so you decide to hit this DM up, and ask to play a game with him.
The first thing you notice is that this DM has some really weird house rules. He's willing to allow everything in the core rulebook, and some of the stuff in a few of the older splatbooks, but also dosen't let you play a tiefling unless you buy him a soda first. Weird. But not a dealbreaker. He even lets you draw your own character portrait.
You start the campaign, and it’s immediately apparent that the DM has inserted some of his homebrew plot into the middle of the prewritten adventure. Not a big deal, you think. Every DM puts their own spin on things.
However, a few sessions in, around the time your hitting level 3, you start to notice a few...odd quirks that this DM has. The first was when he threw an enemy that was weak to cold iron without giving you an obvious Cold Iron weapon to deal with it. The second time was when he threw a super high level boss to ambush you outside a haunted campsite, with basically zero chance of your character able to defeat it. Or when the first real boss was up on a raise platform, with a huge bonus to hit, requiring half a dozen turns of _just movement_ by your armored dwarf to reach him. Oh, and did I mention he shoots 3 times per round?
Granted, it’s not all bad. The roleplaying aspect is great. And the DM even lets you adjust things like the amount of damage you take from monsters, or offering to reduce all the monsters ability scores by 4. This does somewhat level the playing field, but you still feel irked every time you end up fighting a monster with double or triple the amount of hitpoints your used too. Indeed, in the back of your mind, you begin thinking that this DM might be one of those DMs who just expects everyone to come into their game min maxed.
Once you realize that, you decide to restart the game, and roll up something that you, personally, consider overpowered. An elf wizard with 20 starting int and 8s across the board. Something that no same DM would ever accept. And yet? This DM does. And as you play through the campaign a second time? You find that the combat is a lot more fair. Shure, a DC 17 Fort save spell at level 1 shure seams overpowered to you. But not when all the enemies have +7 to their saves.
And the more you play, the more you learn to accept this mindset. And in the end, it ends up feeling less like a dnd campaign, and more like, a single player MMO disguised as a dnd game. Which isn’t a bad thing. But their’s definitely something lost in the transition.
Oh, and even with your overpowered character, the DM will still occasionally pull such bullshit as “entire party needs to make a DC 30 will save or else all your characters fall to the ground helpless” When your character’s bonus to will save is like, +9.
Apart from those hiccups, however, it was still a fun campaign. Took me a few characters to finish it, but I had a fun time doing it. Just...mind his quirks.
All and all, not the WORST Dm I’ve had (the scum on Roll20 knows no bounds) but definitely more of a 6/10. 7/10 when he finally let you roll initiative and take combat in turns rather then relying on a weird real-time-with-pause system. Definitely helps me aim my Confusion spells better :)

Review from Steam

I give up. I got to the final area but I give up. It's a cool game, with what appears to be a lot of love put into it. You can even make your character left handed for... whatever reason, which is pretty cool as a lefty. It's my first experience with the pathfinder system, which has a lot of cool ideas an archetypes. There's a mage/fighter gish who can apply touch spells with a sword attack. There's a rogue/ranger hybrid that sets an opponent as a favored enemy by landing sneak attacks. There's a totally sick spell that makes you two size classes larger (with corresponding bigger range and damage dice, as well as some extra strength) that is absolutely brutal if your barbarian has the cleaving finish feat. My character was a sword and board fighter who dual wielded her sword AND her board for a blistering eight attacks per round at endgame - that's pretty novel! Oh, and the story's pretty good lest you think the only things I have to praise are faithfully copying from the pathfinder rulebook, haha.
But it is also one of the most ridiculously punishing games I've played in recent memory. If your characters don't make the roll to detect a trap or pick a lock, they staunchly refuse to try again until they level up. And this isn't a "take 20" where you try with your maximum possible roll, you can flub it by rolling a one. That's not an interesting game mechanic, that's a "save scum every time you open a box" mechanic. Interestingly, the arcane trickster's ranged legerdemain feature seems entirely unaffected by this mechanic, so you might end up circumventing it entirely depending on how you build your party. Intended? Unintended? Man, I have no clue. And that's a minor annoyance compared to camping requiring a 10lb, single-use item per party member per rest - that's 60lb of inventory space PER REST!! And sure, you can circumvent that by foraging, but that can take up to 12 hours of precious time, which is detrimental to kingdom management, which is just incredibly frustrating in how limited you are in manpower - you can only have one, say, priest, and what if he's needed to solve multiple three week long problems this month? But you've sent him off to do research for sixty days?! Guess you're just shit outta luck. Ugh.
I want to like it, there's cool stuff here. But there's a lot to dislike, too. I wish steam had a neutral vote option, or a "know what you're getting into before you start" option, haha. Oh, and no other game has sent me running to google as often or as consistently. It's all just... a lot.