Pathfinder: Kingmaker – PC Review

Genre: RPG
Developer: Owlcat Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Franchise: Pathfinder
Release Date: Sep 25, 2018
Edited by Thorstag

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a one-player top-down RPG where you embark on a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) style campaign to save a land from a bandit lord to make it a kingdom of your own. Pathfinder is in the same realm of Dungeons and Dragons as it is an open game license version of D&D version 3.5 with the full support of Wizards of the Coast, the holders of D&D. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a wonderful experience and exposure of the table-top game as a Video Game. It follows other popular series like Baulder’s Gate and Fallout 1 and 2 on how it brings Pathfinder in a solo player video game with great results. I have a love of D&D and Pathfinder and can safely say the developers of this game did justice to this popular table-top.

New players to D&D style games may feel overwhelmed with all the stats, abilities, feats, and skills but provided premade options and preset builds can help the player get in the game and learn as they go. You are then given a very in-depth difficulty slider that most affects combat. This difficulty slider gives the player the option to have to carefully build their character or make it easy enough to experience the story. Though you are of one of a possible party of a max of six, you are the leader of your group as you travel and those you could encounter could be your enemies, friends or even party members. Your choices in battle will have a near equal impact as choices made out of battle, may be more impactful than you initially thought. The devs did an excellent job showing this at the starting level and as the game unfolds. The attention to key factors like camping, resting, and shared inventory help bring the table-top experience to this game as it is neglected in many others. You start as one of many adventures tasked with claiming what is known as the stolen lands from a bandit lord and the adventurer to do so will be given baron over the region.

As the game progresses, you will gain access to building your kingdom from the lands once filled with the bandits you defeated. This mode brings meaning to the adventure with a greater purpose and risk. In this stage of the game doesn’t say too much on what is needed to make your kingdom better but it mostly comes down to slowly ranking up all parts as you expand and manage settlements in your kingdom. If you did a lot of side quests early on you will find this part easier as you will have more choices of characters to be your advisors that fit your style of governing and you will know where places are and the effect of these places on the kingdom as you start to manage. For the most part, you want advisors that share your main alignment good/evil and lawful/chaotic. The mode will feel confusing as time management comes more into play. Events during this part of the game become more time-sensitive making the playing plan what to do in the city compared to what to do adventuring around. They do provide an auto function to this part, but I felt it removed the player from really feeling the impact they are doing on the kingdom. Advisors you select for key elements of your kingdom will have quests they go on to level themselves up as that advisor and bring more benefit to your kingdom. You will also have to keep relations with your neighbors and give audiences in your court as the game stresses to come back on the first of the month. You can still adventure out and do what you have been doing, but it isn’t just you and five others in the party anymore. Overall it can seem messy and not explained well, but the kingdom management can yield more benefits for you and your party to make life in your kingdom easier as you solve issues. It felt more experiment with something and see results to understand the kingdom management part of the game.

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is expansive with many options, alignments, classes, and skills. This large set of options can help when replaying the game but it could seem confusing to new players. The dialog may seem limited, but it makes up for this in many branch choices as it impacts others dialog. The flaws I found in the game are not game breaking flaws but small annoyances. Times you will feel very lost and have little ability to travel around the map as you can easily get lost early in with little direction until you uncover more of the map. I feel more could be added to the character portraits and voices to help with the character creator. Most of what is given are very archetype and will not fit most unless you are a human fighter or an elf archer. Combat can be seen as mostly rushing in unless you often pause to use abilities. As far of tactics, the formations you can do feel the only way to be tactful. I felt some of the NPC party members should have had some autonomous functions with combat choices or the enemy should attack more than just who is closest. I felt being disconnected from my character as I had to use others more than myself mostly. This mixed character usage created some confusion since you only have control of leveling up yourself when it comes to ability choices.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression of the game; it is a wonderful experience I will still be playing more into the future. It felt it gave more of a table-top experience then most games would. I would recommend this to anyone that loves table-top RPGs or D&D. The story is well put together and a rewarding feeling as it unfolds. I’m hoping for more games like this to come out as more players are exposed to these types of games. While I feel the table-top version of Pathfinder is more fun, on occasion, it can be hard to meet up with other players or find a game locally. This game is done by those passionate about Pathfinder and D&D, and I look forward to more from this company and how they will expand what they created in their next creation.

Pros

  • Great Table-top Experience
  • In-depth Dice System
  • Great Campaign Story

Cons

  • Limited Character Visuals
  • No In-depth Explanations on Key Mechanics

FoxieEXE gives Pathfinder: Kingmaker a Drastik Measure of 8.5 out of 10 (85)

Go check out Pathfinder: Kingmaker on Steam