As seen by the success of Fallout.New Vegas and the upcoming KOTOR II, Obsidian Entertainment has a firm grasp on the role-playing game genre down pat. The spiritual successor to the Icewind Dale series was kicked off on Kickstarter in 2012. Pillars of Eternity was the moniker given to it.
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Pillars of Eternity’s Kickstarter broke the record for the highest-funded video game at the time, proving gamers’ desire for games like this. Fans and journalists alike lauded the game when it was released in 2015. Many viewed it as an old school RPG with all the nostalgic characteristics beloved by veterans but without the repetitive mechanics that would be considered tedious by today’s standards.
The combat in Pillars of Eternity is pauseable and party-based in an isometric RPG. In keeping with Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, the game features 3D representations of characters atop gorgeous 2D prerendered backgrounds that add to the dark mystic atmosphere. After creating a character and making all the selections we’re used to making in RPGs, save for the character’s look, players can begin the game. In classic RPG tradition, these options not only affect what your character can do in the world, but they also work as skill checks in talks, allowing players to skip entire battles or waste resources. In most role-playing games, such skill checks have little effect. Avoiding fights means that you won’t be able to improve your combat abilities. Pillars of Eternity, on the other hand, offers no XP rewards for combat, making stealth builds a feasible choice for the first time (at least for me).
Let’s take a look at some other old school RPGs to see if there’s anything we can learn from the success of this one.
1. The Age of Decadence
In 2015, Iron Tower Studio released The Age of Decadence. To put it mildly, the environment of the game is one of a kind. a post-Roman apocalyptic world is depicted. The game’s creators were inspired by classic role-playing games. A lot of focus is placed on the choices you make and their effects, which may not always be foreseen. Instead of more modern RPGs, I like this type of RPG because it allows me to enjoy playing the character I’ve created, making choices, and seeing those choices play out in the real world.
The game begins with the player choosing various stats for the characters, as is customary in RPGs. In this example, gamers have a choice of eight different ancestries and occupations to choose from. Your players’ starting stats will be influenced by your selections. A noble knight or a cunning thief are just two of the many character types that can be chosen in this game. It’s a neat idea that’s rarely seen in RPGs, but the game includes a crafting mechanic that lets players repurpose old objects into new weapons if they have the skill to do so.
Steam has this game for a very reasonable price. This game will keep you entertained for a long time. If you’re interested, I recommend giving it a shot. Pillars of Eternity fans will enjoy this as well.
Pillar of Eternity’s developer is responsible for this game, as well. Aside from all of above, Tyranny was designed to enhance PoE’s decision-making process. As with the last game, this one starts at an odd point in time where the evil overlord has already won. Players take on the role of one of the overlord Kyros council’s most senior officials. Player’s mission is to restore peace and order following overlord’s victory by visiting various locations around the world.
Creating a character in the game is a unique and innovative experience. Kyros’ conquest is first decided by the player. The choices made here have a direct bearing on the final character. NPCs’ interactions with players are likewise influenced by these decisions.
The rest of the gameplay is very similar to that of PoE, therefore there was no real need for a revamp. Isometric RPGs can’t get any better than this.
3. Star Wars: Knights Of the Old Republic
KOTOR I and II are among the best role-playing games ever developed, despite the fact that they are not isometric. With their choice-based mechanics and how it affects the player and the world, they have a lot in common with PoE.
My admiration for the game’s nuanced approach of letting players choose whose side they support has been discussed extensively in the past, and it’s an important part of any Star Wars story if you didn’t know. Instead than allowing the player to select a side at the start of the game, the game instead allows the player to choose a side at any time during the game. Rather, the game chooses it by measuring the choices made by the player, which are mirrored in their look, the more animalistic the traits, the more inclination towards the dark side.
However, party-based fighting and DnD rules are present in KOTOR, which offers one of the best tales in an RPG (as far as my limited understanding about DnD is).
4. Planescape: Torment
Planescape was created by Black Isle Studios and released in 1999.
Torment was hailed as one of the best role-playing games ever made. Even today, that is still the case. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Planescape was used as a template for the development of PoE. Although the game was ahead of its time, it was only afterwards that it gained widespread recognition and became a cult classic that the game saw financial success.
After death, players assume control of an unnamed character who has immortality at the cost of amnesia. The respawn function in video games is explained in a creative way. The game’s story is engrossing as the nameless one searches for his forgotten past and discovers what made him eternal in the first place.
The story that follows is full with intrigue, and it takes into account the choices that players make during the game. NPCs who have been influenced by your activities may seek to join your party at some point. Your efforts may occasionally have the exact opposite effect. If you enjoyed Path of Exile, you’ll want to check out the enhanced edition, which was launched in 2017 and includes bug fixes and performance improvements to make the game operate smoothly on current computers.
5. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Here’s a title that has faded into obscurity since its debut in 2001. Troika Games produced Arcanum, an RPG with an isometric perspective. The game was popular at the time, but now it’s all but forgotten.
A typical RPG’s gameplay loop can be compared to the one in this game. However, in addition to looting dungeons, players can also aid NPCs with various jobs. These missions, of course, depended on the character’s stats and allowed the player to acquire special things or gain followers. The interactions with NPCs and the choice-based gameplay are reminiscent of Path of Exile, but Arcanum also provides players with many ways to fulfill objectives, a feature that has earned it high praise. It was also one of the first games to allow players to choose between real-time or turn-based combat, as well as a mixture of the two.
The game’s main concepts and Modules, which let you add new maps to the base game, make it extremely replayable. The game’s lifetime is enhanced by these features, which allow modders to create their own content for other gamers to enjoy.
6. Dragon Age: Origins
There’s no use in recommending this game if you’ve previously completed PoE. But if you find the game too difficult and want to dive into the hardcore RPG genre, then this is the game for you. For veterans, Dragon Age may not provide the same level of satisfaction as Path of Exile; however, this is just my own view so please take it with a grain of salt.
Isometric views can be toggled in the game’s third-person perspective, allowing players to have a better sense of the battlefield. Even though it’s based in the standard fantasy region that most RPGs cling to, this one nonetheless offers an intriguing setting. If you’re not careful, your companions can perish (permanently) if you’re not careful enough in this RPG. In addition, your partners respond to your actions through an approval system mechanic. They may abandon the group or even attack the player if their opinion of them becomes too low.
7. Baldur’s Gate
The most obvious was kept for last. A beta for the third game, Baldur’s Gate, is now taking place. The game was a big success when it was released, winning numerous accolades and bringing in a ton of money. PoE and Obsidian’s previous efforts to recreate the unique experience that games like Baldur’s Gate provided are easy to draw comparison to today’s game.
In terms of gameplay mechanics, there isn’t much to discuss because most RPGs are based on Baldur’s Gate. Isometric RPG players will feel right at home in this game right away. simply because it’s a genre-defining experience.
This is a game that can be played on any modern device, even mobile phones, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a beginner’s first foray into role-playing games. There are few games as tough as this one.
Action and stealth, on the other hand, are largely confined to first- or third-person perspectives and rarely exist in a variety of forms. Subgenres of role-playing games abound. With games like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate inventing the genre, isometric RPGs are possibly the most established sub-genre of the genre. However, I believe a decent game of any genre may make money if it is skilled enough, despite the industry’s preference for money-making games like Call of Duty. Indeed, with games like Baldur’s Gate III on the way, the future looks bright for aficionados of the fantasy genre. PoE confirmed this when it broke the Kickstarter funding record.