If you enjoyed the first Pillars of Eternity, this is the game for you. It has a lot more of what made P1 great, and a lot less of the little annoyances that marred its otherwise well-polished surface. Far more dialogue lines have voice-overs this time around (they're good, too!), and there's no more of the golden-named Backer NPCs just kinda hanging around waiting for you to read their fanfic stories. Also, the decisions you made in the first game, the factions you befriended (or alienated), major plot points you covered or ignored … many of them will come into play in this new game. Don't worry if you don't have your old save file; you can make up your own history if you don't have one. This time around there is more to do, see, and you can even sail off into the horizon, recruit a scurvy crew, arm yourself with cannons, upgrade your ship and become a noble privateer or a notorious pirate!
The Story & Flow
You reassume the role of the Watcher from the first game – literally the same person, though you've been reincarnated and kicked back down to level one. Pick your new (or old) race, class(es), gender, etc., and the locals will “remember” the old you as you are now, thanks to some direct – if rather abrupt – divine intervention. You are still strongly connected with the spirit world, and many of those spirits would like to have a word with you, although they aren't nearly as overbearing as they were in the first game.
Remember that massive Adra statue that occupied the dungeon underneath your old hangout in the first game? It's been possessed by a local deity. Now it's alive, and it's decided to go for a walk, terrorizing the countryside by simply being a giant magical indestructible hunk of mountain that can move much more easily than your standard mountain can. Unfortunately, anyone who is anywhere near it gets turned to dust simply by being exposed to its overwhelming aura, which is a problem. The other deities have sent you forth to do something about it, as apparently, they can't be bothered. Also, its emergence pulverized your headquarters, along with nearly all of your NPC allies and most of your cool gear. Time to get to work.
This time around, there's a lot more territory to cover and questing to be done, in addition to a lot of little changes that just make the world feel more alive. There's a weather system and proper day/night cycles, which come into play in-game, with some NPCs only found in certain places at the proper times, or locals calling you out if they see you slinking around in the dark. The first game feels like a sterile world of cardboard cutouts in comparison. Adding to this is the new Bounty system, which is spread out over multiple NPCs instead of just one, meaning that you can have a multiple active bounties to seek out and behead at the same time, in addition to the ability to search for them on your own before getting an official assignment.
The Wizard spell system has been upgraded as well, so your Grimoires always contain a pair of spells for each level that cannot be changed. The spells you choose to learn at each level are the ones you can access, no matter what. You can also choose to specialize in a magic school in order to gain special buffs, like the ability to double-cast spells at random (Evocation), call upon a familiar (Conjuration), auto-cast a Deflection spell (Illusion), and so on. You can also invest in noisemakers and other forms of distraction in order to get your Rogue on, as you relieve the contents of your victims' heavy purses and overflowing treasure chests. Random events and interruptions both in towns and at sea will also net you opportunities to line your pockets and pick up useful gear that you otherwise wouldn't have access to.
One problem I came across was the balancing among the classes. Some are drastically under-powered, with too few benefits to make up for their drawbacks (e.g. many of the wizard specializations), while some (like the monk) are just short of game-breakingly overpowered. The difficulty has also dipped compared to the first game; besides the balancing, it's just not as hard as the first game, although I did have the advantage of extensively playing the original. Speaking of difficulty tweaks, another new addition is the “Blessing” system, which works much like the GRADE system in the “Tales of...” console RPGs. Whenever you earn an achievement, you'll earn Blessing points (they're refilled on every New Game), which can be “spent” to claim bonuses such as +2 to all stats, double skill bonuses, extra money, or even on unlocking a special shop that carries rare gear! This is completely optional, of course, and it does not yet include options to make things harder, but it's still a nice addition to the game.
Graphics & Sound
Reasonably detailed characters (especially when compared to PoE 1), with much more variety in clothing/armor designs, and visually stunning architecture helps set the stage for this grand pirate adventure. The music is fantastic, and integrates so smoothly with the environments that sometimes you aren't quite sure it's there – until you reach an area that lacks a notable score and mostly goes with creepy sound FX. Vibrant shanties (some of which your crew will sing as you sail!), subdued symphonic pieces and more all help to bring this world to life. The voiceovers must also be commended; the characters – for the most part – have voices that fit their personalities, and the voice acting is among the best I've heard in years, RPG or no. While it's impractical to voice every conceivable line of dialogue, they sure as hell try!
Keyboard and mouse; same shortcuts as before, with heavy customization available regarding the shortcuts, in-depth AI options, and auto-pause functions in combat.
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Vista or higher required; Windows 10 64-bit or newer recommended
Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10 GHz / AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
Storage: 45 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card