Tobold's Blog
Saturday, September 04, 2021
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

On Thursday, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous was released. And for once, I bought a game at release. Or, actually, a day before release, in order to get the pre-order bonuses. So, how is the game?

In a nutshell, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is pretty much the same game as Pathfinder: Kingmaker, without the kingdom management. Instead it gets a "Heroes of Might & Magic" style sub-game, but I haven't reached that yet. If you have played neither Kingmaker nor Wrath, well, Kingmaker is €20, and Wrath is €50, and Wrath certainly isn't more than twice as good as Kingmaker. Neither one of the Pathfinder games is especially beginner-friendly. Wrath has 25 classes, with around 5 sub-classes each. Unless you know the system quite well, you are likely to have no idea which one of the over 100 options to choose and end up with a premade character. Or you spend several hours searching the internet for the perfect build for your character, which makes the character much more efficient, but not necessarily more fun to play. In any case, there aren't that many fundamental roles in a party, so those 100+ subclasses are definitely overkill.

After having started Kingmaker with a cleric, and then started over with a wizard, this time I directly went for the wizard. Of course I ended up with lots of wizard-y companions and only one cleric-y companion. And Owlcat games subtly nerfed arcane spellcasters by making the story about battling demons, which are more likely to have spell resistances or elemental resistances than the enemies in Kingmaker. On the other hand, wizard is still a very fun class to play. And once you leave the tutorial mission and get into the proper game, the first vendor is selling all scrolls that your wizard might ever want to learn spells from, which removes a major disadvantage of that class.

Wrath of the Righteous, like the patched version of Kingmaker, can be played in turn-based mode. Which is what I prefer. My group is only level 3, but there are already so many different options that they have in combat, that I would find real-time combat far too chaotic to be fun. Outside combat, the game is mostly about doing quests and having character dialogue, sometimes involving skill checks. You follow these quests to various locations on the main map, each of which then is a battle map to explore and do your quests in. Wrath is to Kingmaker what XCOM 2 is to XCOM 1: In the sequel the bad guys won and your job is it to get the good guys back up again.

As I liked Kingmaker and played it for over 180 hours, Wrath of the Righteous is a nice enough game for me. I would have wished for more improvements over Kingmaker, especially in terms of loot and inventory management. But other than a button to sell all junk loot, the game is still pretty much the same here. Basically I would only recommend Wrath of the Righteous to people who already played Kingmaker and want more of the same.

Both Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous were Pathfinder adventure paths before they became video games, so the similarities don't surprise me.

If I had to guess, Owlcat's next Pathfinder game will be one of the more popular adventure paths, such as Rise of the Runelords or Curse of the Crimson Throne.
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