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Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part Two review: An incredible, apocalyptic finish

Hayden Dingman | Feb. 17, 2016
The White March's second half salvages the slow pacing of the first and ultimately redeems Pillars of Eternity's expansion.

Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part Two

NOTE: Expect SPOILERS throughout this article for both Pillars of Eternity and the first half of the White March expansion. I recommend skipping to the end if you just want to know whether to buy the expansion as a whole.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. When last we left Pillars of Eternity, my party of adventurers had just completed the first half of the White March expansion and reignited the fires of Durgan’s Battery, the ancient forge hidden high in the mountains. And then we went on our merry way, content we’d saved the tiny town of Stalwart from economic collapse.

How naive. We probably should’ve guessed that the power of Durgan’s Battery would draw more than laborers to Stalwart. Eyes have turned towards the village. Hundreds of eyes. The eyes of an army set to sweep through the entire world, leaving nothing but ruin in its wake.

And you’re the only one who knows.

The big finale

After playing through the first half of The White March last August, I said “What we have in The White March Part One is a low-stakes, low-reward dungeon crawl padded with some filler quests.” And I stand by that, because Part One was tedious.

Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part Two
(Click to expand)

Part Two makes up for it. Apocalyptic—that’s the best way to describe The White March Pt. 2, which once again brings you to the snowy mountains surrounding Stalwart and Durgan’s Battery. If you’ve already finished the expansion’s first half, you’ll need to rest once in Dyrwood to trigger the second section.

Do so and you’ll have a dream. An omen. You see hundreds of eyes, staring through you. You see the aforementioned army sweeping down from the mountains, eventually crushing your fortress of Caead Nua into dust and reducing the world to embers. And you think to yourself, “This seems bad.”

So it’s off to the White March region again. Regardless of how long ago you were actually there, the game acts like it’s been a few months. Returning to Stalwart, you’re hailed as a hero. Seemingly everyone recognizes you—“The hero who re-lit the fires of Durgan’s Battery!” People are a lot friendlier. The town is bustling. The mines are open again. But...well, there’s an army encamped near Durgan’s Battery, called The Iron Flail. Maybe that’s who you seek?

Maybe.

Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part Two

It’s no wonder Part One felt dull. It was essentially a bare-bones first act, setting the stakes for a more energetic second half—problem being it was impossible to tell at the time. The mystery of Durgan’s Battery is not the end-goal. It’s the setup, another pawn in a much larger story, the flapping butterfly wing that leads to dire circumstances later on.

 

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