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Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part One review: Just another chapter in a long tale

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 26, 2015
The White March is to Pillars of Eternity what Tales of the Sword Coast was to Baldur's Gate.

All that being said, I do want to commend Obsidian on some of the mechanical tweaks, some of which were rolled back into the base game in the recent 2.0 patch. Most important of all is the fact you can now see spell ranges, so you can tell whether a character needs to move into harm’s way to attack.

Soulbound weapons are also an interesting addition to your arsenal. These weapons are “bound” to a single character, and are then unusable by all others in your party. The upgrade path then relies on performing specific feats instead of generic enchantments—for instance, requiring you do 200 damage to beetles for the weapon damage to increase. Again, this seems more useful if you haven’t finished the game, as you’d have more opportunities to complete these challenges.

And finally there’s the level cap, which has been raised from 12 to 14. The biggest effect? Wizards, druids, and priests can now cast Level 3 spells as “Per Encounter” instead of “Per Rest,” meaning your wizard can throw seven fireballs per battle. It seems to make casters a bit unbalanced and overpowered, but I like it.

Bottom line

I meant what I said at the top of the article: One day, The White March will be to Pillars of Eternity what Tales of the Sword Coast is to Baldur’s Gate. Every newcomer will play the base game and expansion at the same time. There’s no real reason not to, and few will even realize what belongs to the expansion and what doesn’t.

And that’s great! But that’s not me. Nor, maybe, you. The fact is, The White March Part One is good fodder for those coming in fresh and a fine addition for those looking to replay, but isn’t compelling enough on its own for you to come back to Pillars of Eternity if you’ve already finished the game.

Again, that might change with the release of Part Two. The ending of Part One hints at greater repercussions for your actions in Durgan’s Battery, and I’m curious to see whether the second half leans a bit harder towards tying the expansion to the main story—or at least ups the stakes. But for that, we’ll have to wait to find out.

 

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