Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast of Winter PC Review

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast of Winter is a more focused DLC that's at its best when it expands on key lore moments.

By Woozie, Posted 04 Aug 2018

The first of three DLCs, Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire – Beast Of Winter is a side story that takes place during the game’s main plot but away from it. The Watcher of Caed Nua receives a missive from a certain Harbinger Vatnir inviting them to Harbinger’s Watch. It takes a bit of sailing to get to the south end of the Deadfire Archipelago, where  a conspicuous frozen island has popped up, and that’s also the only bit of sailing required in Beast Of Winter.

The entirety of Beast Of Winter takes place on The Dead Floe which houses a village of followers of Rymrgand, god of entropy, death and all round not-so-pleasant fellow, alongside a temple that hides a couple of interesting secrets. Not long after you arrive, an undead dragon attacks the village, its inhabitants flocking out to find their end at the perceived messenger of Rymrgand. It’s a sudden first encounter that contributes to the DLC’s ominous atmosphere while doing a good job of introducing what later becomes a veritable opponent.

Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast Of Winter, PC, Review, Screenshot

The Dead Floe successfully creates a feeling of isolation both through its aesthetic and inhabitants. It’s an island of constantly expanding ice in an otherwise tropical archipelago. The cult of Rymrgand that calls it home also feels removed from the Huana, Principi and other forces going about. Their garb is simple – largely furs and masks. Their beliefs center around what arguably makes Rymrgand a very compelling figure – his ability of nullifying the Wheel which sees that souls reincarnate after death. Although it’s featured in a small amount, the cult also has its own expressions inspired by Nordic languages, which is another neat little touch that gives them personality. All throughout Beast Of Winter, the pursuit of Eothas is truly forgotten as you sink deeper and deeper into the island, looking to face oblivion itself.

Beast Of Winter focuses on its main plot, offering a very small amount of secondary quests to do. The one side quest that stuck out involved dark humor and a character that gets far too little time to shine. The main quest takes you from the snow-covered village of Harbinger’s Watch, through icy peaks, a temple and, eventually, into Rymrgand’s very domain. Despite its name, The White Void features quite a bit of visual variety and some truly beautiful locations. What Beast Of Winter does best, however, is expanding upon a handful of important moments in the Deadfire’s and Eora’s history. I won’t go into particular details to avoid spoilers, but the DLC offers information on more than just the White that Wends and the Glamfellen. The portions of writing that expand upon the lore alone are enough for someone already invested in the universe to consider giving Beast Of Winter a shot.

Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast Of Winter, PC, Review, Screenshot

While it does forgo sailing, Beast of Winter plays much like any sidequest in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, mostly spread between conversation, exploration and combat. Fights do benefit from the attention given to difficulty in the free updates that came beforehand. On Veteran, while I rarely felt like my resources were stretched thin, I had to pay much more attention to my party’s positioning and skills than during my initial run through Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire. It only helps that these encounters build up to a final boss that wiped the floor with my party a couple of times before they overcame it. The DLC also adds a few trinkets – equippable in the grimoire slot – that grant a set of new skills, alongside a handful of weapons and armor that come with their own stories, adding a bit more variety to combat. Rymrgand’s domain harbors two new enemy types and puzzles involving time manipulation, portals and reversing the flow of water. They’re fairly straightforward affairs and, although they won’t twist your brain much, they’re enough to give exploration a different flavor.

Vatnir, the Endings Godlike that sets things in motion, joins your party as a new sidekick. A Priest able to multiclass as a Zealot (Priest + Rogue) or Celebrant (Priest + Chanter), he has surprisingly little to say about what’s going on. The feedback from both him and other companions in my party was fairly limited, which did bring things down a notch. The 4-or-so hours it took me to complete Beast Of Winter flew by, but not without leaving a feeling that the final parts could have been paced a tad slower. I also encountered a few small issues, such as numbers and text persisting on screen after encounters until reloading a save, or the entire party forgetting to attack or getting stuck in place while doing so. These, however, weren’t frequent enough to mar the experience.

Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast Of Winter, PC, Review, Screenshot

Beast Of Winter is a welcome – if a bit short – detour from the god chasing and sailing that’s at the core of Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire. Keeping the action tied to one location gives it a dose of intimacy and allows for focusing on the events at hand. The fact that there are several beautifully crafted moments that expand on important parts of the lore or give more information about specific areas and events is also a plus. Vatnir, on the other hand, isn’t fleshed out enough to be a worthy addition to the crew and the people in my party had fairly little to say about what was going on. If you haven’t picked up Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire yet, Beast Of Winter isn’t enough to change your mind as it mostly goes through familiar motions. Seasoned Watchers with an interest in Eora’s lore will, however, find quite a few good reasons to brave the icy expanses of The Dead Floe and Rymrgand’s realm.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Obsidian Entertainment, Versus Evil
Developer(s): Obsidian Entertainment
Genres: cRPG
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2018-08-02

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