REVIEW / Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition (Switch)

Pillars of Eternity was a blast to play on PC when it came out several years ago. Since its release, Obsidian put out a much-improved sequel in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, which we have covered extensively on TVGB. I personally sunk a ton of hours into Deadfire and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. Conclusion: Pillars games are fun.

With the continued port-a-palooza that is occurring on the Nintendo Switch, Obsidian and publisher Versus Evil are adding Pillars of Eternity to the mix. Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition is now available through the eShop, months ahead of the countless CRPGs that are planning to make their way to the portable console. Seriously, just search Amazon or Nintendo websites on all that are slated to hit later this year. The Complete Edition includes all the DLC and expansions, namely the White March Parts 1 and 2. While my time has been spent mainly in the core game, I’m looking forward to playing through the expansions that I didn’t get the chance to do on PC.

Pillars shines for the most part on Switch, but I wouldn’t call this a perfect port by any means. Once you get a hang of the controls and use of the radial menus, combat and interactions will become second nature. Yes, it may take you a couple of extra button pushes to get to where you need to be, but you can be sitting out on your back porch enjoying the summer evening instead of sitting in your basement.

The strategic, real-time combat remains challenging with some additional challenges of not having a mouse, but that’s what you signed up for with Pillars. You can play the game on easier difficulties, even to the point of story mode-only with super easy combat, should you choose to do so. Others who want to torture themselves can opt for hardcore mode and enjoy permadeath.

The Pillars of Eternity story is what really shines here. I love this dark and dire fantasy setting that gets lost in some modern RPGs, but these types of games are built for these settings. There are plenty of quests and side quests to complete Pillars utilizes hand drawn level design with 3D character models roaming around on top of it. It’s too bad they couldn’t update the character models with those used in Deadfire, but I get it. Sometimes I just wish my elf didn’t look so much like Aloth :/

There are six playable races and all the standard Dungeons & Dragons classes to choose from. One thing I did miss while playing Deadfire (after all was said and done) was having a 6th member in your party. Because Deadfire had some more refinement and streamlining to combat, it made sense to only have 5 characters in a part. However, Pillars more classic D&D-based combat needs that 6th member, since more abilities are based on the need to rest.

The voice-acting and soundtrack are still excellent, and those who may have only played Deadfire will recognize the music that was carried over from its prequel.

As I mentioned, this port isn’t without hiccups. Inventory management can be a bit of a chore without a mouse, as the inventory slots can be particularly small and hard to move around when playing in handheld mode. While hooking it up to your TV can improve the visuals of the inventory menu, it can still be a pain to move around with the joystick. The text box, which houses all the combat data, experience gains, and dialogue, is nearly useless. You can bump it up to see several lines of text, but this is also a chore to review and can be particularly cumbersome in combat. I’d recommend turning on most autopause alerts, otherwise, you’ll likely miss that your weapon damage is ineffective against the foe you are facing. Hopefully, some quality of life updates are on the way, because I would rather have damage hover over characters’ heads than scroll in a near static box.

Overall, this is a great port of what should soon be a classic RPG. The quality of life issues can be overlooked if you are really into the challenge and story that Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition brings to the table. I’m looking forward to spending more time in the game and playing through the DLC.

This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.

  • 9/10
    Gameplay - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Story - 10/10
  • 7/10
    Portability - 7/10

Solid RPG for the Switch

+ Critically acclaimed RPG on-the-go

+ Excellent story and voice-acting

– Menus and inventory are hard to navigate