Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Review: Solid Battle, Poor Performance, and Bug Fest

deadfire review

I may be too late in doing Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire review. However, doing a review for this game from playing for 20 hours or less just isn’t fair – considering how complex this game is.

Now, with 472 hours of gameplay time and finishing the game for 4 times, let me try to give my opinion on this game.

I will try my best not to spoil anything if you guys haven’t played this game.

So, without further ado, let’s get deep…


From the gameplay aspect, it has some strengths. It has solid combat with Real Time with Pause (RTwP) system like what you can find from the Dragon Age series. It also has different equipment system than the previous game which I think so much better because every unique equipment really feels different from each other.

However, Obsidian really needs to give more variations of unique weapons. For example, there are too many unique sabers and not enough unique morningstar. There is also a balancing problem for melee two-handed weapon users.

For you who just started playing this game, just choose sabers, swords, and flails since those are the type of weapons which have many choices (plus, dual-wielding two one-handed weapons is much superior currently). You could try other melee weapons if you are already pretty confident to play. This may be a weakness of the game but I think it’s easy to fix; by adding more weapons from different types.

If you have played Dragon Age: Origins, Deadfire also has pretty similar custom AI features (albeit a little bit simpler). You could use this feature to automate your party to do specific commands for specific conditions.

I do love this kind of feature and believe every party-based RPG should have this. This feature could be better but I think it’s solid enough to meet my needs.

For its difficulty, I think it’s really subjective for each player. However, for me who really love playing complex RPG, Deadfire is only hard on the beginning and loses its challenge in the second half.

This game also has a ship battle system although it’s really boring. During my time playing this game, I only try it once and forget about it.

From the gameplay aspect, it may need some tweaks here and there but I believe it’s the strongest aspect of Deadfire.


Image Courtesy: Penett Penett on ArtStation.com

Storywise, Deadfire has a great idea. However, the execution is far from perfect. Its main story and side quests are not bad actually, but it’s not great either. It’s just the companions characters which are really lacking in terms of depth and complexity. I won’t say anything more about the characters and its story since I’m afraid to spoil them for you.

However, what I can tell you is this: compared to the 2 previous Obsidian’s games, Tyranny and the first PoE, both of them have so much more interesting story and characters.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to fix than the lack of weapon variations because they need to add many more lines to make the story and character more compelling. They could add post-game DLC like Mass Effect 3’s Citadel though if they want to give more memorable endings.

One good news, for you who’s too lazy to read, every line of dialog from NPC in this game is voiced-acted and it’s quite good – especially for some characters like Modwyr and Eder.


Now we are talking about the weakest part of Deadfire. This game is just a bug fest. Every time Obsidian introduced a new patch, they also introduced new bugs. Some people also reported game-breaking bugs in this game, although I’ve never experienced that. Every bug that I’ve found is just annoying but never game-breaking.

Also, this is the thing that’s unacceptable for me: this game is not even 3D, yet I can’t play it on my PC with 60 fps 80% of the time (considering my PC is not really updated – check my specs below). I could play The Witcher 3, Skyrim, ME: Andromeda or many other games which have so much better graphics than this with so much better performance (at least 50 fps 90% of the time, with some tweaks in graphics setting).

I’m not sure if this is because of Unity Engine that they use for this game or there are other reasons.

I play many of Obsidian’s games and, as far as I remember, I’ve never found any other game which has worse performance than this.

Modding Access

deadfire modding tutorial

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately (I’m not sure), I’m a sucker for a game with modding access. Without this, I may just play this game once or twice and forget about it. Deadfire has truly easy modding access since you just need a text editor. If you want to learn more, I’ve written a tutorial about Deadfire modding.

Modding access is truly a savior to make games last longer. Let’s just hope Obsidian keeps improving Deadfire modding capabilities and going in this right path about modding on their next games.  Its modding community is not as big as Skyrim’s obviously – there are only 156 mods on Nexus to this date – yet, it’s still so much better than no modding access at all.


Finally, Deadfire has 2 things that keep me going after more than 400 hours, which are its gameplay and modding access. Its story is not boring, but you should be prepared to be annoyed by some of your companions quite often – and no, it’s not in an amusing way.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Versus Evil, Obsidian Entertainment
Price: US$49.99
Link: Steam / GOG

Reviewed on:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
Motherboard: GIGABYTE AB350 GAMING 3
Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce® GTX 780 DirectCU II
Memory: Corsair 2x4GB DDR4 2666MHz

Yabes Elia

Yabes Elia

An empath, a jolly writer, a patient reader & listener, a data observer, and a stoic mentor

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