New games a free every week on the Epic Games Store and this week is particularly memorable for fans of classic computer RPGs (CRPGs). Back in the late 90s, games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment established a solid formula for CRPGs, influencing countless developers and RPGs from there on out. Then, about five years ago, Obsidian Entertainment decided to pay its respects to those games with Pillars of Eternity.
Pillars of Eternity is a classic love letter to CRPGs, featuring all of the Dungeons & Dragons-esque strategy, party management, and probability-filled combat that made the genre so memorable to so many. Now, it's available for free on the Epic Games Store alongside Tyranny, another game from Obsidian, until December 17.
You take the role of a Watcher in Pillars of Eternity, one of few people in the world of Eora and the nation of Dyrwood that can interact with souls and see people's past lives. Newborn children in Dyrwood are being deemed Hollowborn as they are born without souls, so you explore the world to learn what is causing this mayhem.
Pillars of Eternity is full of player choice. You start out by customizing a character down to their class and specific stats and have tons of choices in terms of dialogue and gameplay. The game plays out from an isometric perspective, hearkening back to classic CRPGs.
Once you get into a fight, Pillars of Eternity features an "active pause" battle system. While fights technically can play out in real-time, players can pause the game at any time and give orders to their party members. This means proper planning is key to major fights, and that going in without a solid strategy will get your butt kicked. That's bad too, as it's possible for characters to die permanently. Every character has an endurance and health bar.
While endurance will regenerate after a fight and will simply knock out a character if they lose it all during a fight, health can only be restored by resting at a camp or inn and characters will die permanently if it's fully depleted. These mechanics should give each player a different story, but also shows just how brutal Pillars of Eternity can be.
Even though Pillars of Eternity is a tough game, it's also one of the most rewarding RPGs of the last decade. You'll be thinking about its intricate combat, world, and story long after you've beaten the game, and if you're a fan of the genre it's a must-play.
Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition is the specific version of the game that's being given away. This means you'll get all of the content ever released for the game, which should last you well over 100 hours. Here's everything included in the game's Definitive Edition
- Pillars of Eternity
- Pillars of Eternity - Royal Edition Upgrade Pack
- The White March: Part 1 Expansion
- The White March: Part 2 Expansion
If you're an Xbox fan, there's also a very good reason as to why you'll want to try this game. Pillars of Eternity was also the start of a new franchise for the RPG developer. The world of Eora in which the game is set was fleshed out even more in a sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.
Microsoft then acquired Obsidian Entertainment in 2018 as it was working on its next major RPG. Avowed, a major upcoming Xbox Series X exclusive from Obsidian Entertainment is also set in the Eora universe of Pillars of Eternity.
If you want to get versed in the world's lore before Avowed releases, that's yet another reason to redeem Pillars of Eternity for free on the Epic Game Store. To redeem this game, all you have to do is install the Epic Games launcher, navigate to PIllars of Eternity: Definitive Edition's store page, and redeem the game before 11 a.m. Eastern on December 17, 2020.
Once that's done, just install the game through your Epic Game Launchers' library and enjoy one of the best CRPGs of the last decade!
Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition is available now for PC, PS4 Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.