Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous isn’t just big – it’s huge in every way, right down to the number of options when setting the difficulty. It’s not just a long game, but a game with a lot of branches, quests and companions, a bunch of classes and spells, 10 special Mythic paths. Finally, it is a game that gathers several genres that change from chapter to chapter.
It’s hard to talk about the game’s story without going into spoilers. Its strong point, as is typical of all WotR – the volume and variety, not limited to the change of focus between chapters. The game has many choices, quests and dialogues unique to different play through styles. This is especially true of the Mythic Paths, each of which is a complete story with a beginning and an end.
But even simple quests are not reduced to a linear passage with a final fork of three options: any dungeon, especially in the beginning, offers to make decisions all the way. And although “evil” often suggests simply killing everyone left and right, they are still more varied than in many role-playing games.
On the one hand, World Pest and its surroundings are an obvious Warhammer reference: mad inquisitors, secret cults, endless stories of heroes and angels falling to the side of evil. The “good” versions of the dialogues here constantly end in disappointment and the tragic deaths of those you promised protection to. Even the demons are harsher than in other games: the developers relish fully describe the mutilated corpses and torture the hero has to face.
But it’s all part of Golarion, a world of epic fantasy that doesn’t take itself very seriously, and sometimes even borders on self-parody. And this element of Pathfinder is also reflected in the game: endless jokes, references going as far as quotations from Star Trek, absurd characters.
To describe without spoilers – imagine being asked for protection by an unremarkable and friendly innkeeper named Sinister McDevilface. Not believing that the developers have seriously introduced such a primitive deception into the game, preceded by such a blatant hint, you go on the mission, expecting some kind of double surprise or joke about the name of your new acquaintance.
In the end, the game frames the fact that old Sinister turns out to be the villain as an unexpected twist and a great revelation capable of evoking any emotion other than irony. The first few times such a scheme seemed rather amusing. But when the developers pulled the same trick as part of the main plot, there were already very big questions for them.
Companions and Romances
But if in the quests such naivety is puzzling, then the companion lines it unexpectedly benefited. In many RPGs, conflicts between the protagonist and his companions are in fact not real, and the dark sides of their character – rather masks. After all the arguments, party members remain friends, and they themselves deep down – nice guys.
But WotR reveals the companions of the protagonist much more fully, showing, among other things, their unpleasant or unheroic sides: you will not just be annoyed, but betrayed, abandoned, tried to kill, threatened with execution.
And that’s part of the general desire to make companions varied and interesting. There’s no end-to-end relationship scheme or general timing of personal quests – some characters’ stories end already in Alushinarra, while others continue right up to the finale. Some characters change a lot – in fact, the whole game is one big spiritual quest for them. Meanwhile, other characters do not change at all, never revealing any big secret, secret sadness, or long-standing crime by the very finale.
The romance lines are also different. Some are started by the player, others are offered to be initiated by the companions. Some can be maintained in parallel with each other, some require complete monogamy. In some romances, the protagonist quickly finds himself in bed with his partner, while others exclude even kissing.
All this makes the game unpredictable in a good way and makes you pay attention to your companions: they are capable of presenting pleasant or unpleasant surprises depending on the player’s actions. Because of this, even the fact that WotR is the record holder for the number of companions I’ve left at a party purely out of curiosity, despite wanting to kick them out or finish them off, seems like a plus. After all, there’s a plausibility and freedom in that, too-the freedom to kick out an annoying companion.
However, there are quite a few problems with the love lines: from unclear terms after which the game thinks you and a character are in a relationship – to creepy, tooth-sucking slips that are billed as the correct cue to start an affair. Kingmaker also sinned with this. But the very boldness of the developers in working with NPCs seems like a breath of fresh air against the background of many mainstream RPGs of recent years.
Finally, separately, we want to note that the game has a number of unique companions available only to specific Mythic Paths. Although less detailed than the other companions, they are full-fledged characters with their own stories and dialogues, which seriously adds to the motivation to replay the game to see if you can collect them all.
Graphics and sound
The graphics and sound in WotR are quite adequate to their task: they set the right atmosphere, but are not very memorable. Personally, I really liked only one track – the unique composition of the demon lord Baphomet.
The location designs don’t shine with variety: classic fantasy landscapes, desecrated land in the spirit of Warhammer: Dawn of War, cursed forest, sinister dungeons. Even the demonic Alushinirra, aside from the rebuilding of the city, looks a bit dull.
But the developers tried to add a lot of monster designs to the game. There are different kinds of demons and demonic half-breeds, undead, cultists, brigands, and others. Right up to the finale the game presents new enemies, and although the mechanics are so familiar by this point that even a previously unseen enemy does not create practical problems, the visual diversity helps not to get bored.
Toward the end of the game, dungeons increasingly look like long corridors with crowds of the same type of enemies. In practical terms, there are more and less useful companions, which also imposes its limitations.
But even behind all these problems, it’s easy to see an interesting game with varied gameplay, a rich story, a lot of bright assistants and antagonists. This is a game with enough content for two full playthroughs – and most importantly, you really want to get into the second playthrough. For all its problems, Wrath of the Righteous does not cause fatigue.
If you love RPG and fantasy, Wrath of the Righteous is definitely worth a close look, and the team that decided to do such a great project deserves our support.