I have to say, I had a good feeling about this right from the start. Okay, I must have had, why else would I have backed it? Now with the first public beta available, I was surprised in a positive and a negative way. For a beta it still seems to be kind of… alpha. Too many parts are not even implemented yet. It’s not just that it takes place in a town that won’t spoil the story and that all scripted potential party members are missing. For a proper beta test the game should be in an almost final state, so that only bug fixes still need implementing. I don’t see how testing an unfinished product would be especially fruitful. The earliest Wasteland 2 beta seemed more complete. Not that this has to mean anything.
Josh Sawyer has mentioned a lot that they still intend to publish this game 2014. Judging from the beta they’ll still have a very long road left to go, if they intend to pull this off. At first glance I’d say they either have to postpone the release or shove it out the door containing lots of bugs. Another possibility, of course, might be that this beta is more or less something they just whipped up in a hurry to fulfill the promise made during the KS campaign and their internal build is leagues ahead of it.
The rest of the game, this much is apparent too, is a dream come true. To me at least. I started whining years ago why no one would make THIS game. I don’t know of a game, that has such detailed high resolution 2D backgrounds AND marries them with current tech effects for everything else. There might be some games with such 2D backgrounds (excluding those that don’t look great anymore because they are classics), but then those lack the level of animations for water (and so on), Pillars of Eternity can show off. The only real reason to not like those graphics, is that one would discard such 2D backgrounds in general – which is ridiculous. Especially in the context of such games, they just work. It is about time that developers start to remember that. I liked what Josh Sawyer said in a recent interview (I’m not sure, it might have been this one – too lazy to skip through it just to find this remark), that it was basically a self-fulfilling prophecy, what started the decline of such games. If no one is making these games anymore, then obviously no one can be buying them. Duh!
The rest of the game continues the positive impressions the graphics immediately give. They kept almost everything that made infinity games great and let all of these features grow guided by the experience these developers gained over almost 20 years of making such games. Given that characters and story were always Obsidian Entertainment’s biggest strengths, there is little left that could still go horribly wrong with this game. According to what my mind tells me.