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Pillars of Eternity is the brand new RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive. It’s expensive compared to a lot of our games, so here’s our look at it.

About the game (Official)
Prepare to be enchanted by a world where the choices you make and the paths you choose shape your destiny. Obsidian Entertainment, the developer of Fallout: New Vegas™ and South Park: The Stick of Truth™, together with Paradox Interactive is proud to present Pillars of Eternity.

Recapture the deep sense of exploration, the joy of a pulsating adventure, and the thrill of leading your own band of companions across a new fantasy realm and into the depths of monster-infested dungeons in search of lost treasures and ancient mysteries.

So gather your party, venture forth, and embrace adventure as you delve into a realm of wonder, nostalgia, and the excitement of classic RPGs with Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity!

Tech specs
MINIMUM:
OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit or newer
Processor: Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.50 GHz / AMD Phenom II X3 B73
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4850 or NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT
Hard Drive: 14 GB available space

RECOMMENDED:
OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit or newer
Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10 GHz / AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon HD 7700 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
Hard Drive: 14 GB available space

My thoughts
We would have had this up a lot earlier, but after speaking to Paradox, Obsidian weren’t giving out any Linux keys before release, but they were giving out Windows keys, odd. I find that a bit concerning, and it tells me that Linux isn’t high a priority.

Luckily, we had a generous email with a key from a supporter, so thanks to them we can still cover it properly, after the release.

Annoyingly, Steam decided to change to “Coming Soon” when the timer was up. This actually happens quite often with bigger releases, but it was no fun waiting around. It took a good 15 minutes to finally decide it was released!

It’s especially important to test Unity based games on Linux, as their performance is quite often very poor, so without further rambling here’s my early look at it.

Remember, these thoughts are mine, and mine alone. Any review/port report/initial thoughts are from my personal point of view.
The actual port report
It launches and actually works, so that’s a good start at least! Nothing like a new game actually launching properly to get you excited!

It starts off with a nice little intro story to set the scene, and you proceed to setup your character.

Setting up your character!
This is where you could probably spend a long time deciding what you want to be, and like every RPG that gives me the option, I chose to become an Elf! Each race has different statistics, so choose wisely! Once you pick your favourite race, you also get to choose a sub-race, and that changes your statistics again. I decided to go for a Wood Elf, and that enables me to be better at ranged combat. I always love being an archer, so this pleases me to not only be my favourite race, but to also setup my character exactly how I like.

It has the standard class chooser as well, so as you might imagine, I chose to be an Archer. There are 11 different classes, so there’s plenty of options for everyone’s play style.

There’s even more to chose from, as you go through picking a starting ability, and an animal companion. I am simply loving the amount of options you get.

When I thought I was finally done, nope. You then need to arrange your starting statistics, and it gives you a handy star beside the statistics that are most beneficial to your class.

You’re still not done yet, you also need to pick your Culture. Each different culture gives +1 to a specific attribute, so again, choose wisely adventurers!

Are we done yet? Nope! You also need to pick a Background. Each different background will again add to your different attributes.

Finally we get to change our appearance, and this is the only place it fell a tiny bit flat for me. There weren't as many options as I had hoped, but sufficient enough for me to feel my character looked awesome.

The game, the most important bit right?
Once I finally got into the game, I am pleased to say that it’s not entirely text based. There are some voice overs. I do love RPG games, but I also don’t like reading paragraphs of text often, as this actually reminds me I am in a game, I do prefer speech to really get me engrossed in a game.

The voice acting sounds great, and some of the start even made me chuckle a bit with the banter between the caravan owner and the guide.

I’m not entirely sure if the VSYNC option is working, there’s no difference with it on or off, and either way I notice a bit of tearing, not a lot, but it’s there.

The FPS seems to refuse to go above 60, but it does give me a mostly solid 60, so it performs pretty damn well.

The graphics are really quite nice, and it really does feel like the older Infinity engine RPG games, but with everything updated for modern gamers. It’s actually quite beautiful to look at, and considering my FPS hasn’t dropped below 59FPS I think I’m going to enjoy this.

I wandered around a bit doing the first quest, and killed a couple bandits and everything seems to be going swimmingly.

The combat is real time, but like with FTL you can simply press space and have it pause. You will need to pause often to give different orders to your followers, so remember it.
I didn’t really notice any performance problems during combat, or during the small cutscene I saw, so it looks like it’s a pretty good release for us.

One thing I really love, is that after certain scenes have played out, you get a story board of what's going on. What was completely unexpected was that it gives you options you can take sometimes to help or not help someone in need (trying not to give spoilers here!).

The one thing that does bug me are the tutorial scrolls that pop up, as sometimes they vanish too quickly, and you then have to scroll through the text history to know what they were describing.

The production quality seems pretty high, and that's not surprising coming from Obsidian Entertainment.

After putting some time into it, the part that is really annoying me is the amount of micromanagement your team requires. Sometimes it seems like there is zero AI to your members, and even on the easy setting where you're not supposed to have so much of it, my team seems to stand around often during fights not attacking.

I don't want my hand held the whole time, but having a little more AI scripting during fights allowing my team to do the occasional spell and attack by themselves would have been great.

Sadly, I feel the fights are confusing. It's hard to tell who you have selected and who is where while lots of spells and attacks are going on.

Final Verdict: I haven’t seen a release this smooth in a while, and I imagine it's a great experience for big RPG fans, but the combat ruins it for me.

Check out Pillars of Eternity on Games Republic. Buying it there on the Linux store supports us directly!

It’s also on GOG for a DRM Free build. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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63 comments
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adolson 26 March 2015 at 8:13 pm UTC
It seems like Linux support actually is a relatively high priority, considering they released it simultaneously and the fact that they even released it at all. Your final verdict seems to also indicate this, considering it's a Unity title, and more often than not, they are rife with problems on Linux; it seems they may have actually tested it, too.

More likely is that they don't feel it's worth giving out review codes to the Linux blogs considering how the readership is a fraction of an already fairly insignificant fraction of the potential customers. But that's just a guess, and likely how I would look at it if I were in their position.
Feist 26 March 2015 at 8:22 pm UTC
I've played for 3 hours on Ubuntu 14.10 and so far everything works great, no bugs, no crashes and even starting/exiting the game goes quickly (something I especially enjoy, since I like to play in short sessions like: 30 min gaming->30 min break->30 min gaming-> and so on)

The game also seems to have gotten a whole lot of praise from many sources:

PC Gamer - 92/100
FZ.se - 5/5
GameWatcher - 9.0/10
Pixel Dynamo - 8.8/10
Stevivor - 8.5/10
MMORPG.com - 9/10
Escapist Magazine - 5/5
DealSpwn - 9/10
Gamereactor - 8/10
Den of Geek - 4.5/5
PixelDynamo - 8.8/10
GameCrate - 8/10
PCGamesN - 10/10

...to name a few
PopTart 26 March 2015 at 8:33 pm UTC
Looking good so far!
Liam, do you usually get tearing on Unity3d games? I have a 970 w/ binary blob also, and would consistently get tearing, even with Vsync enabled in-game. I'd read reports (and seen in-game logs) that Unity would disable Vsync if it detected a compositing window manager. I use Gnome w/ Mutter (I think the Mint DE is a Gnome fork?) and I would get the 'Vsync disabled' message, and the same would happen when I tried the game on KWin and Compiz. You CAN use OpenBox (no explicit need for Compton) and that's what I do, when I need to.
However, there's an additional problem, and one that was driving me bonkers up until now, and that's that even when using OpenBox with Vsync enabled in-game, there would still be one ugly great tear through the screen. I've found this can be eliminated if you start X without the backing store, using the '-bs' option. If I don't want to log out of Gnome and into OpenBox using Lightdm (you can pass commands to X with Lightdm), I'll switch to a vacant virtual terminal and do something like 'xinit /usr/bin/openbox-session -- :1 vt2 -bs'.
YMMV (we're on different distros), but I hope that helps
Spl-it 26 March 2015 at 8:36 pm UTC
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Is anyone playing this game with a GTX660 + card ?
I want to buy this game but I'm hesitant to buy it because it runs on Unity (cities skylines still runs like a turd for me, 26 fps at around 7K people in my city, it's supposed to have a performance patch too [ i7 gtx680 16GB mem] ).

Should the game run well on an equal system this game is an instant buy for me
STiAT 26 March 2015 at 9:03 pm UTC
Addicted already
SXX 26 March 2015 at 10:08 pm UTC
Spl-itI want to buy this game but I'm hesitant to buy it because it runs on Unity
This game is using pre-rendered backgrounds so it's hard to imagine there is anything that can make it run slow.
Kithop 26 March 2015 at 10:37 pm UTC
Random note re: tearing and VSYNC, too. I use Xubuntu, and I've found that regardless of whether I have XFCE's built-in compositor enabled or disabled, I'd always get tearing. Games, videos, whatever. I knew VSync wasn't working because every time I'd fire up EUIV, my video card would whine like crazy drawing some ridiculous numbers of frames at the main menu.

I forget where I saw it now, but I'd heard that using 'compton' as your compositor would help, and in my testing it actually works, or at least, it may be forcing Vsync always on. I just literally did an apt-get install compton, disabled XFCE's compositor, then you can background it by adding a startup/login item to run 'compton -b' (or run that on a terminal to test).

Whatever config defaults it ships with, at least in Ubuntu, seem sane enough (no wobbly/flaming/sparkling windows or anything gaudy like that), and it's fixed both video tearing (YouTube + VLC) *and* actually makes Vsync work in-game, without any noticeable performance hit that I can see.

YMMV, and I'm not entirely sure if this is an issue solely with multi-monitor setups on the binary nVidia blobs (GTX 980), but it works for me and may be worth a shot!
Guest 26 March 2015 at 11:05 pm UTC
Spl-itIs anyone playing this game with a GTX660 + card ?
I want to buy this game but I'm hesitant to buy it because it runs on Unity (cities skylines still runs like a turd for me, 26 fps at around 7K people in my city, it's supposed to have a performance patch too [ i7 gtx680 16GB mem] ).

Should the game run well on an equal system this game is an instant buy for me

I'm running an i7 950 + GTX660 + 24GB* of RAM (sounds like it's pretty similar to your setup); runs near perfectly for me. I get a pretty consistent 60 fps with a few dips to 40 with a lot of particle effects going on.

City: Skylines still runs pretty poor for me as well (even Wastelands 2 isn't great compared to Metro and Bioshock).
Kyrottimus 26 March 2015 at 11:26 pm UTC
I'm running an i5 4690 + GTX 760 + 16GB RAM and After the patch Cities: Skylines runs @ about 50fps post patch in a 100k pop city. Don't know why others are seeing so much worse performance...even post patch, as for me the patch about doubled my fps from the launch version.

As to PoE, in the 5 minutes I've tested it out (I'm still at work and my lunch hour runs out fast with other things to do), I'm not seeing any tearing. Then again, I was runing 17.1 Mint MATE for the longest time with all kinds of Tearing issues (vsync or not, did not matter, most games, HD video, flash/youtube), then on a whim I switched my DE to Cinnamon and I get absolutely no tearing in anything anymore, and I've noticed that I gained on average 5fps across my games. I'm sold.

My only guess is that Cinnamon integrates better with nvidia's drivers than MATE does. Something to do with the built in triple buffer in Cinnamon's compositor, I think.

Anyway, if you're tired of tearing, Cinnamon is worth checking out IMO.
Keyrock 26 March 2015 at 11:41 pm UTC
I'm a Kickstarter backer of this game and loving it so far. The writing is great, as expected from Obsidian, and I'm having a blast with it. Running smooth as a baby's bottom so far at 1440p, granted I have a high-end PC, so I can't really comment on how well optimized it is, as my system can brute force good framerate out of pretty much anything.
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