Beast of Winter DLC is first paid downloadable content for Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire. Pillars of Eternity 2 is an amazing game so I expected much from this DLC, and Beast of Winter adds new locations, items and a Companion, while introducing us to the god Rymrgand and Hel, his own dimension. Note: that the level cap was not raised for this DLC, and that this review contains some story spoilers.
Genre: Classic RPG
Developed by: Obsidian Entertainment
Published by: Versus Evil
Release Date: 8/2/2018
Price at time of Review: $9.99 USD
Website: Obisidian Entertainment – Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire
Beast of Winter DLC Features
- New Companion Vatnir
- New group Harbingers of Rymrgand
- New Unique Items
- New Soulbound Items
- New Locations
- New Enemies
Story and Setting
Beast of Winter DLC can be accessed by traveling to southern sea and landing on a huge Iceberg. Here you will meet new companion Vatnir, leader of Harbingers. If you think you saw it all in Pillars of Eternity 2, Harbingers and Vatnir will change your mind. Vatnir is one of the most interesting and probably the overall best companion, while the Harbingers are hands down the craziest bunch you will see in the game to date. They are not a real faction, like the Royal Deadfire Company, however. Obsidian missed a golden opportunity here to include them as one with special quests intertwined with other factions, since I believe they would add something truly unique to the game. Still, they are pretty legit.After the initial “crazy welcome”, the Harbingers are gone and you are stuck with a Dragon hunt in Hel, Rymrgand’s dimension. Although these dimensions and their stories are interesting, they feel disconnected completely from the main game. It all feels thrown one onto another, without any cohesion, making any kind of immersion hard to accomplish. However, this is my personal opinion, and I find very hard to care for something so unrelated to the main plot of the game.
Vatnir, on the other hand, is truly something. While he leads the Harbingers, his opinion on the whole situation with Rymrgand is different then his preachings. While others welcome Dragon and want to be killed, Vatnir will hide and plead for his life. His excuse? He was searching for something in a hidden room to give to us. As I read this, I started laughing immediately and couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor guy. It is hard to describe him, but he is completely stripped of confidence, spineless, deceitful and smart at the same time. And with all that said still very likeable, and such an amazing multi-layered character. Also the voice over was spot on.
Vatnir is Endings Godlike Race and Priest of Rymrgand Class, both unique to him. He can be played in many ways with 3 Presets available:
Unlike the main game, the Beast of Winter DLC is a linear, story focused adventure that leads you through various dimensions in search of help to defeat the Dragon. It can take up to 6 hours to finish, depending on the difficulty and willingness to go through every sub dimension. If you want you can jump immediately into the hole and face the Dragon but that fight is tough and long, so acquiring help beforehand would be a wise choice, especially if you are playing DLC for the first time.
The temple prior to Hel, and the Hel dimension itself are full of traps, puzzles, new enemies and items. On POTD difficulty it can be extremely difficult, since these new enemies are no joke, and you are likely to enter battle with an injury or two from traps. Your hands are going to be full with new enemies from, Aurochs who look almost exactly like Rymrgand himself, Soul Collectors, Frost Shades that spawn Ice Blights, to Blazing enemies that explode upon death. All of them have different resistances so a wise, tactical approach is a must. All these new enemies and items add new challenges to an already amazing combat the game possesses.
Puzzles are very well thought out and fit these sub dimensions perfectly. In the Godhammer world you can change time, while in the Drowned Kingdom you will play with waterfalls to discover new paths. Cool gimmicks that can confuse at times while also remaining plausible is the overall theme here.
The new stories, wrought with history (told via these dimensions) are simply fascinating. The approaches you can take to solving each dimension’s problems can lead to them helping you with the Dragon fight, if you don’t mess it up. Their help is very much welcomed too, since on POTD it took me 3 tries (with every attempt lasting right around 30 minutes). Be sure to prepare lots of healing potions because you are going to run out of healing spells. It truly feels like a proper final boss fight, even though Dragon may not be the last boss in DLC, since it comes down to choices made afterwards.
The Beast of Winter DLC offers a lot of new challenges, while at the same time introducing the most interesting group, the Harbingers, and best companion so far, Vatnir. It is a story driven DLC with lots of missed opportunities, which made it feel very rushed. For example, Vatnir has no proper Companion quest and the Harbingers were not interwoven into the other factions of the game.
The stories are interesting and will put you into some truly creative situations where your choices make all the difference on how it all plays out. The problem is that these stories are not connected to one another and therefore are easily forgotten. In my opinion, it is always an issue for games when short stories are introduced that are completely disconnected with the game world. No matter how interesting they are, caring for and remembering them does not come as naturally.
The DLC introduces new enemies, items and Soulbound Gear, and yet the same old bugs remain, with the addition of some new ones. For example, the memory leak issue is still present so expect massive framerate drops after prolongued play sessions. Stealth is still broken occasionally for no apparent reason. AI, although improved a lot since launch, still does not listen far too often. Some more older issues are present but the most annoying new one are floating numbers from previous battles that stay on the screen as seen below.