It certainly has its downsides, as most games of this type often do, but if you are used to sketchy difficulty and paper thin dialog and just like the character building/dungeon crawling of the genre's storied past, then Legacy is what you'll be spending your next 50 hours worth of free time playing.
What it all comes down to is this: if you enjoy your RPGs as challenging as possible without being so difficult they are impossible, then Blackguards was made especially for you. If you have the patience to work hard at finding the correct strategy to win each battle and enjoy obsessing over character builds, you may have just found the gaming equivalent of the Holy Grail.
If I was Swen Vincke, I'd make sure to work on this engine and release a few more games using the same exact gameplay scheme. What he has here is the basis for a very lucrative new (old?) breed of CRPG and it would be criminal to not take advantage of it. Original Sin is his masterpiece, and with it he has filled a void that a lot of old school RPGers came to Kickstarter looking for. Congratulations Larian, you did the impossible. Now make more.
Through it all though, Trails is a great example of why the PC needs JRPGs and why the genre doesn't deserve the negative connotation it often gets stuck with. Buy it, support the genre, and hope this convinces other Japanese companies to release their games on digital services like Steam and GOG as well.
Risen 3 is a triumphant return to Piranha Bytes' golden age and a fantastic CRPG in its own right. An open world epic that is guaranteed to get better with each passing hour you put into it and won't let you go until the end. With its long 60+ hour quest, well over 300 side-quests and a very easy to grasp combat system, it's by far and away the most approachable of Piranha Bytes' games – and perhaps its most enjoyable one as well.
As much negativity as Kickstarter has been saddled with over the past year, I feel reassured that good things can come of it thanks to this game here. Though Divinity and Shadowrun were also big successes that were funded through Kickstarter, it almost felt for a while there that Wasteland would get lost in their shadow. That thankfully isn't the case, since in this gamer's opinion, Wasteland 2 is a much bigger and more varied CRPG than either of those two titles. Fargo & Co should be proud of what they have here, and I sincerely hope that the market allows them to make a Wasteland 3.
This year has seen a lot of great modern CRPGs impersonating old school titles, and Grimrock 2 is yet another in that long list of spiritual successors to long dead franchises that have been begging to be resurrected. If you want to lose a couple of weeks to a good dungeon crawler with a thriving community and some very un-indie-like bells and whistles, Grimrock 2 is a sure way to scratch that itch.
Those who are used to the slick action RPG combat of Diablo, Titan Quest or Sacred will probably come away with the same assessment I did, while those who are more interested in Planescape-style questing will find the patience necessary to trudge through the combat to get to the game's tasty dialog-saturated center. Since I am firmly in the former of those two categories, I walked away feeling very disappointed with Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, and wish more than anything that I could be a member of the latter group.
In spite of these small gripes, Blackguards 2 is a much more complete and better-playing game than its predecessor and will no doubt please all of those who loved the first. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you are a hardcore fan like me), the game has not been streamlined enough to attract casual CRPG fans and will still be far too complex and challenging for those not accustomed to the difficulty of a dyed-in-the-wool European game like Blackguards.
With its well fleshed-out world and clever twist on classic Dungeons & Dragons-style rules, Pillars of Eternity could be the next big RPG series that people have been wanting from the genre for the past decade. As for me, I'm already working on a second trip and still gloating over the success of my dwarven Paladin to anyone who will listen.
It's a pity that the failings of this game will probably discourage any real development on future hardcore D&D CRPGs. Other than Trent Oster & Beamdog's upcoming Baldur's Gate "1.5" sequel, there isn't likely to be much in the way of good news for fans of the license.
Sure, there is the typical Fallout aesthetic and the goofy music and that joy of seeing deathclaws rip the occasional NPC to death, but with much of the core roleplaying aspects torn out of the game, it isn't the New Vegas (or even Fallout 3) inspired heir that many hoped it would be. Still, it is fun to engage in, if you don't mind being an early adopter and paying full price for a loot hauling ARPG. If you're fine with that, hit the trigger on the game and spend the next 60 hours killing mutants with missile launchers.
While I would have loved a post-game and perhaps some real community options built within it (such as what you find with Path of Exile and Diablo III), I still feel that there is no ARPG on the market that can touch Grim Dawn's pace of combat or build creation depth. If you're like me and those two things appeal the most to you, then you owe it to yourself to get Grim Dawn and see why it has such a large and devoted community.
Overall, I was very pleased with Stranger of Sword City and go back to it when long periods of time (and an insatiable desire to work towards max’ing my party) are available to me. If you have a craving for the type of gridder where you change classes five times, grind for hours, and obsess over gear, then you just found your next purchase.
If you want to play a Baldur’s Gate expansion, I would suggest getting the original un-enhanced editions and installing both games along with the BGtutu mod. After that, you can download the fan-made Dark Side of the Sword Coast, which is infinitely better than what Beamdog has created here with Siege of Dragonspear.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is an RPG that is built specifically for the PlayStation 2 crowd who still pine away for the mid-2000s and the days when Japanese developers hadn’t yet played Skyrim. Those who want another JRPG from that era that is unashamed to be Asian (complete with Fiore’s bouncing breasts, which might make up for Miki’s “diapers”) and delivers on the promise of taking Star Ocean into the current generation shouldn’t be disappointed.
That being said, if you enjoy a well-written book that happens to have a few dungeons and some evenly-leveled combat thrown in every ten minutes or so, you really can’t go wrong with Obsidian’s wordy magnum opus. Just get a good pair of reading glasses first.