The second of three planned DLC for Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire has arrived, this time with more of a focus on combat than the previous DLC, Beast of Winter. For those who like both challenging party management and combat tactics, this DLC will definitely provide hours of fun.
As the name implies, Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is a DLC that challenges those who love combat in PoE2. While heavily focused on fighting, don't be misled into thinking there is no story. In fact, and in many ways, the DLC adds more to the overarching story of the Deadfire Archipelago than did the game's first DLC, Beast of Winter.
During the main game, players often were part of conversations with Galawain, God of the Hunt. This DLC is focused on one of his main islands of influence, Kazuwari. It is here that his worshippers tap into the wilder side of the Deadfire that is well-suited to a god devoted to hunting. Galawain's aspect, the "voice" of the combat arena, presents itself with three different "faces" - a stelgaer, a spider and a boar. Each time a player enters the arena, the fight will be focused on combat that is closely aligned with each one's sphere of influence.
While fairly self-explanatory, it is worth looking at each individually:
- Seeker: Players will have to use their party's best attributes to maximum effect as they track down clues to open a variety of quests to win the favor of this aspect. During battle in the arena, they will need to pull out all tricks and tactics to survive.
- Slayer: This aspect pits the party against a single, yet terrifyingly strong, opponent. The goal is, of course, to kill it and live to tell the tale.
- Survivor: Opposite the Slayer role, Survivors will be pitted against a "horde mode" as waves of enemies throw themselves at the party.
Players first arriving on Kazuwari will meet some of Galawain's followers and be sent out to qualify for the arena where most of the DLC takes place. Though a limited location in terms of most of the DLC, the story still expands after every battle. There are a number of fascinating conversations with both adherents of Galawain as well as other groups that are also seeking to gain favor as a his champion.
Once qualified, players can try out an arena battle for each of the three aspects before choosing which "path" to pursue to its end. As the player completes various battles in the arena, more missions are unlocked that will send them throughout the archipelago in search of artifacts or to hunt down a variety of enemies. Those can feel a bit on the repetitive side and as if they were added simply to pad the time required to complete the DLC. Certainly battle in the arena can also feel a bit tedious with several fights chaining together before finally getting a break to speak to someone to expand the story and / or to get back out on the seas to travel to another location. The pacing feels off somehow as if story, travel and combat could have been better spread throughout the content of the DLC.
During combat, and depending on which "face" is being pursued, players will need to pay attention to strategic placement of the party and management of the party's abilities. The fights represent a nice variety in the way they are approached and each one is different than the last. "The agony of defeat" certainly plays a role here and some battles may even need to have the overall game difficulty reduced in order to complete.
The DLC offers a lot of replayability to complete each "face" of Galawain's aspect on Kazuwari and can certainly challenge even the toughest player. It's a worthwhile DLC to add to the game, particularly for those who love demanding combat and party management. Look for anywhere from 5-20 hours to "finish" the DLC, depending on difficulty level.
- new, fresh stories about another of the Deadfire gods
- challenging, tactical combat
- self-contained, but still fits within the overall game
- pacing of combat and stories is off
- can feel repetitive and tedious at times
- would have been better as a spread out series of quests in the main game