"...this aside in the story hardly warrants the same praise as Beast of Winter."
Obsidian put out a stellar first DLC, Beast of Winter. Featuring a god, backstory, and imaginative landscapes, fans could hardly consider having completed Pillars II without experiencing Beast of Winter. Is Seeker, Slayer, Survivor a similar necessity? Early reception from initial buyers is that this is a combat-centric DLC, which most would admit isn't what makes Pillars exceptional. While Seeker boasts a hearty helping of challenging battles, this aside offers more than dissenters suggest.
After receiving a strange box from an uncharted island, the Watcher heads to this land to do good — or reap rewards, kill things, whatever. Another god makes his will known, and, wouldn't you guess it, the Watcher has other ideas. Deity harrumphs and threatens Watcher, and before we know it, we're fighting in an arena for our lives, which, admittedly, isn't much different from how we normally fight. Lo and behold, something's wrong with the spirits or some such, and a Watcher's unique abilities are required to unclog the pipes.
What ensues is a sort of scavenger hunt for artifacts so that more battles can be unlocked. Players execute some agency in the path they choose. As the DLC's title suggests, players can walk the road of seeker, slayer, or survivor. I didn't find much difference based on the path chosen, but having the illusion of choice, as I often defend in games, is welcomed. Those currently exploring the Deadfire will likely find this scavenger hunt more fun than those who have put the game down for a few months after beating it. The clues offered, while adequate, may leave those who've moved on puzzled to the point of frustration. For one, the Deadfire's big. Second, just getting from point A to point B takes a while, even with fast forwarding activated. Third, once reached, the destination could be completely wrong, resulting in a lot of walking for nothing. I would have loved for Obsidian to put in a little extra at each location, like a street urchin running up to the group talking about a rumor of something at a district or dungeon, etc. Anything to aid in the search. Unfortunately, I feel as if most players will be hitting guides or the forums in search of answers, which is the worst possible outcome.
But what about the battles we're hunting so eagerly? The suggested level for these challenges is 16, and my party is at max level 20. The previous DLC and the end-game were a breeze for me to stroll through. This DLC resulted in a few game overs and a return to the drawing board as I speculated on strategies. Pillars and its ilk have been criticized for having a go-to strategy for almost every battle, and, while enjoyable, this doesn't excite the mind. Seeker forced me to think differently about my characters' abilities, positioning, and unusual tactics. Kudos to Obsidian on bucking the horse. That said, Pillars isn't about the combat, and while this DLC contains a couple interesting NPCs, the arena is clearly the primary draw. I enjoyed hunting, figuring out how to persuade certain people, and engaging in those manila-colored adventures, but this aside in the story hardly warrants the same praise as Beast of Winter.
I'm glad I played Seeker, Slayer, Survivor. This is an adequate DLC for an already phenomenal game. At the current $10 price point, I have a hard time recommending it for anyone but the most devoted Pillars fans, but chances are if you've bought and enjoyed Pillars II, as well as the Beast of Winter DLC, you're probably going to buy and enjoy this one as well. Perhaps waiting for a sale would be most appropriate, as it's certainly not going anywhere. For me, I still happily anticipate continued updates and the third major DLC to be released, which is estimated for later this year or start of next.
This review is based on a free review copy provided to RPGFan by the developer. This relationship in no way influenced the reviewer's opinion of the game or its final score.