Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is finally here so you can finally get your CRPG fix. It's a complex game, as with most CRPGs, and is based on the Pathfinder tabletop RPG ruleset which in turn is influenced by the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop ruleset.
If you've had experience with either of those two tabletop RPG games, then you already understand the basics of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, even if your ruleset knowledge is a little rusty!
Regardless of your tabletop RPG tenure, you'll be pleased to know that we've compiled a list of things to consider before you dive into the second Pathfinder game.
It's Darker Than Its Predecessor
The first Pathfinder, Kingmaker, has notably lighthearted visuals and a more relaxed plot and story. It's mainly about expanding your duchy while uncovering a big scheme about some enemies you made earlier in the game. It's not necessarily a good versus evil affair.
Wrath of the Righteous, on the other hand, is a little more gritty or cut and dry. Demons and their demon lord have invaded a certain kingdom thanks to a rift gushing like an open wound except with demons instead of blood pouring out. They succeeded in their assault so the whole game is all about pushing their invasion back in an almost apocalyptic landscape. Both the color palette and theme are darker this time around.
Say Goodbye To The Kingdom Management
The whole kingdom management gimmick in Pathfinder: Kingmaker was polarizing. The whole aspect even warranted an off switch which players can opt to activate mid-game. There are those who loved it though as it completes the whole "kingmaker" theme but for some, it's a little too rife with micromanagement when you just want to play a CRPG.
Since Wrath of the Righteous has a different context and setting this time, it did away with the kingdom management stuff. So players who want to commit to the "adventurer lifestyle" needn't be bothered. There is, however, another game mode similar to the kingdom management in the previous game. It's called Crusade management and is pretty much an elaborate chess match with active army building involved.
There's No Quest Timer This Time
Players who also found the kingdom management in Kingmaker too limiting since it's tied to the timed quests will also be pleased to know that Wrath of the Righteous doesn't have those. There's no juggling between your rag-tag duchy or the bandit-clearing activities in the second game.
The game makes it clear that the main goal is to thwart off the demonic invasion. Hence, most side activities also involve adding to the war effort. The only timer present in Wrath of the Righteous is an indication that you need to finish that certain quest before moving on to the next chapter. Otherwise, you can do the quests at your own leisure.
You'll Likely Mess Up Your First Character
Now on to actual gameplay. Like any CRPG, the character creation is a tangle of jargon and weird numbers. That's tradition for the more faithful ones in the sub-genre. This time around, the game does a better job of explaining which classes are simpler for beginners. So it's best to take that advice unless you've played the first game or Pathfinder tabletop a lot.
Even after picking a beginner-friendly class, you might find yourself ruining their stat and gear progression. One sub-optimal proficiency allocation is all it takes. It's best not to stress about this too much and think of your first character as a test run. You can always change the difficulty settings anyway.
The Game Has Both Turn-Based & Real-Time Combat
The real-time combat in Pathfinder games can be paused. For many, that doesn't help much in understanding combat proceedings. Combat can still go too fast and maneuvering your characters in real-time is janky as ever. Wrath of the Righteous alleviates this issue.
It included a turn-based mode which sits at the control panel at the bottom left of the UI. It's a more calculated way of approaching combat and is recommended for beginners in the genre or the franchise. Switching between the two combat modes is also seamless and fast.
Everything Depends On Dice Rolls
One good reason why you might want to rely on the turn-based mode is that combat can be unforgiving in Wrath of the Righteous. Since it's a CRPG, its combat system relies on pure, randomized dice rolls. So don't be surprised if your awesome flaming greatsword smite still results in nothing but a glancing blow.
In this game, we are all slaves to the dice. Employing the turn-based mode so you can make some relaxed judgments on whether to unload that spell or use that limited attack you've been saving is a sound tactic. The sooner you get used to this tabletop adaptation, the less frustrating the game.
You'll Need To Be Conservative With Your Spells
Speaking of spells or special abilities in Wrath of the Righteous, one common mistake many beginners make is running out of them too soon. Spells are limited in the Pathfinder franchise, much like how they are in Dungeons & Dragons.
Each spell or unique combat ability has a number of uses per rest. Once they're gone, your character is confined to using their cantrips or free but weaker spells. You can replenish their strength and spellcasting capacity again by resting at a camp or camping. This slows down combat and instills on you the mortal limitations of your characters.
Don't Expect Too Much Gear Customization
One common issue that most D&D-based games have is that gear customization is plainly lackluster. In the Pathfinder games, you'll get a +1 or +2 item from time to time or something with a quirk or magical passive ability but for most of the game, you're stuck with the standard-issue gear.
This is also the case with the tabletop variants. Arguably, it makes the acquisition of special items all the more endearing since they're rare. But for the current generation of gamers who might be more accustomed to instant gratification and a steady-sloped progression, then this could be a dealbreaker.
Voice Acting Is Only Partial
Voice acting in many CRPGs can also be a polarizing feature since one camp of players prefer to imagine their characters while the other finds voices more immersive. There's also the fact that reading on a screen can be a chore for the eyes. Wrath of the Righteous offers a bit of both.
For the important dialogue, the voice acting is present. Any other part of the game, it's absent. So don't panic as the lack of voice acting isn't a sudden bug. That method does well to establish the personalities of characters but beyond that, players will have to resort to old-fashioned reading to obtain information.