TLDR for people who are looking to buy: Buggy, but imminently playable and quite enjoyable, if you’re patient with it. Also, Owlbears!
For a long time, I held off on buying Owlcat’s Pathfinder Kingmaker for the PS4. The terrible player reviews, the game breaking bugs, the unplayable state of the game and a developer that seemed to have moved on to a new release, all had prevented me from buying this game.
Until desperation for a new console CRPG made me cave and buy it anyway. And then I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the game.
So pleasantly surprised that I feel that some of the reviews online are old and maybe even unfair and not representative of the current state of the game on PS4. I decided to counter the uninformative or flat-out outdated reviews that are prevalent. I want to give you a truthful and realistic perspective of someone who knew the game was flawed but bought it anyway and found I could play it and enjoy it. This writeup is meant for the buyer that wants a realistic breakdown of what to expect if they shell out the cash for Kingmaker. If that’s you, then read on; this was my experience.
Playtime: 141 hours to finish the last quest on a pure lvl 20 Aasimar Monk I called, Wun Saitama! Don’t hate my bad names.
Quest Breaking bugs: none found or experienced, though the second last quest area (in the First World) can burn in hell.
Black Screen on game launch: 3
Comments: Just shut the game down and restart it.
General Crashes: 21
Comments: Mostly because I tried to load a new area whilst the game was still saving. Waiting for the game to fully save then loading into a new area solves the problem. Most frequently found when shifting into Kingdom management mode from the throne room or the main map. Twice the game crashed while loading. Thrice, a crash was preceded by a frame rate drop.
Frame Rates: Great in the beginning of the game, average in the later stages, but very, very playable. Lead to three crashes though so suggest a quick save
Playtime lost due to crashes: Average 4-5 min only.
Total playtime lost: about approx. 1-1.5 hours of progress over the full playthrough.
Comments: Because I was saving frequently I only ever lost avg. 4-5 min of play. I had 1 auto save slot, 1 quick save slot, 3 manual save files. With frequent and clever saving, I was never more than 5 min or so of progress behind after a crash. Not game destroying at all and I was able to recover any lost progress easily and then move on. In a 12-hour sitting, I would average a crash or so, and sometimes none, sometimes 2. Nothing that made me descend into pure gamer rage, damage my own property and write badly composed tirades against this game and its devs online.
Comments: Well yes. Especially towards the end of the main campaign. They do get slower. But egregiously so? Anthem levels of loading speed? Absolutely not. I will suggest you take that sip of water, double check to make sure your phone has the right guide opened (don’t lie! You know you will play this with one eye on the guide), have some snacks and there you go, loadings over. Let the murder hobo-ing commence.
Story, Gameplay, DLCs etc: Quite good. Pathfinder Kingmaker is no instant classic, but I will rate this game’s story, character creation and gameplay, top notch. Not legendary “S” tier, but a solid “B plus” overall and an “A” for the effort and love for the Pathfinder franchise that’s on display. For more details, please refer to your game reviewer of choice.
Final Thoughts: I’m not talking No Mans Sky levels of redemption here, Pahtfinder Kingmaker did have a rough, buggy launch. But Owlcat have done a decent job of patching together a fun and playable game here that you can safely and confidently enjoy on your PS4 without too many bugs getting in your way.
There you have it. A realistic breakdown of what it was like to play Kingmaker. I hope I was able to inform your purchase and have a great day!
PS: I’ve posted this on Metacritic as well; that den of positivity, maturity and realism. Maybe someday someone will read it and a new Baron will rise to tame the Stolen Lands. Maybe. Maybe.