Pathfinder Adventures review: rolling the dice like there's no tomorrow
If you are into board games or Dungeons & Dragons, you've definitely heard about Pathfinder, the RPG developed by Paizo. However, we're not going to talk about Paizo's alternative to Wizards of the Coast's D&D game.
We've decided to try out the digital adaptation of Paizo's Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, which is a mix of cards and RPG elements. The game can be played solo, but you can also battle foes together with your friends.
I'm a hardcore D&D pen & paper player for more than 10 years now, so I've been anxious to play Paizo's Pathfinder game on my Android device. Developed by the folks at Obisidian, the game was available on iOS since April, but only recently made the jump to Android.
Unfortunately, I don't have too many kind words about Pathfinder Adventures. Although D&D is very complex, Pathfinder Adventures is overly complicated, despite the fact that it's more of a card game than a RPG. Another aspect that threw me off is the number of bugs and glitches that I had encountered during my gameplay sessions.
Although the tutorial is supposed to provide players with enough information to enjoy the game, if you don't know anything about Pathfinder Adventures, you will end up more confused. There have been times when I literally didn't know what to do and got stuck in the middle of a scenario. The problem is I did not even know whether it's a bug with a game or I'm doing something wrong.
Once you finish the prologue, the tutorial scenario that's supposed to teach you how to play, you'll be able to choose two heroes that will help you complete various missions (they are called scenarios in the game). Each of these heroes has a deck of cards specific to their class (cleric, rogue, fighter, etc.). Think of these decks of cards as their HP (hit points) value). The moment you finish the cards in the deck, your character dies. That's why some of these cards have abilities like “Recharge,” which allows you to put them back into your deck after you have used them.
The RNG is strong with this one
The problem is everything is based on dice rolls. One of the reasons I like D&D is because there's a certain level of RNG (random number generator) involved. However, in Pathfinder Adventures everything is related to RNG and the outcome after failing a check against an enemy can be devastating in 90% of the cases. In order to successfully finish a scenario, you will probably need to pass all combat checks, otherwise your characters will die before killing the final boss.
Pathfinder Adventures is an example that too much RNG ruins the gameplay experience. After many failed tries it becomes frustrating and instead of wanting to play more, you are tempted to delete the game. There's little retention in the game, not to mention that 80% of the campaigns that you can play are behind a pay wall. The same goes for characters, which you can only buy using the gold rewarded to you after successfully completing a scenario.
On the bright side, the game features nice graphics and sound. It has great potential and developers can tweak it to be more engaging and less frustrating, but not until all the bugs and glitches are addressed (another aspect that ruins the gameplay experience).