Both my reviews of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and its first DLC Beast of Winter were quite positive. Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is the second DLC, released along with the 3.0 patch back in September. Beast of Winter was mostly an exploration of the realm known as the Beyond in the Pillars cosmology, featuring a confrontation with the auroch god Rymrgand. Seeker, Slayer, Survivor includes a similar confrontation with the god of the hunt, Galawain.
Just as in Beast of Winter, you receive an invitation to travel to an island in the Deadfire archipelago. Once there, you explore it until you come upon an arena where Galawain is the resident god. Or, to be more precise, the aspect of Galawain that the Huana race worship. The arena turns out to be a temple, the Temple of Toamowhai, the tongue-twisting name the Huana know Galawain by. There is something interesting about the lore, but not really much.
Toamowhai has three faces, the Seeker, the Slayer, and the Survivor. These are the god’s aspects that emerge in every hunt and battle. The temple has a massive living statue of the Seeker-Slayer-Survivor on top of it. The faces speak in turn before and after each battle. Once you complete the first few introductory quests, you get three series of challenging battles for each face of Toamowhai. That’s the core of the DLC. It consists of fairly tough arena battles, facing a variety of monsters and creatures.
My playthrough was tainted by a serious issue that plagued the 3.0 patch, causing a lot of stuttering. I traced the issue back to the addition of a Kill Cam feature. However, even after I turned off this feature, there was still some stuttering. This completely discouraged me from even trying to take on the battles on a challenging enough difficulty. So I just switched to the easiest mode and let the AI take care of most battles. I can’t say it was fun, but it was at least a less annoying way to deal with the constant stuttering.
There were a couple of story quests as well, mostly fetch quests for Galawain’s faces. These felt very subpar, even with some storybook interludes. The closest it got to a proper story quest was helping out Neale, an elf inventor-animancer who asks you to wear an energy-absorbing belt during battles. You can see the Obsidian signature in this character, but it was only minor side content that didn’t add much to the overall narrative or atmosphere. Some of the other contenders in the arena were also colorful, but still mostly forgettable. It's a shame because the setting isn't bad at all. It's just underdeveloped. It feels like they overlooked the potential and opted for an easy fix.
As with Beast of Winter, there’s no level cap increase either, so it feels kind of pointless to grind away. This DLC might be popular with fans of Icewind Dale, where you had constant battles with swarms of enemies. It’s combat for combat’s sake, which just isn’t really my jam, especially when it comes to pausable real-time combat. There are some unique items you can acquire, but none of it feels essential. If you're a completionist, sure, have fun. It's just not what I look for in an Obsidian RPG.
I took my time with it, exploring every nook and corner of the island and trying to find more content, but there isn’t much more to it. You could easily finish it in under five hours. It’s the kind of DLC that feels disproportionate with the others. At least Beast of Winter had a good amount of story and exploration, with some great level design, not just filler with some lore on top.
Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is mediocre and lukewarm at best, and at worst a tedious grind replete with performance issues caused by the 3.0 patch. While the 4.0 patch mostly fixed it, it was still a huge problem during my playthrough. And while not entirely a waste of time, only Pillars completionists and diehard fans of pausable real-time combat will really enjoy the grind. It might be worth it in a bundle with a hefty discount, but even then it’s not something you can sink your teeth into.
Seeker, Slayer, Survivor plays like filler DLC. It's below average and lukewarm at best, with very little of what makes an Obsidian RPG in the mix.
- Challenging Battles
- Fairly Interesting Lore
- Mostly Grinding
- Performance Might Stutter
- Very Short On Proper Content
- Uneven Characters