Pathfinder is a relatively new game in the roleplaying world. Released in 2009 in direct response to the new Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons (along with all of its controversial rule changes), Pathfinder aims to take players back to a more traditional roleplaying era of years gone and incorporates more longstanding rules that players will have become familiar with. This fortunately crosses over into the video game world quite well. Kingmaker includes the Infinity Engine, which has been the go-to gaming platform for traditional roleplaying titles for over two decades.
Players who are familiar with other popular roleplaying games over the past few years will find themselves in very familiar territory when playing Kingmaker. The battles are based on real-time encounters with enemies who target the player's party or are targeted by one of the player's characters and is dependent on the results of rolling a virtual 20-side die, which is done automatically behind the scenes. In many respects, Kingmaker operates in a very similar fashion to a turn-based strategy game in that players can purposely target their attacks and rolls with ease, but those incorporating mages, wizards, and other magic-focused characters in their parties will do well in its real time environment that rewards careful planning and execution of spells.
The game doesn't break any traditional conventions when it comes to its backstory. In its most simplified version, the player and his fellow party mates are a band of misfits looking to overthrow Pathfinder's Stolen Lands and become undisputed kings of the realm. Players will find out more about the political landscape of the game that is actually quite like the Planescape campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. Allowing the story to unfold itself adds significant depth to the campaign and creates intrigue into the different warring factions that players will encounter throughout their quest to become kings of the Stolen Lands.
Characters in the player's party each have adaptive alignments, which are adjusted according to the player's decisions when dealing with non-playable characters. What was designed as a lawful good character can soon change to chaotic evil one should the player command the character into a massive killing spree of innocent neutral townspeople for no given reason. For this reason, players needn't get overly involved in the character creation process. The creation comes during the game itself as players traverse the dangerous lands and respond to the events of the game accordingly.
While it may seem like a basic roleplaying game on the surface, Kingmaker is a surprisingly difficult game to complete. Players will need to give serious thought to their actions as the slightest deviation from progression can easily spiral out of control and create an even more difficult situation for players to overcome before getting back on track. Their interactions with the environment must be under the idea of game progression rather than anarchy. Keeping this in mind will almost guarantee a fun, interactive gaming experience.
It's hard to find fault in Kingmaker. It is what players would expect of a classic roleplaying game, but does so incredibly well and with a more crisp, modern appearance that players might be accustomed to in the past. Menu bars and status inputs are far more vivid and eye catching than the usual drab solid areas that outline the bottom of a playing screen.
As a whole, Kingmaker offers a solid roleplaying experience that fans of the genre would do well to add to their gaming libraries immediately.