I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Real Time with Pause combat system (RTwP) in RPGs since Baldur’s Gate. For games with a lot going on in the screen at any given time, RTwP can quickly turn into a chaotic mess. At the end of the day, it always leaves me with a sour taste in the mouth.

I felt the same way about Obsidian’s otherwise excellent Pillars of Eternity I and II, despite the improvements made to the RTwP combat system. I always felt that it would have been a much more enjoyable experience if Obsidian were to implement the turn-based system from Troika’s Temple of Elemental Evil.

Looks like I’ll be getting my wish granted soon enough. Obsidian Entertainment has confirmed that a free update coming tomorrow will give players the option to enable the long-rumored experimental turn-based combat system.

According to lead designer Josh “balanced” Sawyer,

“The turn-based mode slows everything down. It’s a very, very tactical mode of play. It highlights some abilities and debuffs and things like that, that aren’t necessarily as highlighted in the real-time with pause combat system. And it’s really a lot of fun,”

“When you enable it, it means that all of the combat is in turn-based mode. Each character in combat takes a turn in order of initiative—that means that one of your characters will go, maybe another one of your characters will go, and enemy will go, and so on. The important thing is that each character is acting independently of all the other characters, so you can take your time, you can plan out how you move, and how you use abilities with as much time as you want. It really makes the tactical combat much more deliberate.” 

The turn-based mode will be coming with the upcoming 4.1 patch, and will initially be a beta for further fine-tuning. You’ll need to start a new game if you want to try it, and you will not be able to switch back and forth between real-time with pause and turn-based.

The turn-based combat option is slated to come to Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire on January 24. Read our review of Deadfire here.

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