Pillars of Eternity 2 has the best RPG shops

(Image credit: Obsidian)

Most shops in RPGs are a bit rubbish, aren't they? You might buy the odd potion or a crafting recipe, but the items tend to be overpriced, and you've already found better weapons and armour on the floor in a dungeon somewhere.

Not so in Pillars of Eternity 2. I am determined to get to the end of this chunky RPG, but my progress is slower than I'd like, because I have to check the inventory of every vendor in the game. Feast your eyes on the selection above. Sure, the items are expensive, but how can I walk away from The Amazing and Truly Incredible Instant Potion Belt? It's both amazing AND truly incredible.

And look a few options down, below a hat called 'Okura's Kettle'. It's an Animancy Cat. Do you know what that is? No, nor do I, but part of me desperately wants to drop a massive 10,000 in currency to own it. You can collect animals in Pillars of Eternity 2, because it is a very good game, and equip them to your main character. This gives your party a stat bonus, of course, but the real reason you do this is to see your pet running around with your party. At the moment I have a little dragon wurm hatchling fluttering around, but I will loot as many dungeons as I need to to own Animancer Cat. In Pillars of Eternity, Animancers are scientists who love to experiment with soul energy. I want to know what a cat would do with all that power.

Almost every shop has a collection of inventively named curios that I want to collect. I could mess enemies up with the Potion of Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage. In a wizarding shop called The Dark Cupboard there's a grimoire called Jernaugh's Careful Calamities—what a great name for a spellbook.

Many of these items come with story text explaining the item's origins and information about the life of the object's previous owners. I'll be honest, most of them seem to die horribly, but I love how Obsidian has squeezed extra worldbuilding into the humble RPG store. Check out this miniature story attached to a helmet called the Horns of the Bleak Mother.

(Image credit: Obsidian)

In the same store, a humble little shop called Dockside Arms and Armor, I find a pair of heavy gauntlets called the Gatecrashers, and a helm called Heaven's Cacophony. The magical Dark Cupboard has more delights, like a Ring of Focused Flame, or Sasha's Singing Scimitar—magic items are worth extra if they alliterate.

It's a small thing, but it makes me actually care about how much money I have, which is unusual in many RPGs. You still resupply from shops, but these exciting extra items make shopping less of a chore, and more of an extension of a great seafaring adventure.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.