Having conquered the Beast of Winter, the next challenge that offers itself to you is Seeker, Slayer, Survivor, which kicks off a new adventure when you receive a strange crate aboard your vessel. Upon opening it up like a child at Christmas, you find something you’ve always wanted. That’s right, it’s a puppy… no, wait… it’s a severed head. Maybe it isn’t what any kid wants as a gift, but it’s the one that your party is given. The good news is that the head is linked to a spirit who is surprisingly chipper about the whole ordeal, and actually wanted to be sent to you. You see, he needed to warn you of an issue that only a Watcher like yourself could resolve.
If only the Watcher got requests for petting cats and maybe having a nap, alas instead you have to journey to the isle of Kazuwari and try to sneak into the Crucible. This is an island protected by the God of the hunt, the fearsome Galawain. He makes himself known before you have even made ground and bears his fangs – if ever there was a time to be wary of a God, now may well be it. The island is home to warriors aplenty, but the wildlife is no joke either, creatures here are overgrown, strengthened by the battles that define every aspect of this little bloodied area of the world. Every aspect of this place screams survival of the fittest.
Upon finding your way to the Crucible itself, it becomes incredibly clear that the only way to make any headway here is with your strength. You must overcome a plethora of trials or fall to them, and thus fail in your mission to find out what has gone wrong. You must overcome the elements, the creatures, and other combatants in order to stand out from the crowd and earn the chance to speak for one of the three Faces of the Hunt. Once you have earned the right you can align yourself with one of Seeker, Slayer, or Survivor. While you can only choose one if you wanted to, true prowess lies in mastering all three, so it is up to you just how deep into this particular rabbit hole you want to go.
The Crucible is not the only challenge you must face; in order to truly become a champion you have to venture out into the wilds and overcome nature itself. Only in doing so can you acquire the artifacts necessary to unlock new challenges. The island itself holds some, but there are plenty spread across other islands as well. True mastery requires commitment, but if you aren’t careful while venturing through a jungle you may well end up losing your party to the local fauna. In fact I lost everyone to a spider that was feeling lonely at one point.
Each new challenge can be overcome with an overwhelming show of force. The island demands battles in every form, and if you fail to deliver then you will stop living. It is an enjoyable oppurtunity to really flex your tactics, and your skills to their absolute limit. This is a combat heavy DLC, a far different kind of animal to the Beast of Winter. Where the Beast was full of nuance and intrigue, here there is less mystery and more hitting things really hard until they stop existing. The writing is still incredibly good, the level of sass in the individual choices is incredibly gratifying and the Gods still feel arrogant and beyond comprehension, it just doesn’t shine in the same way it did in the last piece. The star attractions here are the combat itself and the strange places you visit.
Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is yet another fantastic addition to the Deadfire lore. The high level of quality on display is as impressive as always, and the options available to the player are bountiful. While some of the individual choices don’t feel quite as meaningful, the different paths that you can take more than make it up. If you like to show off in front of people then this is a DLC that you will savour greatly. As ever, Pillars of Eternity is well worth your time and continues to get better with each addition.