A Game of Thrones – Genesis
In honor of the upcoming release of season 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones and my fervent obsession with the history and lore of Westeros I wanted to write about all the video games that are set in this universe and that take both the A Song of Ice and Fire books from George R.R Martin and the series from HBO.
To start this “series” of posts I had to begin with the first video game to take the history of Westeros as a lead. This game is A Game of Thrones – Genesis. This game is entirely based on the books and doesn’t share any of the elements that are exclusive to the TV Show.
This game was released on September, 2011 and it is an exclusive release for PC. The game didn’t receive good critics mostly because of its presentation and the overkill of elements that could have worked better if they were labored better or if none that many should have been included.
Plot Behind A Game of Thrones – Genesis
The game will take place over a 1000 years on the history of Westeros, the campaign itself begins with the coming of warrior-queen Nymeria and his people the Rhoynar. You begin in Dorne, where she initially landed when she came to Westeros and must then establish your people on these new lands and eventually forge an alliance and even a marriage with the Martell, thus establishing House Nymeros Martell as the greatest house in Dorne.
As you move through the campaign you will play as other great characters in the history of Westeros, the next great lord that you will play is the first King of Westeros, King Aegon I Targaryen. Aegon the conqueror faced many quests even after he conquered all of Westeros and you will play as him as he further unifies the seven kingdoms into one and as he fights the Dornish war.
Like this you will continue to play as the great characters that formed the history of this continent. You will get to play all the way to the war of of the Usurper, where you will play as Robert Baratheon in his struggle to overrule the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen.
Visual Aspects of A Game of Thrones – Genesis
The game doesn’t look (or hears) that well, the scenarios look better at a distance if you zoom out, but the details in it are not the best and some interactions such as fighting or spying even look clumsy when look at very closely. Now, this should never be a determining factor when judging a game, as I am a supporter of good gameplay over good graphics. But this is no excuse to poorly executed looks and visual aspects.
The addition of voice acting to dialogues is good, but the actual dialogues and voice cast are not the best at all. Some of the dialogues are dull and long, specially when they take place just before important actions and the voices that play the characters seem a bit overacted.
All of this will harm the experience while playing the game a little bit. It could be overlooked if the rest of the game was great, but that unfortunately is not the case.
Here’s a video of the game’s intro and tutorial so that you can see how it looks:
Many Great Ideas with a Poor Implementation
The game itself presents a lot of good ideas. It incorporates spying, underhand tactics such as seduction and buy off and it favors tactic and politics to get to victory over using force and just training armies to achieve your conquest. All these mechanics play greatly individually but get to be a mess when combined during gameplay.
The problem with these mechanics is when you are trying to incorporate them all at ounce in the same scenario. Specially because the enemy will also be using them against you. At the end you will end up having to do a lot of micro-management with every single troop at your disposal. The AI that they have is poor to say the least and they will rarely act on their own, the only troops that I can say are effective even if left alone are the assassins (as long as they are inside your territory) and the guardsmen.
Here’s a video of the first part of the campaign where you can see the mechanics being integrated into gameplay:
A Game of Thrones that should only be played by true fans
To be honest, this game is not great or even good, it is decent and can give you some good hours of gameplay, but with far better real time strategy games out there you won’t really end up playing the campaign from beginning to end.
I can only recommend this game to hardcore fans like me, people that have are simply obsessed with the world of Westeros and all the history of it. If you have read the books, seen the show or even just heard about it, but you really want to know how everything began to be. Then you want to give this game a change, it contains a lot of information and backstory to the characters and their great houses. The game even has an encyclopedia where you can read about everything.
Here’s a little video of me browsing through the encyclopedia so that you can get a glance of all the information you can find in there:
Try it Yourself.
As with any other game it is one thing to read and see about it and another to actually play it and come up with your own judgement. Therefore, I invite you to play it for yourself and see if it is a good game for you or not. You can find the game on Steam at a fairly good price, and it is often sold with a discount.
Please let me know what you thought of it and this review in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,