Game of Thrones – The Role Playing Game
After a good amount of time of being inactive, we are back with more game reviews. Our last post was part of a series of posts dedicated to the world of Westeros. Continuing with these games based on the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire universe I now bring you a game review for Game of Thrones – The Role Playing Game or simply, just Game of Thrones. This game was developed by Cyanide, the same studio that brought another game of this series, Game of Thrones – Genesis, and published by Atlus. The game was initially released for PC on Steam on May 12, 2012.
This game is completely different from the previous one developed by Cyanide as it moves away from the real time strategy gameplay into a more action-oriented, RPG style. It presents us with the story of 2 characters that you have not seen in the TV show or read in the books but that both play key roles into the history of Westeros.
Westeros & Essos rendered in Unreal Engine 3
Let’s be honest here, if you are a fan of the series or like me starting watching the show before picking any of the books or other lore of this franchise, then you feel in love with the visuals of the different cities, locales, the magic beasts and beings & even of the characters. So when you think of a good game that is true to the franchise you will demand great graphics. Well then you’re in for a treat, it may not be the most recent game, thus not the most up to date graphics but still the developers did a great job rendering each scenario where you will be taken and even the characters have distinct characteristics that can be easily appreciated.
All in all the game looks great, it has great cinematics and like a good Game of Thrones episode it presents lengthy lines of dialogues in which you can appreciate the way each characters interacts with you.
Here’s a video of the first minutes of the game so that you can see how it looks:
A Plot Worthy of the Franchise
A game based on Game of Thrones needs to have a good plot if it is to be considered good and this game doesn’t fail to deliver on this end. It presents to you with a story that develops similarly to that of the first season of the series. It starts slow with some characters that you don’t care much for at the beginning and then the plot begins to thicken and thicken until you find yourself rooting for these characters and for them to find their true path.
The characters that we control in the story are Mors, a brother of the night’s watch that has been guarding the realm of men for several years now. Mors is a true brother and is very strict to his conviction but more than anything to the words he said when he joined the night’s watch.
After the game is introduced to us via the storyline of Mors, we take control of Alester, a member of a royal family that abandoned everything long ago to pursue his true beliefs and to be a red priest serving the Lord of the Light. Alester is forced to return to his homeland and assume the role of ruler in a sort of manners, a role that he never wanted to have in the first place.
At the beginning both characters seem to be completed unrelated, but then their stories will intertwine in the worst place where two important characters can meet, King’s Landing. In this vile city, capital of Westeros, great perils await to both protagonists of the game. Initially they are not fond of cooperating one with the other, but at some point they end up getting used to the idea and you really start caring for both of them. Don’t grow too affected to any of them though, as the Bravoosi usually say “Valar Morghulis“.
Great Story but not the best Execution
Now, the story is great and the visuals are great. But then something went wrong with the mechanics of the game and with either the rendering of everything or the debugging of the game as it is very buggy and a loot of simple things start adding up to what can be a bad gameplay all in all.
The combat mechanics are simple and not very intuitive, the inventory systems seems very rudimentary, the shopping system is plainly stupid as it makes items that seem like must have available to you at the beginning but then it is pretty much impossible to have enough money to buy them. Unless this was done on purpose to reflect on the social classes differences in Westeros then it simply doesn’t make sense.
And then to top it off, the game has a lot of what seem to be bugs. Most of these are simple details, but I don’t see these little details passing by a good quality tester. From how dumb characters look with helmets on conversations and how awful the transition is if you choose for them not to wear helmets on conversations, to some parts of the terrain of some areas, to how AI sometimes acts before seeing to, to simply a lot of things. The game is still playable and enjoyable, but it is that type of game that is just hard to sit through. In this Mors’ Gameplay you can see some of the things I mention:
Become Part of Westeros
Looking pass these obvious flaws, the game allows you to really feel like you are in Westeros, you will really feel the cold of the Wall and north of it. You will feel the tragedy that the people of Riverspring is now suffering and once you step in King’s Landing, you will really know that you are now part of the Game of Thrones.
The characters are given good dialogues and a lot of work was placed in the script, to smooth things a lot of the actors from the series give their voices to their counterparts in the video game. Hearing Conleth Hill narrate a lot of the story as his characters Varys is simply pleasing to put it mildly:
Here’s a video of Alester’s gameplay, whose story I was able to find much more fascinating than Mor’s:
Recommended for real Fans of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire
Truth be told, this game is not for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend it to casual players and even to most RPGs players. To really like this game you must either love RPGs but more specifically the universe that has emerged from A Song of Ice and Fire.
Thanks for reading,