Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Developer: Cyanide Studios
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, PC
Rated: M for Mature
Many know about the Game of Thrones franchise that has swept many medium’s today. First you have a published novel, a hit tv series, and now with ATLUS in association with HBO and Cyanide Studios, we have a video game. With such depths of a world created by George R. R. Martin, can the video game live up to what is to be expected out of the Game of Thrones name?
It’s pretty obvious from the start what this game is truly about, well more like around Chapter 2 anyway. Game of Thrones proposes deep characters and a dark story to match. The first thing I thought about was Dear Esther (a title separate of Game of Thrones) and how it sought to tell a story in a medium that might not have been best. Game of Thrones feels a little like it should have remained away from the video game medium but I’m not saying that to put it down entirely.
The story in this game is well delivered and voice acting is good and believable for a biggest part. The lip-syncing is a little to be desired and animations can be stiff and look half done at times within the game. These setbacks along with sub-par graphics and exploitable/frustrating gameplay can hinder the experience. Environmental sounds are done very well and like I hinted to earlier, the character voice overs leave a good impression for the audio delivery. All this being said, it is time to elaborate.
In Game of Throne you play as two separate characters, Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck, who eventually cross paths within the game (note the premise is highly interesting and the two story-lines combine together in a very smooth fashion). As Mors you are given the opportunity to pick between 3 classes. These classes include Landed Knight, Hedge Knight, and Magnar. Landed Knight is a class for a more defensive player and you get to wield a shield and choice of a one-handed weapon (choice of class during the play-through). Hedge Knight is your more beefy, heavy armored, offensive character who prefers the use of a large two-handed weapon. Magnar is comparable to a rouge persona as you are animalistic and are geared more toward using dual short blades and the like.
Each class has unique abilities with it and your abilities are limited to the specified weapons of your character’s fighting style. Another thing to know is that different weapons are better for different enemies. Blunt weapons are good against heavy armor foes while cutting/perforating works good for regular clothed/chain-mail enemies, respectively. It makes sense but it does get a little frustrating if you find yourself ill equipped in later parts of the game; you are basically just stuck with what you have picked/bought, good or bad. Mors also has the ability to take control of his dog directly to take down isolated foes. You are also able to unlock abilities for your dog and use him in combat. Man’s best friend proves himself to be quite useful!
When playing as Alester you have the choices of becoming a Water Dancer, Sellsword, or an Archer (archer was picked during the play-through). As a Water Dancer you will be very agile for your liking to light-armor and the use of 1 handed weapons. Sellswords are like Water Dancers but a little give and take. You will be more prominent to take use of medium armor and while you are pretty agile, you won’t be as quick as a Water Dancer.
Lastly you have the Archer class. It’s pretty much what you’d expect, as you specialize in bows and other cool stuff such as smoke bombs and poisoned arrows. Aside from the three classes, Alester has the ability to wield fire attacks separate from the other abilities. You can also use his talents to find hidden items around the environment. I should also be noted that Mors can use his dog to find hidden items as well.
Being your standard RPG, Game of Thrones plays out pretty much like Dragon Age Origins in this aspect. You issue commands and your squad mates will then issue the attacks or abilities you called upon them to do. Most games like this let you pause the action completely and pick your attacks. Instead of giving you all the time in the world, Game of Thrones will not let you pause the game outright, but it will only slow time down. This feature increases tension the in-game fights and make you have to call orders more quickly.
In Game of Thrones you get to pick your loadouts as well as buy/sell armor, weapons, and items. You have two slots to equip different loadouts but you cannot use 1 item in more then 1 loadout. For example I wanted to use one bow for two loadouts with Alester but the game would not allow this. This makes for an inconsistent feel as if I already have the weapon on hand. It wouldn’t be a problem to simply switch my arrows in second hand weapon alone. You also better make sure you have what you need before going into combat as you cannot alter you loadouts or armor during a fight. While these things were certainly intended, the restrictive loadout system is enough to grumble about.
Taking everything into consideration, the biggest selling point for the game is the story. There are several dialogue choices to pick in the game and situations that DO have significance in the outcome bases on what you do. The game does do a good job of making your choices have gravity to them. However, every other element in this game screams “average”. There are some cool moments here and there as far as combat/arising situations go but they all end up being just average. You could go as far as to say the graphic and texture resolutions are last generation.
So is Game of Thrones bad? Not really. Is it great? No. This game is more of a niche then anything and would best apply to those who only play games for their story value, although pretty crude at times. If you want a game with better combat and mechanics all around then perhaps you could go back to Dragon Age Origins or something comparable.
Overall Rating: 3/5