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Jan 16, 2013

Game of Thrones PC Review

My opinion of this game continuously spikes as I play, from thoroughly engrossed and addicted to thoroughly disappointed and perhaps even disgusted. And then back again. Let me explain. What it seems like to me is that two very different affiliations had a hand in its making: The first, I can only assume this is the part directly linked to George and the people at HBO, brought a level of quality that is passable for GoT fans - and that really is a high bar. They use music from the show, the plot is intricate (especially for a videogame), the character progression is unique and well thought out.

For example, for every strength you select a weakness, while new strengths and weaknesses open up depending on what choices you make in the game. In the very first mission, you have the option to torture a wildling for information, and you have to determine what are lies and what are truths. I chose to torture him to death, because I didn't feel like chasing a dead end and wanted to be sure - I was awarded a merciless (or something to that effect) character trait, which increased my passive critical hit chance. From what it looks like, all kinds of little character buffs and debuffs open up depending on what you do. The voice acting on the main characters is also very good, Mormont and Varys are even the same voices from the HBO series. The rest sound familliar, even if I can't exactly place them; all in all it makes their part in the very many cut scenes enjoyable to watch. And then the second part, which, and I do hate to so openly bash a gaming company but after Genesis certain conclusions have to be drawn.

They are the same makers, and it shows. Combat itself uses an engine that is far too dated for a 50 dollar game in 2012 where most of your gameplay is fighting. It is essentially stat-based rock paper scissors, where dodging an attack means your passive dodge chance kicked in and the opponent gets little red text over their head that says "miss" - There isn't even an animation. There is autoattack that doesn't always work and its all very clunky. You cannot jump, and there is little attention to the detail that makes George's world so rich. As an example, small money bouses can often be looted in old barrels and flower pots, dead bodies of peasants, the normal things in an RPG. Except when you are playing as a lord, grubbing through the debris for spare change just doesn't fit at all. As the Night's Watch character I looted some purple text wildling armor and put it on, severed ranger heads on it but not a speck of black, and ran around Castle Black wearing it; the makers didn't even have the grace to put in some comment from a character that tries to excuse how out of context things can get. They are small disappointments, but the only people who would consider playing this game are the 'hardcore' Ice and Fire fans, and for them these things will build up and leave a bad taste in their mouths.

The conversion from scrip to dialogue is bad, where a lot of things seem unnatural or forced, and the voices for secondary characters are horrible, to the point where they painfully detract from the scenes, and the good voice acting on the main characters only serves to make this stand out more. Its a big deal when there is as almost as much cutscene time as there is actual play time. All of the major landmarks have the bare minimum for players to recognize them from the books or show, but if you take out the tiny iron chair in Cersei's throne room, it looks just like every other throne room in every other game, except with worse graphics and detail. The expansiveness of George's world is ignored in this game, with invisible walls and random blocking objects that keep you from being able to explore. You are able to wander off, but it is usually just to an empty dead end which gets very annoying in a game where quest indicators are vague directional arrows that don't account for walls. Every other place is really the same; I understood the need for downscaling in the TV series, but in a videogame it seems like this would be a chance to get it right, and you can see that they didn't even try. While you're playing, as the denial wears off, it sinks in that the majority of this game is just an attempt (like their last one) to make easy money off of much better work done by someone else.

Verdict: 60/100



Details:
Genre Role-Playing
Style Third-Person 3D Action RPG
Release Date May 15, 2012
Developer Cyanide Inc.
Publisher Atlus
Flags Downloadable Release

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