+ Strong story
+ A Song of Ice and Fire connection
+ Engaging combat
- Barely sketched minor characters
- Location design
Final score: 7.5 / 10
Controller support: Yes
Windows XP or Vista SP2 or Windows 7
AMD or Intel dual core processor at 2.2 Ghz
2048 MB of RAM memory
7 GB of free hard drive space
256 MB DirectX 9.0 and Shader 3.0 compatible video card
I have recently seen King’s Landing on HBO and it looked way better than in the Game of Thrones video game I am playing, but I can’t shake off the feeling that it’s worth playing the action role-playing game from developer Cyanide to the end because of the story.
All of this despite the fact that the textures around me are ugly and the corridors I am exploring seem to be designed to annoy me and convince me to load a previous save and try to trigger the right movements form an NPC.
This is a game in which the lack of resources and not bad decisions is to blame for mechanics that don’t work and situations that seem out of place; yet the characters and some situations make hanging on to the end worth it.
Game of Thrones is made by a developer that understands A Song of Ice and Fire and has carved a chunk out of its world in order to deliver an old school role-playing game with interesting narratives and some cool writing, designed to satisfy fans and convert newcomers.
Game of Thrones uses two characters to tell a story that is set before the events seen in the books from R. R. Martin and those of the HBO television series and, even if many gamers will be disappointed to see the limited scope of the narrative, the writers at Cyanide have managed to create a plot that takes into account some of the major themes that R.R. Martin himself addresses in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Mors Westford is one of the senior rangers of the Night’s Watch, a man with a past and with surprising humanity given his occupation. He must deal with what starts as a missing person case and quickly evolves to include treachery and quite a lot of double cross situations.
Alester Sarwyck seems a much deeper character, the son of a noble who decided to flee his duties and become a Red Priest who returns to discover his father dead and his family threatened by an upstart usurper.
The two stories start off a little slow, then pick up speed and become interesting medieval intrigues. Yet, I would have liked to see the developers at Cyanide wrap them up a little bit faster and give the various characters a little more closure.
The writing is mostly solid and meshes well with the tone of the television series and the books, but most minor characters lack the time they need to get a proper characterization and it often feels that many of them are just present to deliver exposition or serve as speed bumps on the way to the plot resolution.
Overall, Game of Thrones can be very engaging at times, especially when the more interesting characters engage in verbal duels, and there are some well-written codex entries and meeting with bigger players in the political game, like Varys and Queen Cersei, that should keep fans interested.
Game of Thrones is built around two core mechanics: fighting, which takes place in an almost turn-based manner, and conversation, which relies on player’s indicating the overall tone of what the characters think while the writers provide the actual lines.
The battle system is relatively easy to understand, but it does offer both depth and variety.
Gamers can queue up to three actions for each of the characters that they control and hitting Space makes time flow slowly and allow for a quick survey of the various abilities that can be used.
The best use for attacks and abilities depends on the type of enemy faced and on his own abilities, but I found that on Normal most of the fights were easy, especially when both characters get access to some healing powers and once comrades are thrown in.
There are some difficulty spikes here and there, and I died quite a few times because I misjudged the strength of my enemies, but overall the combat system is solid, although a little big opaque.
The conversations are more of a mixed bag and could pose problems for gamers, even for patient ones, both because they tend to be quite lengthy and because there are moments when what the player believes his character will say does not match up with the lines that are actually spoken.
Landing a king
Game of Thrones has other small issues, including towns that should be sprawling. They are in fact all but dead, with a very limited number of characters one can interact with and sections that involve tracking smells with the help of a hound. All this quickly becomes frustrating, even before taking into account the fact that scents are represented by colors.
The game also suffers from long and numerous loading sequences, especially when moving between large areas and chapters.
Graphics and audio
The Cyanide-made Game of Thrones role-playing game is a middle of the pack game when it comes to looks, never approaching the AAA tier. At the same time, it also manages to create some solid areas and fluid movement for the characters.
The look of the game might have worked better if the Game of Thrones television series did not exist (Cyanide says that the development process for the game started before the HBO series was announced). But most players who will try out the game will see what the world looks like and the Cyanide-made title will probably disappoint them.
This being said, the effort is certainly present, even if the resources were limited, and a number of likenesses for actors from the television series are used, along with their voices, thus creating a familiar atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the immersion in the world of Westeros is broken by the repetitive animations, the problems with character textures and various body parts going through walls or weapons at the worst possible moments.
I found the Wall to be well simulated and, as a rule, the sections of the game that take place in the North seem to look better and closer to the spirit of the universe than those set further South do.
The voice acting is also uneven, with the two main characters getting some solid work and some clever lines, but a lot of more minor players are afflicted by flat deliveries or from too much over-acting.
It would have been interesting to see how a bigger company or one that had more experience with third-person role-playing game would have handled the solid ideas that Cyanide had for Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones really needed more resources to be a better game, especially more attention paid to the look of the cities and to various combat options. It’s still a well-developed product, set in a world – that of Westeros – that has managed to get quite a few loyal followers in the last few years, mainly because of the fifth R.R. Martin novel and the HBO television series.
As it is now, the game experience can be infuriating at times and there are some sections where the mechanics show their weaknesses, like the long exploration of the bowels of the Red Keep.
But most of the time the story that Cyanide is telling is engrossing and the world is well enough simulated to keep gamers interested, even if the impact it has on the current state of Westeros is very limited.
no way this deserves 7.5 out of 10. this game at best deserves only a 4 or 5.
the story is ok, but is seriously let down by animations, visuals, audio and has no feel of immersion.
people just stand around talking in groups in the city but their mouths dont move, no audio or even text comes from their talking, the animations are petty.
combat is clunky and although i do like how certain weapons get a bonus to certain armours, it still falls short of any major success as oposed to other games of the genre.
dragon age 2 for me is at the top of these action-rpgs. it boasts great immersion into character, through voice acting, choices in convo that affect your outcomes, and the graphics and gameplay are perfectly intwined.
its easy to see conpared to dragon age 2 that how badly put together the game of thrones game really is.
with that said, i will be taking this game back and changing it with something else ( as you can within 7 days) because i feel i made a grave mistake in picking this game over the many other good games on the shelf.
4/10 from me.