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Game of Thrones review

AT A GLANCE
  • Interesting, well-told story
  • Seeing Westeros close up
  • Lots of stats and skill trees
  • Some false sense of choice
  • Sub-par textures and animation
  • Combat can get repetitive

Two characters may sound like precious few when compared to other grand RPGs (or even the source material), but by focusing on just these two men, Cyanide is able to weave a much tighter and more compelling tale than the team would if they tried to juggle a huge cast. These heroes have histories. They have secrets. And most of all, they have pretty good motivations for everything they do. There are twists in their respective tales up to the very end, and the events feel like a fitting entry into the mythos.

If you’re just looking at the game’s script, the story is both interesting and well-executed. However, in trying to make the plot feel more choice-driven, Cyanide undermines the game’s dynamic story. After many lines of dialogue, character animations will make jarring cuts to new positions, as if a handful of canned scenes were crudely spliced together for every conversation. In a few instances, this carries over to the voice acting as well, with characters speaking calming one second before immediately switching to a panicked or excited tone with the next line. This can break the immersion of the story and mar what is otherwise generally good performances from the characters.

Furthermore, there are a great many instances where your choices are little more than illusion. You may be given two choices of dialogue that seem at least a little different, only to find upon replaying the scene that they lead to the exact same outcome in the given discussion. Even some of the more impactful decisions – ones that could potentially spare or kill multiple lives with just a few choices – aren’t given much weight outside of new dialogue. One particular set of choices determines the fate of a sizable battle (one you don’t even get to see, much less participate in). Poor planning could lead to a lot of civilian deaths, but the consequences boil down to a simple line of dialogue telling you, “A lot of people died because you did this instead of that. That sucks, huh?” The game moves forward without incident, failing to give much weight to what you’ve done. Not all choices play out this way. Some do have fairly significant consequences, which might include avoiding battles altogether or getting extra help when swords are drawn. But it’s unfortunate how many times you make choices that seem to result in little to no consequence.

The plot has enough blood on its hands without requiring you to make those decisions, though. In the spirit of the novels, plenty of people die. That said, the game doesn't quite take full advantage of its brutal and mature source material. On one hand, the game feels almost tasteful in areas where Cyanide could push the adult content much further than the team does—for a universe loaded with brutal violence and gobs of nudity, the lack of skin feels almost jarring, as though no one saw an episode of the TV series throughout the whole process. On the other hand, if you only care about the universe because of boobs and blood, there are better RPGs with mature tones that you can choose from.

Ultimately, while the world of Westeros has plenty of interesting locales and characters to offer, the ones who will get the most out of it are the ones already familiar with its terrain. There are many call-outs for series fans, including a cameo by series creator George R. R. Martin, who plays, well, himself, more or less. It’s cheesy, but it’s oddly self-aware enough that it passes as fun fan service, provided you’re actually a fan. Otherwise his character will just seem poorly acted and out of place. Similarly, much of the games dialogue probably drags on for too long on trivial details that could bore those who don’t care strongly about the world.

It’s far from the top of its class, and it has a lot of rough edges, but Game of Thrones is perfectly competent in most of what it sets out to do. It tells a good story that’s worth experiencing, but if you don’t care about the series or care more about the gameplay wrapper around a plot, there are a few better choices out there.

More Info

Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Atlus
Developed by: Cyanide
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Sexual Content

5 comments

  • TheHowetzer - May 21, 2012 5 a.m.

    Haha! All for one, and so on my friends! WB.
  • lazer59882 - May 18, 2012 10:49 p.m.

    weird. you guys say the game takes place at the same time as the novel, but the gametrailers review says it takes place months before. ...what the hell? also, it's a shame this game turned out the way it did. i had high hopes when it was first announced but they were tempered a little more each time i saw it in action. turns out it was a dud all along. no bueno. on a positive note, dragon's dogma next tuesday.
  • robotdickens - May 18, 2012 12:08 a.m.

    Nailed it! I knew this game was gonna suck. I'm not happy it did but you can't make a game about one of the most popular shows on tv and expect it to be the same
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - May 17, 2012 6:32 p.m.

    Man from your review I was thinking this would get a 6 or 7. I won't be playing this anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter.
  • ParagonT - May 17, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    Well, at least for now I see that some were right to be cynical about it.

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