Play harder

A Game of Thrones

Now, what should I do? I’ve never experienced such mixed feelings. Here is a game I MUST play every day, but every day I loose the mood, then I must take it out again, because I wanna play it again. How is it possible anyway? There never was a game left such doubts in me than Game of Thrones.

03aHere is a review in which bias fights against objectivity, and pain and disappointment join bloody battle with outstanding experiences.

The Game of Thrones video game is based on a TV series that is based on a cycle of novels. There is two basic problems here: both television and game adaptations usually leave much to be desired. (Unfortunately, it is more typical in the case of games.) [All my hope is in The Walking Dead – Garcius]

The reason is usually the haste, because the game should be released in time to serve the Main Product as promotion – the saliva-churning of the fans shouldn’t subside because it means less buyer of the fruit of the work. So, the stuff have to be made hastily and scratchily, and it will be remembered by the future generations regretfully at best, instead of being glorified. These types of games are mostly just morsels of marketing.

I must remark that I won’t be objective a bit, because the works of George R. R. Martin, and mainly the Song of Fire and Ice cycle (that is the foundation of the TV series) is very close to my heart (and partly, to be loyal to the spirit of Gamedroid) – it inspired and transformed me as both a thinking being and an author. This is why I more or less feel these books and the world of the seven kingdoms, Westeros my own, so I watched the adaptation for television very censoriously, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result. I don’t say that the series is bad, what’s more, it brought so many new fans for Westeros that it would never get by the printed version. Don’t beat about the bush; this is one of the most costly and most successful series recently, and it made a lot of people to read the classic and original stories (and I’m glad, let the series-socialized public be educated).

01aBeing a twofold adaptation, (fortunately) I didn’t wait too much from the game, …but somewhere inside it’s not really true. I think you know the feeling when something bad comes next, but you cannot drown the hope that you have only a fake prejudice. That was the case; I was almost sure about the negative experience, but I longed for merging into the cold and dark fantasy world.

I must write it down: Game of Thrones is a very bad video game, but I still can’t climb out of it. I can’t, and I don’t really want, and this is the duality that I’ve tried to put into troubled words in the beginning of this article. The game is complex, and the troubles mainly come from a whole system of bugs, errors and flaws, so nonetheless I have no palate for this kind of journalism, yet I recite given aspects: visuals, story, gameplay and summary.

Nowadays, most player look upon visuals as an important things. I would tell you to be ashamed, but damn, it is important somewhere. For everyone. If you buy a game worth 40-50 USD, fuck, it should be good and nice in the same time. Don’t you think? Well, the cover of Game of Thrones is nice enough.

Unfortunately, with this I told every compliment. Don’t misunderstand me, the game is not scrubby or ugly, but let’s say it is not the most beautiful cub in the nest. Some textures are well wrought, the main characters are mostly all right, but the landscapes are rough-and-ready, checkered and barren, and the NPCs are not just hideous, but there are only five or six of them. It is simply pitiful to imitate a mass of people with that number, and unfortunately the game gives examples of this.

This is not just about the visuals, but it makes the big picture worse that graphical realization is terribly buggy. Doors are opening through the character, you can stand or step into walls, and other mystical things happen regularly, while the player fights against the thought of “How much more interesting or useful things I could do instead of this?”

06aSo, visuals is makeshift, there is no or just very little mimics on the faces, fire is miserable, and I can list the little flaws from anywhere, but let’s make an end of it, because after the first horrifying look there comes a big sigh of relief.

The list of advantages: story. With the exception of character creation the list is really just that. The story is not just good, but truly frenetic, touching, raw, twistful and scary – it is loyal to the name of George R. R. Martin. It was not written by him, but the master was supervising the work of the authors, and in the end the story saved the game from getting only 1 point in our magical droidscore system.

The cold and bloody tale runs in two directions, and I have to tell you that both of them are as unique as the main characters themselves. The game begins on the wall, on that gigantic ice wall that makes the northern defense line of Westeros against the hordes of the wilds and the “others”. The members of the night watch are the most questionable and hardest people of the seven kingdoms, and one of our main characters, Mors won’t be different. Mors is called ‘the butcher’, and not by chance; he is an ice cold and stone hard executioner, scout and headhunter. He sounds like a simple figure, but during the story he will become more shaded, just like any character in the novels of Martin. The other part of the story is about Alester, the red robed priest coming home from exile, and after the death of his father he is taking the role of a liege lord. I don’t tell you more; there will be betrayal, sex, violence, blood and surprise abundantly. So if there is something that can help you to get through (painfully) the gamed world of Westeros, it is the story.

09aRemember, I mentioned character creation above. The story is very solid, concrete, so you can’t change the appearance or the personality of the main heroes. It may bother some players, but I had no trouble with it, I could empathize with both characters (perhaps, just because they are so different). Irrespectively of this, character creation is sufficiently complex. Each hero can choose from 3 classes (which mean six different builds in total). This seems only a few, but the characteristics are customizable by purchasing skills from points, and by (this is rare but I like it in every RPG) giving advantages and disadvantages for your character.

Gameplay has three fundamental parts; walk, talk, kill — and of course, there are such necessary bonuses as shopping, leveling, arranging the equipment, etc… So, considering gameplay, it is an entirely general third-person view adventure game.

The combat system is relatively newsy. By pressing SPACE you can slow time, so if you are not just admiring the timeless swing of the opponent, you can give action commands to the characters, which mostly means the using order of skills. So, combat is on some borderland between real-time and turn based systems, a little bit like in both episode of Dragon Age. This could be a plus point, because it works, but on the long term it becomes exceedingly repetitive and boring by always watching by health and energy bars, deciding which skills to use and watching the same finishing moves again and again. It is bad that you cannot save in a combat, furthermore, you cannot load a saved game, so if one of the important characters die in the beginning of a longer battle, you have to wait to die. Amateur…

Game of ThronesAnyway, the visuals and dynamics of fights are all right. As an extra, the game is very attentive in the matter of armors and relative weapons, so it is worth to develop your character in more than one way, because it can happen that your perfect swordsman won’t be able to perfectly cut himself out of trouble when he fights against a full-plated knight, because he should use a smashing weapon instead of a cutting one.

If we step over combat and other illnesses in the beginning, your hero can start walking. Locations are not too beautiful, but they are well built, and if not the same 6 people were seen everywhere, they would be called living. (As locations, the Wall and the black castle are really beautiful, so there are a few examples of good work.) For the fans of Dragon Age, Mass Effect and KotOR I must add that you have to converse a lot in the game, what’s more, at least half of the game’s playtime is nicely written but terribly dubbed talk and cutscenes. This is some joy and sorrow at the same time. The developers tried to enchant the mood by a few things like Mors, the dog of our northern hero. You can control the animal and track scents and find hidden items in first person view – it is very nice, but there are only a few examples, so regarding gameplay it is not a too important element. The menu is boring, the music is (gotten from the TV series) forgettable, dub is balancing somewhere between endurable and horrible, and the only pos is the concept art on the loading screens. So much about gameplay: the game is going, running. It is working, even if it is not enough unconditionally.

05All in all, if I look at it with the eyes of a game-journalist, Game of Thrones is a very bad flick, typical adaptation, it is rough-and-ready, and it looks like as if it was made only for the money. BUT! And this ‘but’ is not bigger by chance, because I feel some good intentions and a desire to entertain, at least by the story, because the authors acquitted themselves really well. Somehow it grabbed me, but it can be thanked only to the story, the two heroes and George R. R. Martin, original creator of the world of Westeros. No one else I say thanks, I laugh and cry at the same time, but it is a bitter and forced laugh. I like this game, in real, and mostly I feel sorrow because 90% of the players won’t make it to the end of this great story, because they cheapness, boredom and the numberless bugs make it sour.

I have a suggestion for the developers: First, they should say sorry in an open letter, then they should release a patch that rewrites approximately the whole game. Finally, they should make n ambitious continuance based on the world of the novels.

Until then I’m sitting here waiting. The iron throne is a little bit cold, rough and spiky, but at least it’s ours…

—Árnyék—

Game_of_Thrones_boxPublisher: Atlus, Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Cyanide

Homepage: http://www.gameofthrones-rpg.com/
Style: RPG, adaptation of a TV series

What I liked:
story

unique characters

What I didn’t like:
lowly and modest

5_3

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