Game of Thrones – Game of Death

Game of Thrones is an RPG made by Cyanide Studio and was released back in 2012 to not much fanfare. At first glance, it looks like a typical low-budget title cashing in on something popular outside of gaming, and by the visuals it clearly is – budget that is. Even so, this game after a thorough play-through is absolutely fantastic, a true hidden gem in my opinion. It’s based on the TV-series with the same name, and does interact with it in minor ways – which adds to the enjoyment if you followed the show back in the day.

You get to play as the two protagonists, Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck. Both with their own background, interests and agenda. At first, you play as them separated from each other, taking turns going from chapter to chapter, but eventually their stories intertwines in dramatic ways.

Mors is a man that have spent the last 15 years of his life at the wall, protecting the lands from wildlings and the others. Both respected and feared by the locals and his brothers in black, he is a man of great stature and wisdom. But one thing lead to another, and eventually your adventure takes you away from the cold in the north.

Alester, a nobleman coming back from exile, returns to a land filled with turmoil after his father dead. A man for long seen as having abandoned his duty to the house of Sarwyck, now forced to rule and clear his family name. Many are happy with him being back, but there are also those that view him as a traitor.

Alester & Mors

This is the excellent setup and main characters for this great RPG adventure that will take you all over Westeros. The narrative is filled of twists and turns, with realistically written people fitting the theme the game is set in. The storyline is great, and when I say it’s great, I mean, it has the quality of the books, and the TV-show (at least from the first couple of seasons). Usually when I say a story is good, I mean it’s entertaining and works for the medium. I’m not expecting Nobel Prize winning literature, I’m expecting something that fits the theme of the game, something plausible, something that make sense, and it has to make me eager to continue playing. Game of Thrones, though – it knocks it out of the park! Besides qualifying for game-writing, it’s superbly well-written, with excellent characters with a narrative that leaves nothing to chance. The game is fairly long too, but the writing still keeps the same caliber throughout, which is impressive. The twists aren’t cheap either, they actually make sense in the story – so there is no bullshit in it just to “subvert your expectations” that is so popular nowadays.

I wish I could talk more of the story, but if I continue I’m going to spoil something, which I don’t want to do. You, dear reader, just have to trust me here, you won’t be disappointing if you have any interest in Game of Thrones, and RPGs in general. The only thing that saddens me is that this magnificent story never got its chance it deserved.

242, that’s equivalent of a kneecap crushed right?

The game in itself is pretty linear, with quest-hubs where you get to talk to folks, and do side-quests. Very classic RPG design in the form of Dragon Age: Origins, and Knights of the Old Republic, which to me is the preferable way instead of having a bloated open world setting. That is not all that is similar to those two games. When you are in combat you order your main character, and eventual followers to attack enemies with 3 action slots you can queue up however you want. Like for an example; drink potion, use standard attack or use special talent. Some talents have great synergies with each other, so it’s fun to combine and try out different combos for that ultimate take-down. When I started to play, I went with normal difficulty mode, but quickly changed to the hardest setting. It was a bit on the easy side at first, but hard difficulty (Lord) felt perfect. Some fights are really tough, and had me reloading a couple of times before succeeding. It never got frustrating for me personally since I really enjoyed the game, and the combat, while not being extravagant, is fun.

And being an RPG, you gain experience and level up. There are many different classes too to pick from, so your main characters are not set in stone talent-wise. There is a talent tree to unlock, and each class has a corresponding best approach to weapons and armor. You are free to pick and choose, but I would recommend sticking with what you picked in the beginning, otherwise I think the game can get pretty hard with you falling after the difficulty curve.

The famous throne

The visuals might not be the best, but I think the studio made great use of the Unreal 3 engine. Some areas look a bit drab, but other locations look great, full of colors. Characters, weapons and armor I also think look good, perhaps not from a technical viewpoint viewed with a modern eye, but personally, I find it all very charming – a throwback to mid 2000s and later. Music is very Game of Thrones, with its TV-theme in the menu. It works and fits the setting, even if random tracks gets stuck in weird loops at times, making the music a minor annoyance at places. General sounds seems fine, but what stands out are the voice acting. While some NCPs have lower quality voice work, all the main characters have excellent voice acting, especially Mors. There are also some celebrities returning to voice their character from the show, which is a plus.

In general the presentation is satisfactory, the gameplay is engaging, but what makes it all stand out as said above is the wonderfully written story. Game of Thrones has become one of my favorite RPGs since playing it. I thought the game would be entertaining, but I didn’t think it would be of this quality. Especially not for what I paid for it, since I got it for only 2-3 euros a few years ago. The reason I played it now was that I was looking for a nice RPG to play, noticed it in my Steam library, thinking I would give it a go, and I’m really glad I did! Maybe you are like me, maybe you also have this game in your library, collected from some random gaming bundle, and if you do, I highly recommend giving it a chance. Or just buy it straight up, because it’s easily worth the 15 bucks it cost nowadays.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas


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