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Game Of Thrones [2012 - Cyanide]

Started by Starfox, May 12, 2023, 08:56 AM

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Originally published on June 18, 2014

Well it had to be done. When a show reaps the fruits of success, you know a game is not far behind.

Game of Thrones (the video game) was developed by Cyanide, a French company, formed by ex-Ubisoft employees, which is known for several games, none of them being exactly of AAA grade. Game of Thrones is not particularly bad but it is not particularly stellar either. There are definitely a strong story (Written by the author behind Game Of Thrones) and some good gameplay ideas in there, unfortunately those good ideas don't make up for a poor execution. But first a bit of the story as this one is a bit peculiar.

The story of the game happens during the first season of the show. It begins a bit before Jon Arryn, the First Hand of the king is assassinated and ends up around the time Ned Stark is executed.

The player has two different characters to control, each with its own story, its own fighting abilities and skills. One begins the game as Mors Wesford, a ranger of the Night Watch guarding the Wall (don't expect me to explain you everything, either you already watched the show and you know what the Wall and the Night Watch are or you never watched it and there's Wikipedia with all the information you need). Mors ended up on the Wall 15 years before, following some unfortunate events at the end of the Baratheon's rebellion.  The second character the player is in control of is Alester Sarwick, the son of the Lord of Riverspring. The player take control of Alester at the moment he comes back in his town for the funeral of is father. As Mors, Alester fought during the Rebellion, on the same side and as Mors some unfortunate events that occured 15 years before pushed him to leave the Family house for exile, becoming a Priest of R'hilor.

Where things become interesting is that Mors storyline begins at present time while Alester's storyline begins 4 months earlier and during most of the game one switches between  the two characters (the switching is decided by the game) before finally Alester's storyline catch up with Mors' one and they find themselves reunited at which point the player can take control of any of them at any time to continue the story as they form a team.

Both characters have a set of fighting abilities linked to their weapon; those are called fighting stances in the game. The player may choose one of three fighting stances for each character at the beginning of the game then when reaching level 7 another additional stance may be chosen or a mastership of the stance previously chosen. Thing is, you can use the abilities of a stance only when fighting with the appropriate weapon (the Frenzy stance for example require two one-handed weapons; you can fight with a two handed sword but you won't be able to use any of your fighting abilities).

Additionally, Mors is a skinchanger which means that he can possess his dog which opens a new branch of gameplay. Mors' dog can follow scents which is very helpful in several quests in order to track people. he can find hidden loot and he's also the only character capable of moving in stealth and killing an opponent from stealth by reaping their throats. During fights, Mors dog acts as a sidekick that can be given special orders, the dog possessing his very own set of abilities which can be upgraded each time Mors levels up.

As for Alester, being a Priest of R'hilor renders him impervious to flames and allows him to use flames to fight his opponents (originally he can set his sword to flames which allows him to set his opponents in fire at which point he can use more abilities to hurt them even more). He can also detect hidden loot and mechanisms by calling the power of his god.

As I said there are good gameplay ideas, unfortunately they are badly exploited the main bad point being the combat system which is cumbersome, unpractical and frankly not enjoyable. Remember The Witcher 2 and the wheel that slow down the game to allow you to select a different ability? Same thing here except that one gets 3 wheels instead of one, one for combat abilities, one for the special power abilities and another one for potions you may drink. However while you could forget about the wheel in The Witcher 2 most of the time, in Game Of Thrones you spend much more time with the game slowed down amusing yourself with the wheels rather than effectively fight.

Second bad point: the voice acting. This is rather weird because most second roles usually do a better voice acting in this game than the main characters. Unfortunately the main characters are those you hear the most. Some of the show actors gave their voices to their character in the game but even then, you feel that game voice over is not the forte of their resume (that or the recording director was completely drunk).

Graphics are dated but OK and good enough to give a good GoT feeling. In general, the game is also much lighter than its TV counterpart in some regards (zero sex for example -- definitely not The Witcher 2).

This could have been a very good game with a good story and interesting gameplay ideas. Instead it turns out to be an average one due to a faulty execution. Too bad. If you're a fan of Game Of Thrones and like a good story linked to your favorite show then GoT is worth a look. If you prefer good gameplay mechanics and combat system I can think of several games that do those better.

Guess what it means!