Though the world of Game of Thrones isn't a pretty one on paper, Cyanide's adaptation is ugly for a host of other reasons. Characters and environments are grisly for a current release on an engine – Unreal Engine 3 – that has proven itself to be extraordinarily flexible. Animations are horrid, a realization that rears its head again and again during conversations in which character models overreact to the dialogue like actors forced to convey peaks of emotion in silent films. These problems are especially disappointing as you delve deeper into the experience, where Cyanide's vision for Game of Thrones becomes illuminated and you realize the studio has some fantastic ideas.
Combat in Game of Thrones, though repetitive in strategy and execution, shows remarkable promise. Like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, battles are round-based; multiple actions are assigned to a character (and any allies along for the ride) from a radial menu that slows time when opened. But there's a slightly deeper layer at play, in that many actions offer bonus damage if utilized in certain situations. For example, an attack's damage may be multiplied significantly if performed on an adversary that is stunned or knocked down. The idea falters, however, as Game of Thrones doles out abilities at an alarmingly dawdling pace. Strategies are quickly transformed into routines as you discover the very few available combinations as you progress.
Character development is smartly designed, asking players to select positive and negative attributes to ensure balance. The "Gifted" trait, for example, awards extra skill points at every level, though it requires players also choose an additional weakness – susceptibility to poison, etc. While most role-playing games use choices to alter the course of a narrative thread, choices in Game of Thrones
can impact your stats as well. Using diplomacy to solve a dispute, for example, will not only affect the story, it may also reward your character with a permanent boost to critical damage (just like real
Under the supervision of author George R.R. Martin, Cyanide developed a wholly new locale: the waterside town of Riverspring, which acts as the home for Alester Sarwyck – one of Game of Thrones
' two primary playable characters. Alester returns to his dilapidated estate after a fifteen year absence, only to find his sister about to marry their own half-brother to maintain the family's name and land, leaving Alester to seek out the Queen and put a stop to the marriage. The other primary character is Mors, a Night's Watch brother who, along with his truly, truly ugly dog, patrols the Wall – a gigantic wall of ice that keeps the "wildlings" from invading – until the Hand of the King sends him to protect a woman in hiding.A Song of Ice and Fire
fans will adore Cyanide's nods to the series' detailed fiction. Moreover, the narrative web spun in Game of Thrones
is very well crafted, steeped in the appropriate level of political intrigue and drama the novels are known for. There are plenty of legitimate twists, with a detailed plot revolving around multiple characters. Game of Thrones
offers a fantastic conversation system, which is presented as a character's thought process rather than a summary of the upcoming dialogue, but, and here's where things fall apart, the voice acting is mostly miserable.
Cyanide's vision for Game of Thrones
is ambitious, but the studio's end product has buckled under the weight of its intricate design document. Despite some ideas I've fallen in love with, it's a buggy and ugly mess of a video game. Even for its story and brushes with the franchise's fiction, it's difficult to recommend to either series vets or role-playing fans.
This review is based on review code of the Xbox 360 version of Game of Thrones, provided by Atlus.
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