Tyranny Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Paradox Interactive
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:2016-11-10
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Another major component of the campaign is, of course, combat.  There aren't any dragons or monsters in the game, so you only battle against humans, beastmen (think werewolves), and bane (energy creatures).  That's not a lot of variety, even for a short campaign, and the frequent trash fights suffer for it, since one fight is much like another.  Luckily, there are a handful of exciting boss fights, but you mostly have to wait until the end of the campaign to get to them.

The battles also suffer from being pretty easy.  I played through Tyranny twice.  The first time I used the default difficulty, and it was such a cakewalk that I never had to use a healing potion, and I rarely had to rest.  The second time I moved up to the hard setting, and while it started out challenging, that stopped being the case by the halfway point in the game.  I don't think Obsidian intends for Tyranny to be this easy, so I expect this is something that will get patched eventually.

The last component of the campaign is exploration.  There are about 20 major areas in the game, including towns, forests, rebel strongholds, and ancient ruins.  The areas look distinctive (especially those where edicts are still active), and you often have to deal with battles, traps, or the occasional puzzle.  There are also several environmental interactions (where you might climb a wall or push a rock) but they are much simpler than the ones from Pillars of Eternity.

At one point it seemed like every RPG included an arena sequence.  Now it's fortresses, and Tyranny is no exception.  While exploring the world, you gain access to five spires, and they combine to become your base of operations.  You can build something at each spire (including a library and a forge), and you can also hire shopkeepers and trainers to populate them.  The spires are easy to manage, and they're integrated into the campaign, so they work out pretty well, but enough is enough already.  Some developer out there needs to come up with the Next Big Thing.  Fortresses have been done to death.

Technical Issues

I spent about 60 hours playing Tyranny twice.  The game didn't crash on me even once during that time, and I didn't notice any spells or skills not working correctly.  The closest thing I encountered to a bug was at one point when I decided to change my companions.  I was level 16 at the time, and somehow the companions I hadn't been using jumped up to level 20 when I added them to my party.  That's probably an abusable bug, but since I was just changing companions briefly to get an achievement, it didn't affect my game at all.  Other than that, the most broken thing about the game seems to be stealth mode, which is so unbelievably slow that I couldn't make myself use it.

Conclusion

"Interesting" is one of my go-to adjectives.  I'd always rather play a game -- even a bad game -- that tries something new rather than a game that just copies the most successful parts of a successful franchise.  Those try-something-new games, like Tyranny, are interesting to me, and Obsidian is an interesting developer.

I didn't like everything about Tyranny.  It feels incomplete, and surprisingly enough I wasn't wild about its writing, but it's definitely unique.  It gives you a chance to play a different kind of character in a different kind of campaign, and it has all sorts of character building options and replay value.  So it's a worthwhile game to try out, just perhaps once its price drops down enough to match the amount of content it has.