Game of Thrones Reviews

I confess I had completely forgotten that Cyanide's Game of Thrones RPG was coming out today in the US before spotting these early reviews, which unfortunately don't exactly paint a positive picture for the title set in George RR Martin's universe.

IGN awards it a 4/10 citing bugs, sub-par presentation and weak combat as reasons, but they also seem to have enjoyed the story.
Combat features a surprisingly robust amount of options that you can seemingly use to build your character with, but in execution you'll rely on little more than a handful of repetitive tactics to ensure victory. Most battles begin with hitting the L1 or R1 button to slow down the action. During these moments enemies will still slowly move keeping the intensity of the moment alive and allow you to strategically plan your attack. You do this by switching between characters and setting them to use a specific set of attacks before exiting the slow-down mode and returning to normal speed while you wait for your energy to recharge.

Victories against a large group can make you feel like a master tactician until you realize that you're only using about 3 or 4 attacks over and over again. Knock someone down, make them bleed, stab the wound, or knock someone down, make them bleed, set them on fire. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, you cannot load a save during battle, so if you've made a mistake or lost a character during an escort mission you'll need to wait until you're killed to restart.


It's a shame that most will not have the wherewithal to endure the 20 or so hours of bad game to get to the really juicy story moments. The twists that are thrown are guaranteed to surprise. Unfortunately you'll need to wade through an often ugly, buggy, and poorly delivered mess to get to them. The good parts of the game just make the ugly ones stand out even more and though the plot is there, you have to trudge through a lot of mud to get any enjoyment out of it.

GamesBeat shares largely similar sentiments, 40/100.
While the story has some fundamental problems (more on that later), the way it fits in to Martin's world is very cleverly done. Events and characters from the novels exert an influence on the game in a way that makes it feel like a part of the larger epic, but at the same time, the game carves out its own territory in the world. It's not simply retelling a chunk of the novels or TV series. The opening movements of the original story have a neat symmetry to them, too, as the adventures of two war veterans a soldier from the Night's Watch and a prodigal lord's son eventually come together and revolve around each other.


Do we display an excessive sentimentality in saying that it isn't any fun getting kicked in the teeth at every turn of the plot? Maybe, but when you look more closely at the mechanics of the whole thing, the story here isn't just depressing, it's ultimately predictable. Once you understand that Game of Thrones is just going to constantly upend the pain-bucket over your head, you settle down to expect the worst, and when the worst indeed happens (again and again), it doesn't have much impact.


Once again, if this had been something like a short spin-off novel, it might have worked. It would have ruined the reader's entire day, but it might have worked.

It also would have gotten its business done a lot quicker. Instead, the interactive version stretches all that doom and brutality over 15 or 20 hours, and the gameplay filling space in between doesn't do much to ease the pain. Somebody may one day make a fine game out of the Song of Ice and Fire. It hasn't happened yet.

Finally, RPGFan seems to have enjoyed it, although they only recommend it to fans of the literary saga, 75%.
So a game with an average story, decent audio, and broken graphics? What would bring someone to play a game like this? One thing that Cyanide did well was the game's combat. It's modeled very similarly to BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as you can queue up to three commands for each character and they play out in a quasi-turn-based system. The further you progress, the more abilities Mors and Alester get, and many of them work synergistically. Depending on if you make other characters bleed, knock them down, or set them on fire, for example, certain abilities do additional damage.


Quests and exploration are solid, and many sidequests provide worthwhile content. My favorite bit of the story came not from the main plot, but by being played for a fool by a whore and being sent on an appropriately foolish errand. Not all of the sidequests are so engaging several of them are merely fetch quests but it's positive that the game has the content there. Most areas are fairly small and straightforward, but segments with Alester are full of secrets found by tapping a button and looking for small flames. It keeps you occupied, and should you desire to explore every nook and cranny of Castle Black or King's Landing, there are plenty of doodads to find.


I would love to say that Game of Thrones is a great introduction to George R. R. Martin's world, but that simply isn't the truth. There are quite a few references to A Song of Ice and Fire and only those who are already fans of the series will get a significant amount of joy out of this title. Solid combat and interesting gameplay systems prevent it from being a licensed throwaway, but don't expect a gaming masterpiece if you're not already rooting for one of the lords of the Seven Kingdoms.