Published on June 14th, 2012 | by Davis Fan0
[Game Review] Game of Thrones (PS3)
Summary: Sadly, this supplements a mostly dull battle system where characters continually slash away without the need for commands. At times, players may have to jump in and issue the occasional interrupt commands, which stop an opponent’s attack, or drink a potion. Aside from that, Game of Thrones feels like a spectator game and questions the need for players to ever engage.
It’s always a tricky affair with licensed video games. Few can translate the success of the original media form to video games, resulting in a plethora of titles that accomplish little aside from filling up the bargain bin at retailers. With George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, it would seem that both fans of the series and engaging storylines in general are in for a treat. However, while that answers one key aspect of the title, it leaves many others and whether or not Game of Thrones would succumb to the curse of licenses in the dark. Rather than follow the characters of the show, the game follows Mors Westford of the Night’s Watch, a group entrusted with protecting the Wall, and a R’hllor priest by the name of Alester Sarwyck who is returning to his kingdom after deserting 15 years earlier. For fans of the TV series, it provides plenty of references to the lore that they have come to know. It never becomes too hard to follow either; with just the right amount of background information told through the story and more available through the codex, players are free to enjoy the story on a superficial or deeper level as they please. While landscapes and backgrounds in the game do a fine job, not every visual in the game succeeds. In particular, character models often reveal drab textures and unrefined faces. Cutscenes are often littered with emotionless faces and a constant flapping jaw that is saved by various headwears to mask the lack of change anywhere above the nose. Throughout the game, players will notice a score that rightfully fits the atmosphere and generally acceptable voice acting, though more than a few duds will easily ruin the atmosphere. Often throughout the game, players will be required to make decisions as expected of most modern western RPGs. The choices that players will make often prompt them to carefully ponder the decisions, best exhibited in an early segment where Alester has to carefully decide the fate of civilians as they defend themselves in the face of a crossbow and impending doom. As the game progresses and players switch back and forth between the two characters, they’ll find that, though they are free to make choices, it by no means makes the characters blank slates upon which to define their morality. The players never become Mors or Alester, but they simply steer their morality slightly in one direction or another that is still in agreement with the characters’ personalities. It may seem like a limitation at first, but it’s one that enhances the storytelling. On the gameplay front, character designs are notably modifiable. While the aesthetics remain unchanged for both characters, at the game’s onset, players will be able to customize everything from stats and weapon proficiency to character traits that must be balanced between strengths and weaknesses. The three character builds for each character feel different enough that players will alter their strategies accordingly, as an archer will hardly survive for long in melee combat. Sadly, this supplements a mostly dull battle system where characters continually slash away without the need for commands. At times, players may have to jump in and issue the occasional interrupt commands, which stop an opponent’s attack, or drink a potion. Aside from that, Game of Thrones feels like a spectator game and questions the need for players to ever engage. It’s only exacerbated by the fact that the game has no hit stun on most attacks, which hardly makes for a spectacle. The HUD itself also presents some minor issues, including a minimap that hardly helps once players get lost. It’s a shame that the game suffers from gameplay issues, because at the heart of it is an intriguing storyline coupled with deep decisions choices that will have players do more than tilt their joysticks toward a random answer. For Game of Thrones fans, they should surely be able to overlook some of the issues for a rich side story to either the books or TV series. Otherwise, the title might be a tough sell and will have a hard time keeping players engaged simply due to the problematic battle system. Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Atlus; Developer: Cyanide Studios; Players: 1 – 8; Released: May 15, 2012; ESRB: Mature; MSRP: $59.99; Official Site
Note: A retail copy was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.