When a literary masterpiece tries to get game.
What Game of Thrones Got Right
- + Story is a worthy take on the world of Westeros
- + The codex of information about Westeros is a great source of information
What Game of Thrones Got Wrong
- - Loading times and graphics
- - Music dies at silly moments
- - Really unresponsive controls
- - Combat is clunky and unrefined
A Game of Thrones is currently one of, if not the, most popular series in the world right now. Thanks to a fantastic television adaptation of a fantastic series of books, people everywhere are starting to appreciate the literary wizardry of George R. R. Martin. A deep, detailed fantasy setting spanning several thousand pages, some games and now a television series was always a great recipe for a detailed RPG and it seems Cyanide Studios were keen enough to throw it all into a pot and see what happens with their Game of Thrones. A series that prides itself on twisting stories and shocking moments strong enough to make some people cry, let’s see what Cyanide can bring the plate.
Straight off the bat you’re thrown into the world of Westeros, but if you haven’t read the books (or even watched the show) don’t worry! It definitely is not necessary to play the game. There is a codex in-game that will explain all relevant details to you: locations, characters, Houses, etc. This is good, and one of the very few redeeming points of the game. Which is actually really depressing: this game had a really lengthy development time just to become a flop.
Immediately you start out in the dark, dreary north as a Ranger of the Night’s Watch: you are Mors Westford, a man with incredible skill at what he does (hint: it involves finding and killing things). The scene is set: dark moods abound, shit is about to go down - you know this, because it’s hard to see anything clearly. It has to be some sort of action scene, important to the plot of the story.
Well, it is, sort of. It’s more just that the graphics in the game are absolutely horrendous and look as if they belong in a game from 2006, not 2012. In particular, Mors’ dog is the first bit of horrible artistry that you see, but definitely not the last. It looks as if it hasn’t been animated to move properly, making any movement completely 100% awkward and stiff. I would rather have Clippy the Paperclip from Microsoft Office follow me around because at least he has soul and I can make him disappear whenever I want to.
This brings me to effects and other, flashy stuff. 20 minutes into the game you first encounter “fire”. It honest to god looks like they’ve decided “who needs quality?”, gone to Google and pasted in the first generic fire.gif they could find. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect 100% perfection in every aspect, but something more than half-a-dozen frames would be splendid. The same goes with combat skills: if I am using an AOE interrupt that stuns for just a few seconds, I don’t want you to slowly hit the floor and then all the enemies magically get stunned. Use force!
This is really just reminiscent of the whole combat engine, though. It takes way too long to get anything done. While there are a surprising amount of options you can use to build your character into the beast you want him to be, you honestly rely on just a handful of options to cheaply and quickly get the job finished. This is because you’ll spend a few minutes on a fight and then hit a loading screen, which can take a minute to load you into another loading screen. It’s enlightening.
I don’t want to talk about the negatives anymore because, frankly, you could write the whole review just focusing on them. There’s a lot. But if there was just one thing I had to sell you on about Game of Thrones, it is definitely the storyline. It starts off a bit slow and predictable (you’re a member of the Night’s Watch! Someone has tried to run away! Find them), but in all honesty by the end it is a tale worthy of being included into the Song of Ice & Fire series. That’s if you can get there.
The Final Verdict
Game of Thrones should stay as a literary masterpiece and this game should probably not be mentioned again. I don’t want to play down Cyanide Studio’s achievements, but... what were they doing for the last several years? Whilst making a video game is no mean feat and celebratory in itself, this game would have been better if it never saw the light of day. Or at least a few more years polish. You cannot build a great house without solid foundations.
By Thomas Robinson - Bio