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Customer Review

on 10 June 2012
Oh dear. This is a prime example of how not to make a roleplaying game. To most people a good roleplaying game involves freedom and choice, it allows you to design a character and play them the way you want to play them in order to make your own story. The Game of Thrones fails in every way to do this, forcing you instead to play out a predetermined plot which only allows you to sample a very small part of the world of Westeros.

As I understand it the games plot was written by George R R Martin who wrote the original Game of Thrones novels. The game therefore is very true to the original story and you get to interact with events and characters from the first novel. However, it does mean that the game designers have felt restricted to following Mr Martin's plot at the expense of any input on your part. While you are told that your characters actions and events will affect the plot most of the major decisions are taken for you and at best you get a few dialogue choices which seem to have very minor consequences.

The game is strongly influenced by the television series of Game of Thrones, using both its imagery and its music to provoke a very familiar feel to the environment. Actors from the series have been used for some of the voice acting and their facial features have been used for the main characters in the story. However, there are the occasional bit part characters who are voiced by much less talented voice actors who read their lines in a very wooden and artificial sounding manner.

The graphics in the game are poor to average at best. At no point do you find yourself awed by the sights and sounds of Westeros. One town looks pretty much the same as another. Yet despite this the game has irritatingly long transition times and there are often long pauses while you wait for the game to catch up. There are also pauses and hiccups in the animation, and occasionally you find yourself passing through doors and the like as the graphics overlap. It all looks very amateurish when compared with games like Dragon Age or Oblivion.

In the game you switch between two ready made characters, both of whom are essentially warriors. You can choose a fighting style during character creation but this is really only a choice of an offensive or defensive approach as certain skills only work with particular weapons and armour. You can choose to play as an archer, but often when you are on your own you don't get the chance to use ranged weapons before someone is pounding your head in with a sword. For some bizarre reason ranged weapon skills are divided by the type of arrow they use ( cutting or piercing ) rather than the weapon that fires them ( bows or crossbows ). You can alter the basic attribute scores for both characters, although all of them relate to combat rather than socialisation or other skills, so the choice is already pretty much determined by your choice of fighting style. There are no options to alter your characters appearance or have any other influence on the character you play.

A lot of the game consists of following the directions you are given, going from point to point as predetermined by the plot. There is an awful lot of dialogue in the game, and for every ten minutes of listening to an NPC talk you might get to make one small choice in how you reply. For dedicated fans of the books this might be more interesting but for others the dialogue is far too lenghty and overdone. I found myself switching off mentally half way through and then missing some important point. I was also amused by the poor graphics during conversation with all the character constantly adopting an "I'm a little teapot" stance, with one hand on their hip. I've seen poor animation during dialogue in games before but this is laughably bad.

Exploration is extremely limited, as there are few locations on the world map you can visit, and then only if the plot allows you to go there. On smaller maps like towns there are artificial barriers like carts or guards which block your way forcing you to go where the game wants you to. Nor did I feel entirely inclined to explore much. While the books detail a varied and interesting world, Westeros in this game feels bland and artificial. NPC's repeat their lines over and over, and merchants sell only the usual array of RPG equipment. There is I think more magic in this game than is detailed in the novels but unfortunately the limited magic still does not provide enough diversity to make it interesting while at the same time it clashes with what you have read in the books.

Combat is handled by a system of commands where you can pause the game to issue special moves to your own character and those fighting by your side. At first this seemed like a great idea to me but the effects of the special moves you choose are poorly animated, if at all. Numbers and words denoting status flash up but the actual fighting appears slow and unrealistic. When you choose a special move its hard to see it doing anything. When you compare this to the fast, dynamic combat of a game like Dragon Age 2 its almost painful to watch. It is also worth noting that you are given little if any advice on choosing your combat styles and skills so if you get this wrong or match it up with the wrong weapons and armour you will struggle in combat. There is no way to change these decisions later on, and much of the combat is unavoidable, being predetermined by the plot.

Altogether then this game is a real let down. From what I hear it was not rushed together as some movie spin off games are, but was carefully developed to capture the style of the novels. As such the strongest element is clearly the story and the chance to play a part in the Game of Thrones, as written by the original author. However as a PS3 generation RPG it is extremely weak with a number of unforgiveable flaws. When compared with other RPG's on the same console it shows what a mess this game is. If you are Game of Thrones obsessed you may still get something from this, enjoying the authenticity of it if nothing else. However for other RPG fans I would advise against this game when there are so many better alternatives available.
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Product Details

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
£34.00 - £37.99