Wot I Think: Game Of Thrones

By Alec Meer on June 1st, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

Please, take a seat. But only after plotting exactly how to do so over seven fat novels.

Edit – I’ve been asked to note this this piece is based on the US version of the game, as published by Atlus and available for a couple of weeks now. Despite there being no oceans in the middle of the internet, the UK version, published by Focus, is mysteriously not available until June 9.

Cyanide’s RPG based on the Game of Thrones TV show has consumed the last week of my life. But should I have allowed this song of stats and fire so much time on my screen and in my mind? We shall Cersei…

It goes on far too long, seems to reach a climactic conflict repeatedly but then pull back from it in favour of more stringing along and treats its characters as utterly disposable. In other words, it’s faithful to the source material in an intrinsic way, not merely a stylistic one. Cyanide’s Game of Thrones: The Roleplaying Game is a slow-burner with a deeply awkward opening and besieged by footballer in a pizza advert levels of voice-acting, but it builds carefully, cleverly and dramatically.

It’s made from two key ingredients: a fleshed-out and surprising narrative that weaves in and out of the events of the first Song of Ice & Fire book/season of the TV show without either disrupting them or being undermined by them, and combat that blossoms from stilted beginnings into highly tactical crowd control. Also, stealth missions starring a psychic dog. It’s grand and sprawling and silly and brutal and will make about as much sense as a sheep wearing a tie to anyone not reasonably au fait with the books or TV show, and it’s a hard sell for sure. It might also be the most fascinating mainstream game I’ve played this year.

Before I tell you quite why that is – oho, ain’t I the tease? – let me give you the broad strokes. It’s a roleplaying game (more talking than action) which runs roughly parallel to the first book/series of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. While a few established characters make an appearance and most of the others are mentioned, it is the self-contained tale of two newly-created heroes. Mors ‘Old Russell Crowe’ Westford is a bitter, brutal man of the Night’s Watch, investigating skullduggery among the lost souls who guard the towering Wall that protects Westeros from invading Wildling forces. Down South, Alester ‘Non-racist Mel Gibson’ Sarwyck is the self-exiled heir of Riverspring, now a fire-obsessed devotee of the Lord of Light returning to his castled homestead to attend his father’s funeral. More skullduggery is inevitably discovered, and ultimately it ties into the trail Mors is following.

This being Game of Thrones – and not just lip service to it – everything is connected, everyone is lying to everyone and no-one is safe from blade. Least of all the most virtuous. Given how much existent material it has to tie into yet never step on the toes of, the writing does a remarkable job of being its own, self-contained and surprisingly affecting tale while still finding some natural gaps to slide neatly into. There are certainly points where it’s near-impossible to believe that Mors and Alester’s activities, and the nature of some of their allies, could have gone entirely unobserved and unremarked upon by the books/show, but for the most part it avoids being fanfic or grotty embellishment. Its Mors and Alester’s story. There’s plenty I could spoil, but I’ll leave it at saying they’re not operating in the vacuum they first appear to be. That’s good, in that it’s satisfying to be part of the bigger picture after all, and bad in that the game will struggle to function as standalone entity for those who don’t know the show/books well. Mors and Alester might not be in Game of Thrones, but they are very much in the game of thrones. As such, you know full well what their options are.

Critically, their tale, as it blossoms and unravels and shocks and elongates far past what I’d imagined, is compelling. That it achieves this without any Tyrion or Joffrey or Ned or Hodor (Hodor!) deserves great applause. That it achieves this despite being often undermined by voice acting your mum could do a better job of deserves a standing ovation.

The guy voicing ever-angry Mors is a fascinating example of the game’s greatest triumph and greatest failing. For around the first half of the game – which means at least 15 hours unless you’re really rushing – he’s pretty bad. Not dreadful, but stilted, a bit disengaged, clearly reading straight from the script and focusing more on the growly effect than on getting the emphases right. Past a certain point, he improves exponentially. One of his climactic speeches, all fury and passion unleashed at last after decades of torment, had me almost mesmerised. True, it never becomes a performance for the ages, but it seemed so strongly to me – and here I am merely theorising – that, past a certain point, the actor twigged that was he was reading wasn’t the turgid, waffling drek he might have suspected it to be when he took the job after all. That, in fact, it truly deserved his all.

Alester, by contrast, never reaches either the lows or highs of Mors, being generally a workmanlike but likeable performance which fluffs a few dramatic moments. Meanwhile the major villain, Alester’s vengeful half-brother Valarr, seems to be having a whale of time alternating between boo-hiss-baddie and coolly charismatic deceiver, but the supporting cast, the assorted soldiers, thugs and civilians of Westeros, are too often atrocious. Voices can change entirely mid-conversation, the same handful of people recur with different faces time and again and the vast majority sound like they’re recording a video telling their parents that everything is fine and they’ve being taken good care of while their kidnapper holds a gun to their heads. Given how conversation-centric this game is, it’s so disappointing that top-notch performances weren’t one of its highest priorities.

The relationship between Mors and Alester is the lynchpin of the game, as is how they complement each other in battle. GoTRPG frankly takes too damned long to reunite these former brothers in arms, long absented from each other, and a big chunk of their alternating solo levels in the run up to it feels lonely and sometimes dull. The upside of this error is a pulsing excitement/tension when one of them finally arrives in the same place you know the other to be. Both armed with key, scandalous information that only you, the player, as yet know interconnects, they’re going to meet. But on what terms, in what state and on which sides?

My excitement at that point was immediately undercut by the huge fear that the game would resort to the bait and switch tactics so commonly employed by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. How many times has that big beardy tease taken us to the very brink of key characters meeting or reuniting, only to (often brutally) pull the rug out from under them? To its eternal credit, it realises we really do deserve this pay-off after all these long hours of lonely trudging and doing other people’s chores for them. The Getting The Gang Back Together Moment is the cavalcade of excitement, realisation and bloody vengeance it needed to be, even despite the best worst efforts of the supporting cast.

In fact, while GoTRPG is certainly over-long and saddled with flabby bits it doesn’t need, by and large it’s a capsule version of most of the Ice and Fire saga’s major beats (dragons, deserts, wights and Blackwater-esque naval battles being the notable exceptions) but with a focus and completeness that the increasingly resolution-dodging books do not by their current tome five of a planned seven. Some unnecessary wibble and boring side-quests aside, it is clear that this game was built around a carefully-planned, start-to-finish tale. One with true, not Mass Effect 3-style, multiple endings, too. In terms of narrative and tone, the Witcher games are a comparable touchstone. It’s grimy and bloody, everyone’s a rotten bastard, death lurks around every corner and politics is a far more powerful and frightening force than magic. No sex scenes here mind, though there are a couple of entirely unconvincing brothels staffed by identi-faced and -voiced non-nude robo-women.

Where GoTRPG most significantly differs from The Witcher – and indeed the vast majority of contemporary RPGs – is the combat. It’s neither real-time or turn-based, instead roughly orbiting the pause-tactics method employed by the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age. Despite being resolutely a third-person, shoulders-in-your-face affair that would appear to suggest frenzied hacky-slashy banality, it actually goes beyond, say, Dragon Age, in that pause-time orders are essentially mandatory for the full duration of every fight. Sure, once in while you can lazily survive leaving your hero(es) to lazily auto-stab a lone enemy, but for the vast majority of the time you’re outnumbered and will wind up looking like so much armoured salami within seconds unless you fight with wits as well as your blade or bow.

Here’s an example. My Alester is primarily an archer, though right at the beginning of the game I could have opted to make him a swordsman or an assassin-type instead. If he’s faced with three enemies – which tends to be the norm – by default they’ll swamp him and stab him to death really very quickly. So, I tap space, plunging the game into slow-motion (not true pause, and if you linger for too long you’ll get thumped). I use an ability which throws an immobilising powder at anyone standing in a 120 degree arc in front of me. This enables me to step back to where the attackers can’t reach me.

For my next trick, I hit space again and switch to my second weapon set, which uses blunt-tipped ‘crushing’ arrows which are 15% more effective against plate armour. I then set my arrow on fire, from a three-dose flask of flammable liquid I carry. I then, with the last of my energy bar, unleash quick shot on one enemy. Hit space to resume, he takes a bunch of damage and catches on fire. The immobilising powder wears off, and they all charge over to me again. While they do that, I’m either tapping 9 or drinking some water to recovery energy, so that by the time they’re upon me I hit space again and knee one of them (not the wounded one) in the groin. He doubles up, bleeding from places I don’t want to think about. If Mors were with me at this stage, he could take advantage of that bleeding to inflict bonus damage. He’s not alas, so instead I use my detonate ability, which causes a small explosion around the guy on fire. That’s enough to finish off him and nearly take out the guy with the bleeding balls.

At this point, I’m out of energy again, and receive a couple of very damaging stabs. One more means death. In space bar mode again, I neck some Milk of the Poppy to replenish a little health, and last long enough that there’s sufficient energy for another Immobilise. A standard, zero-energy attack takes out the injured guy, and now it’s a matter of intermittently immobilised cat and quickshotting mouse on the lone survivor.

This sequence probably took about twice as long to play as it did to read, and more of it was spent in the pause-time than in watching the bloodshed play out. It’s also just one of several ways I could have approached that fight, and those in turn are just the ways that electing to make Alester an archer offered. Throw Mors into the mix, or as is the case in the first half of the game, temporary companions whose skills and gear can’t be altered, and it becomes yet more elaborate. Your two characters’ abilities complement each other, primarily by creating stunlock or damage over time effects which their companion’s skills can make the best of, but the enemy numbers and toughness generally increases to ensure that you can’t focus on just one of your guys while leaving the other to do whatever.

True enough, the combat can be samey despite this. There isn’t an enormous range of abilities even if there are options, you’re almost exclusively up against identikit guards in light, medium or heavy armour and with either melee or ranged weapons, plus the energy bar is too limited to allow using your full box of tricks in any given single fight. But it is truly tactical and thoughtfully balanced, and for that reason it’s spared from the hollow relentlessness it might have had as a straight-up action game even in stretches where the fighting can become too routine.

Alongside that is Mors’ dog. He’s a Skinchanger, perhaps too overtly and neatly so given the mystique and discomfort with which this ability is depicted in the books/show, which means he can issue direct commands such as knock down or disarm to his hound during fights, and that he can possess it outside of them. This entails a sort of scent-following, stealth-attack mini-game that’s mandatory at times and just a means of finding bonus loot at others. Frankly, it’s not a great mini-game – it’s thoroughly inflexible about which enemies can and can’t be taken out, and the QTE required for a successful throat-rip is long and tedious, but it is welcome variety and entails a few stealth-puzzles. Especially in terms of breaking up what otherwise might feel like interminable wandering about confusingly laid-out castles bashing guards every 50 metres.

There is, sadly, quite a lot of trudging around similar-looking places full of arbitrary barriers. At a guess I’d put this down to budgetary restrictions – as I would a few bewildering moments when key events such as all-out battles happen off-screen – which is one reason that the game’s much longer than it needs to be. I clocked up over 40 hours, and that’s with a few side quests left unfinished. You could do it in much less than that, but coping with the later, quite challenging fights does necessitate being high-level, so I suspect rushing means a hard time.

As for the thorny matter of linearity, I’d say GoTRPG gets this more or less right. Quests happen in a set order and there are long stretches when you’re trapped in one area, but much of the time you can dive out to revisit shops or characters in other areas, as well as tackling one of the few but lengthy side-quests.

On top of that, there’s a steady stream of dialogue choices which have genuine bearing on later outcomes as well as immediate ones. It does tend to polarise into Talk ‘Em Round Or Take ‘Em Out, but that’s enough to afford a decent degree or roleplaying. Broadly, Alester can puppeteer as a man of peace and patience or a silver-tongued deceiver, and Mors a stoic man of duty or a merciless puritan, while both generally have the option of blood-crazed vengeance. It works well, and even despite the wobbly acting there’s a strong sense, especially in the second half of the game, of really inhabiting these characters. And, if you play it like I did, fighting to stop them yielding to their worst behaviours.

There’s much left to both praise (the loot/gear system is well balanced, avoids excess and neatly themed to the various houses and banners of Westeros) and criticise (the broad depicting of women as victims or whores; the occasional open use of magic somewhat conflicts with the book, or at least the state of the world before the arrival of the red comet) but it’s time to do what George R.R. Martin will not and conclude. He makes a cameo appearance, incidentally, but unfortunately his acting is on a par with his respect for deadlines.

In short, it’s a troubled roleplaying game but also a really interesting and strong one. Every misfire is met by a triumph of some sort, and the one thing it is not is a lazy, perfunctory cash-in. It’s an epic that doesn’t quite have the budget to be an epic, but strives its hardest to be one nonetheless. It’s much more like the kind of experience I’d hoped for from Risen 2, which sadly turned out to be a stereotype-laden exercise in hollow jolliness. This is thoughtful, heavy with a sense of consequence and impressively nasty even despite stylistic and apparent budgetary failings. After the woeful Genesis, it’s also Cyanide very much making good on the huge license they lucked into.

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103 Comments »

  1. methodology says:

    This is a Stark review for sure

    • Unaco says:

      A pun thread for the first comment? Alec will be pleased… Can’t wait Tully reads these.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      I must incest otherwise

      • AshEnke says:

        This joke was predictable, but good.
        But is it a loss/ty/win ? I couldn’t say.

    • PopeBob says:

      You’re not lion.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      It Pyked my interest.

    • man-eater chimp says:

      A pun thread at the start. Marvelous! If someone was to Robb RPS of these I would not be happy.

    • Conor says:

      You’ve unleashed a Torrhen-t of bad puns. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

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        Man Raised by Puffins says:

        Oh, hush. You’re making a Mountain out of a molehill.

        • KingKio says:

          Im not very good at these sorts of things, but I looked at my calender the other day and Winter is coming.

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            Mungrul says:

            Oh dear, is that all you could Branage? I think you’ve taken a knock to the Brienne. Don’t Dany it.

    • ostermei says:

      I must say, I love Harrenhal of these puns.

    • Unaco says:

      When I first saw this article, I could Sansa good pun thread coming.

    • Brun says:

      Martin’s books do tend to dragon a bit.

      • tyrionlayton says:

        True. While you might be tempted to quit reading, don’t baelor you’ll get aegon your face.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      This is full of Tywin!

      But please don’t let my bad puns stop you, do Tyrion.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Enough with this nonSansa.

      EDIT: Dammit I was too late. I should be p Ilyn Payne 3 instead.

      Pun threads are scArryn me anyway.

    • Aedrill says:

      Can somebody Martell me why you always have to start a pun thread? It’s Imp-ossible for you to skip one, right? On the Others hand, I can’t blame you. This Bran-d looks like it’s been created specifically for puns.

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Not sure about the graphics for the wolves. They’re pretty Dire.

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      X_kot says:

      Puns…if there is anything I cannot Stannis puns

    • lordcooper says:

      These pun threads seem to Hound RPS way too much. Seriously guys, you’re Tyrion way too Hodor

    • Kohlrabi says:

      Arya sure you want to go on with this folly?

    • McDan says:

      You know nothing RPS commentors.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I find this game Varys interesting. It seems like there is a lot of Bennis to giving it a try.

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      Coccyx says:

      Puns are fine and all, but I’m worried we’ll Hodor do it.

    • Janek says:

      I wasn’t sure about this game, but this article is beginning to Selmy.

    • JamesPatton says:

      I was a bit throne by this review, but it’s crown on me with time.

    • Skabooga says:

      It’s eyrie how quick these pun threads grow.

    • MacTheGeek says:

      Braavos. Braavos, fantastic job, each and Eyrie one of you.

    • TariqOne says:

      EDIT: Damn you Mac. Beat me to it by some few minutes. Deleted in shame.

      Meh. Something something Winterfell something.

      • TariqOne says:

        Well, glad to hear that at the very least Cyanide was Aemon high with this one.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Is it too late to enter the Frey?

      • Unaco says:

        Looks like Alec has decided to Craster eye over our handiwork.

      • The Smilingknight says:

        oh no, the guests are always welcome here.

        btw… since you wont spoil anything i cant tell how good the “story” really is, especially in relation to the Songs. So… answer me this riddle: how good is the tv show to you in terms of adaptation of original material?

        This will give me all the info i need.

    • Fearzone says:

      Puns for Tywin.

      • neonordnance says:

        apparently RPS is where comment whores go. seriously, if you don’t have anything nice to Shae, don’t Shae anything at all.

        • neonordnance says:

          the quality of these puns certainly Varys. It’s really Halfhand half. Summer good, but as for the Others, they really Plumm the depths. I mean, they really Reek.

    • DellyWelly says:

      I might Ygritte saying this, but these puns are Snow good.

      • effaraitsch says:

        Forel it’s Seaworth, I enjoy the Petyr jokes more than Rhaegal struggles. It would be a Shae not to Edmure their simple beauty.

    • Splotch says:

      I would certainly crow my boat to the wall to go for a ranger two. Maybe i could find and eastwatch some wild-lings swimming in a pond.

    • Victuz says:

      This whole thread is truly Seaworth-y.

  2. wodin says:

    I’ve seen the game ripped to bit’s in other reviews, thats interesting. Sounds like the reviewers just didn’t get it.

    • Unaco says:

      Maybe it’s just one of those divisive games… And it’s going to receive a Storm of Scores.

      • Grargh says:

        You know, Ser should not be more than one pun thread per article, and Theon above was first.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      Perhaps the wrong type of people have been playing it – it doesn’t sound like A Feast For Bros.

      • Aedrill says:

        Or maybe it’s true what they say about reviewers? Maybe they really are corrupted and will give your game high score only for Blood and Gold?

      • MrWolf says:

        This is definitely a throney game.

    • R J K says:

      Arya surprised it took one of the RPS fellows to provide a thoughtful counterpoint?

    • Droniac says:

      All of those reviews have been of the console version.

      Given the fact that the combat system for this game is similar to DA:O on consoles… that pretty much explains the bad scores right away. The combat system is the prime complaint in pretty much every review thus far, but is a non-issue on PC due to superior controls and an audience that generally appreciates tactical combat.

    • President Weasel says:

      The “Wot I Think Without Having Played It” in my head was extremely scathing of this – so the what Alec thinks after having played it is a pleasant surprise to me – the article has taken me from ‘meh’ to ‘hmm’;I’ll more than likely buy this now, although I might wait a week or two and see if the price goes down a little first.
      Sorry, Cyanide, but that’s still better than not buying it, right?

      • Zarunil says:

        I assumed this game was going to be horribly terribad, but now I’m actually interested. I find I’m usually able to enjoy games that border on being brilliant more than most people.

    • realityflaw says:

      You have to keep in mind the current Games Journalism Metagame (TM) encourages polarized review scores.

      You can’t just give all 9-10s or score aggregations will skew half your great reviews into the yellow/red, but you can’t bash on games from major publishers to save your averages (unless they’re universally bad) for fear of getting the black ball (no more review copies.)

      So you have to carefully select easy targets to pan, and I’d guess a game riding the wave of a TV show, based on a book, developed by a relative unknown, and published by a localization firm could look pretty easy from a certain perspective.

  3. smg77 says:

    I’m so confused. This is the first positive review of the game I’ve read.

    • Im_Hit says:

      I know right? Though I trust RPS more than most, at least since Game Revolution was bought and turned to poo!

  4. gschmidl says:

    Are there difficulty modes as well, and does your description of combat apply to all of them? I would prefer a Baby Mode for Babies, really.

    • Jimbo says:

      There are difficulty settings – 3 iirc. I started on hardest but dropped it to normal (which I would say was balanced about right for a change). I don’t know exactly how easy the easy setting is, but I can tell you that being able to sleepwalk through the combat will make this game mindnumbing. There are fairly lengthy stretches of fighting at times, and the story by itself isn’t strong enough to make it worthwhile if that’s the only bit you’re interested in, imo.

  5. Lucas Says says:

    Was waiting for an RPS review of this guy. Everyone else seemed to tear it to pieces, but they did so in an Alpha Protocol manner: where they say it sucks, but it’s got good ideas. That’s my favorite type of game, and I’m glad to hear it confirmed.

    • karthink says:

      Exactly what I came here to say. Flawed but with great ideas beats polished but soulless every time. (See: Kingdoms of Amalur)

    • Jimbo says:

      I’ve played through this and quite liked it, and I loved Alpha Protocol too. How much somebody likes this will depend a lot on their tolerence for rough edges (mine is quite high, apparently).

      It’s basically second-rate Witcher 1, but that’s still not too bad in my book.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Yes! As a general rule, I love games that try to reach too far and wind up falling apart a little. I’m very happy to pick up the pieces and attempt to glue them together myself. Daggerfall is my arch-example of this sort of game; it was jam-packed with interesting stuff, but buggy and somewhat unfinished.

      Buuuuut I’m not sure about this one. It still sounds too much like Dragon Age: Westeros. Drinking milk of the poppy during combat like it’s a fantasy game healing potion? C’mon, this is ASoIaF, and the combat mechanics should reflect the brutality of that world.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      All my favourite games are projects which had the potential to be masterpieces but didn’t quite make it for one reason or another. Knights of the Old Republic 2, Bloodlines, Alpha Protocol, etc. It’s strange, you’d think I’d be angry at them or something.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      I’ll add one caveat to the “flawed games with good ideas are the best” thesis, which is “and have mod support”. Virtually all my favorite games are of this kind then have been cleaned up by the community. I’m still spitting, blisteringly mad that Far Cry 2 never got that kind of attention.

  6. DotCom616 says:

    looks interesting. I’ve read a few bad reviews but they just give the game a 5/10 score because of repetitive combat and bad voice acting. both of which are flaws I’m more than willing to overlook in a RPG.

  7. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Is it only real time with slow motion pause, or is there an option for it to be a real pause?

  8. Hug_dealer says:

    i bought it instead of D3.

    it is definately rough around the edges, and it wont go down in the books as something as great as the witcher 2, but i am definately enjoying it more than i did DA2, and i would say DAO.

    Its worth the asking price if you want a real story, not just action.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    What books does this crossover with? i.e. for a newbie, how far in would I have to read to “get” the areas covered and not have them spoiled, etc? I’m assuming it’s not the whole released series?

    • Unaco says:

      To quoth Alec…

      a fleshed-out and surprising narrative that weaves in and out of the events of the first Song of Ice & Fire book/season of the TV show without either disrupting them or being undermined by them

      So, seems to be taking place during the first book. But not stepping on its toes too much. I haven’t played it, or looked at the story of it (read all the books), so don’t know whether you’d NEED to read the book first, or if this could be an introduction.

    • HothMonster says:

      Just the first book from my understanding.

  10. mckertis says:

    Just a thought i had, after having recently both watched and read Game of Thrones and Three Kingdoms (absolutely marvelous show, btw). It’s a bit weird, but in Three Kingdoms characters actively shape the world around them, whereas in Game of Thrones characters more or less just react to bad shit happening all around. None of them feel as a person of actual influence and/or power.

  11. Ranger33 says:

    I had already put this one in the “Steam sale 3 years from now” bin, but this review has me rethinking that position. I was toying with the idea of re-reading the series this summer, but this sounds like a wealth of backstabbing and lore telling and general gritty medievaleryness.

  12. Jigoku says:

    Right on the spot – for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    The most clever review, from the best videogame site around :)

  13. Kaira- says:

    I am confused now. It’s a Cyanide-game, reviewers have torn a new one for this game in every possible review I’ve seen and now you suddenly made me want to buy it. Curse ye.

  14. JamesPatton says:

    Ok, I was going to dismiss this as a cash-in but I’m now properly intrigued. I’m now going to finally watch the TV show (about time!) and then think about buying this if I like the show enough.

  15. Vander says:

    I like GoT, i don’t mind rough edges, and i like good stories, but…my money was wasted on this game.

    The voices are so ridiculous, in english and french, that they should not have bothered. Its incredibly bad.
    The combat system is boring, and too much permisive. They should have made a more unforgiving one.
    The animations are “Bethesda-eque”.
    Its not pretty. Most of the time. Some places are good, but this is a few.
    A lot of things that don’t feel right, like Mors wearing wildling armor for a good time…we call that a turncloak and is passible of death. Or the magic, like Alec said.

    And i can go on and on. The only real quality of this game is the story, but the rest of this….thing was to much to bear: i did not finish the game. I could not. The last time i did not finish a game that i buy’d was Daikatana.

    Its not “rough around the edges”, its a pile of manure sparkled with a few flakes of gold.

  16. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I suspect that this game will develop something of a cult following. Much like Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (which I love) it is ambitious and mostly well-written but has many unavoidable failures. I hope it does well enough that Cyanide can make another RPG (not necessarily ASoIaF, because I don’t think that series needs more material, even a tie-in that could easily be rendered non-canon) since they have some great ideas but clearly lack experience.

    I feel bad about having not finished this yet, but Dragon’s Dogma (which is less-flawed but still very imperfect) has consumed my life.

    Also: is Mors’ dog intentionally hideous or do the animators just not have a good grasp on what a dog looks like? DISCUSS.

    • Skabooga says:

      Indeed, it does look much hampered by not having longer hair but instead looking shaved down to the skin. I imagine it takes a good bit of resources to properly animate long hair, though.

      • realityflaw says:

        The design decisions in the provided screenshots would seem to indicate a definite lack of sophisticated soft body simulation in the engine. You’ll notice everyone is cropped/ponytailed/helmeted, and there are no capes or tapestries in evidence.

        Which isn’t surprising really, as realtime hair/cloth simulations tend to require significant investment to program/license.

  17. danieltalsky says:

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this review and thought it portrayed the game thoroughly and enjoyably. It’s obvious you were tough but fair on the game and did a great job breaking down its strengths and weaknesses without much bias. I probably won’t play the game but you gave me a chance to experience it in some way and I really appreciate it.

  18. Im_Hit says:

    Asha-t! A good review of GoTRPG. Thanks RPS. There is a Wall of bad reviews by the Others. All are piss poor and leave me wanting to visit the Jon. That reminds me, in Stark contrast and unlike Vader, I am not your father. So don’t come anywhere Daenerys.

    look what I did. It’s a speculative spoiler pun aLL rolled into one.

  19. Sarkhan Lol says:

    Agree with most of this. Game looks, plays and sounds like it’s straight off the PS2 (if the PS2 had Release-day Witcher 1 loading times,) and feels amateurish in just about every other way, but someone was really busting their nuts in the writing department. If that sells it for you, bon appetit.

  20. Captain Joyless says:

    I love it when Alec Meer gives me the “broad strokes.”

  21. njolnin says:

    I’m very glad that there’s a positive review of this game. I never read the books or watched the series, but deft writing and an in-depth codex helped the world come alive (a bit of imagination is needed for some of the limited environments). The combat takes awhile to get going, but it’s tense and tactical. It’s interesting in an RPG when a half dozen enemies are a serious threat.

    The writing is quite strong, particularly once things come together around Chapter 9. This is a game where the story conflicts feel earned, and each of the uncompromising endings are powerfully delivered. It was refreshing after the middling, out of place finale of a certain RPG not too long ago.

    A certain amount of patience is required for this, but I feel it’s worth checking out. More than anything, this game made me want to go read the books.

  22. moof says:

    “blahblahTheWitcherblah the story is interesting and good, and makes sense within the whole ASoI&F series blahblah”
    Thoughts: “YES!”
    Don’t know how much you know about the series, Alec, but prolly enough.
    And in that case, I must be excused to change my trousers if you like it.

    “Where GoTRPG most significantly differs from The Witcher – and indeed the vast majority of contemporary RPGs – is the combat. It’s neither real-time or turn-based, instead roughly orbiting the pause-tactics method employed by the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age.”

    Thoughts:
    Oh. It’s gonna be one of those games. Bioware/Bioware-clone.
    The ones I just have a vague interest in, but only play because the story (and characters for non-Bioware games) *might* be good.

    “As for the thorny matter of linearity, I’d say GoTRPG gets this more or less right. Quests happen in a set order and there are long stretches when you’re trapped in one area, but much of the time you can dive out to revisit shops or characters in other areas, as well as tackling one of the few but lengthy side-quests.”
    Thoughts:
    Sound pretty shit.
    Then again, I really liked The Witcher despite its linearity, so this might be good, I guess?

    “On top of that, there’s a steady stream of dialogue choices which have genuine bearing on later outcomes as well as immediate ones.”
    Thoughts:
    By this point I’m not optimistic enough to assume that you’ve played it through enough times to genuinely assess that the consequences for one choice is that much different for the others.

    Then again, not like it was like that in The Witcher…

    Conclusion: Might not be shit? But probably shit. (hey, i’m a pessimist, what’re you gonna do?)
    I would never have guessed that from the other write-ups here on RPS.
    My general impression from started development was “GoT RPG is being made! And it’s gonna suck! Duh!”
    This is somewhat more positive!
    I’m almost interested in looking for other reviews.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      its an average game with points i brilliance. Easily above the righting of ME3 or ME2. But the polish and overall AAA detail arent there. Personally feel like if this game had the budget of other AAA rpgs, it would easily destroy others.

      If you enjoy RPGS for more than killing and loot. This game is for you. IF you dont care about an intriguing story or character development. Dont buy it.

      This game is definately for the rpg elite group.

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    Okay. Most important question: If I haven’t read the books or watched the series yet(I’m not an idiot, I am going to wait in one big chunk first, until I don’t have the zomgwtfbbq agony of having to wait a week before the next ep), can and should I still play this, and, the other way around, should I play this if I intend to do so somewhere along the line, or is that a massive waste of not being properly embedded into the world then?
    In short: Should I bother if I haven’t, but want to see the series, maybe read a book or two(although the first page already read pretty..poser-ish, I guess)?

    • Hug_dealer says:

      it wont matter which you do first. you will go OH in different ways.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    I’m still not able to accept that Cyanide can go from Pro Cycling Manager to a fairly good action-RPG. What the hell?

  25. Miltrivd says:

    I’m 15 minutes into the game, I’m not a fan of Game of Thrones (haven’t read the books, haven’t watch the series). It has horrendous voice acting, cliché and seemingly irrelevant dialogue and dialogue choices, dated graphics -the environments look nice, but the characters models are simple and the textures lackuster- (which I wouldn’t notice if I liked the rest so far), can’t customize gamepad controls (works only with a XBOX 360 pad or you can use third party programs to fool it into thinking you have one).

    But really, what bothers me the most… You can’t move while in combat. It just baffles me, each fight I think I’m doing something wrong, or I’m missing controls but no, you just can’t move. You pick an enemy and just hack away until it’s dead, then pick another, then another, then your life goes back to full (magic?), then you can move while out of combat, then another fight in which you just pick enemies. There is no tactic positioning nor kiting, even with the skill system (which I loved seeing when making the character, as well as the rest of the options) the game is boring, slow and seems to judge the player too dumb to play a fight as a normal game would.

    This is what I see 15 minutes into the game, but I’m already bored of it. If a game needs a big franchise to have any appeal, that’s not a good game.

  26. buckchoi says:

    I just finished the game and have to repeat what I have said elsewhere. Initially I just could not get into the game. However when I came back to it I tried a new class which was much more enjoyable and was able to at least get in several hours. To be honest a few more hours in I thought it was decent but wouldn’t want to do another play through but then at some unknown point I realized it had me. Just like a good book I was sucked right in and I just wanted to find out what the next chapter had to offer. Eating up the game I finished the final chapter and I honestly had that sort of ‘wow that just happened’ feeling totally satisfied with the story just as with GRRMs novels. Then I thought ‘WHY didn’t I play/finish this sooner!?’ and starting to think of one or two diverging choices I’ll have to try. It is a slow burner, it has rough edges, if you watch the tv series but don’t read the books I think will lack more than if you have read the books. If you haven’t experienced either then wait. Just don’t set your expectations too high it is rough around the edges.
    ps – although graphics aren’t good I much prefer the realistic art style to a stylized or cartoony one (ex. DA:O > DA2) so I was able to get over it quite easily.