Title: Game of Thrones
Format: 360, PS3, PC
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Atlus, Focus Home Entertainment
ESRB Rating: M
Making a game based off the bestselling book and television series seems like a natural step in the Game of Thrones franchise. Unfortunately the game falls short of the widely successful television and book series, but it is a good add-on to the immersive world of Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones takes place during the events of the first novel, running parallel to Robert Baratheon's reign. You play as two different protagonists, Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck. Both retain their own diverse stories, with stark differences in their execution and combat styles. The game is similar to the book in the way the story is told (through the eyes of many different characters), and dialogue is heavy-handed at every corner. While the game is rich in dialogue, making up about 70% of the overall game, your dialogue options and conversations often feel unsatisfying and drawn-out, and the way information is communicated to the player is muddled, confusing, and downright annoying. You are able to choose different dialogue options, but there is no moral system. Your choices only usually impact immediate situations, such as extracting information from a prisoner or convincing an inkeeper to lower his prices.
The graphics are, in all honesty, the worst part of the game. It is blatantly obvious that Game of Thrones has been in development for 7 (yes,SEVEN) years. The geometry of various objects and the textures of landscapes make for a laughable product. Although the story is vast in its details, you'll often have to remind yourself of "who's who" since a lot of the character models look very similar. Voice acting isn't bad, but I found myself chuckling on several occasions after listening to conversations and pairing up the puppet-like mouth movements. I was disappointed in the lack of adequate visuals considering this game was bound to take a lot of heat from die-hard fans, but at least the overall layout of the locations was done well.
The combat system is utilized through a radial menu that appears when an enemy engages your character. This radial menu contains several different types of attacks (offensive, defensive, magical, etc.) that you can choose based on your skills and type of enemy. To help visualize the combat system, think of Dragon Age: Origins mixed with World of Warcraft. Skills are leveled via a skill tree, and traits and attributes are chosen as you level up. Combining these factors and using them in battle appeared to make only a minor impact during combat, since I used only a handful of my skills and fighting techniques. Although executed fairly well, the repetitive combat system made for a dull experience. Watching my character hack and slash in a stuck position until my enemy died was unsatisfying and boring.
Game of Thrones would be hard pressed to compete against giants like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and The Witcher 2. Poor execution in combat and storytelling can be frustrating at times, but the game is still worth a try if you appreciate the MMO RPG design, and a lower price.
Final Score: 6.25