I’ve always been told that video games based off a movie or T.V. show should be avoided at all costs, and aside from one brief detour with a Harry Potter game, I’ve adhered to that adage. While the ‘Game of Thrones’ game is based more on the book, it regrettably has the same fate as the rest of these infamous games.
GoT is a single player RPG in which you are one of two main characters: Mors Westford or Alester Sarwyck. Mors is a Night’s Watch brother on a mission, and Alester returns to his home after a long absence to find family business that needs tending to. The story itself is interesting. The game designers really make you feel like a part of the story, as if you’re tucked up in some part of the mythical world that we just haven’t heard of yet. Even in the non-combat sections, you have different reaction and response choices that can ultimately affect how the story continues. A few characters from the series show up, but they’re more in the periphery. It is clear that the game was crafted by a team that really enjoys the world that George R.R. Martin has created.
In the character building process you are able to choose different strengths and weaknesses as well as fighting stances. I tend to make my characters as aggressive as possible, but this game forces you to balance out the strengths you pick with similarly ranked weaknesses. For example, if you choose leadership as a strength, you must counteract with something like asthma or allergies, which sounds silly but affects your energy levels and how well you recover in between battles.
During attacks you have the ability to slow time and pick the strikes you will put into action. The slowing of time in itself looks pretty cool. The fight still goes on, just at a super slow speed, and I admit to doing it a few times just so I could pretend I was in the Medieval Matrix. At this point you choose the actions you will queue up against your opponent, as well as the actions some of your fellow fighters will perform.
Now for the issues. While the slow-mo is fun to look at, the actual fighting isn’t very thrilling since you’re continually setting up the same few actions over and over. Stab…stab…keep stabbing…The graphics are clunky and glitchy at times. The game is pretty dark, and not just in content. As much as I fiddled with the settings on the console and my T.V., there were times (usually in a hallway or stairwell) when I could have sworn we’d had a sudden, silent power outage and I was looking at nothing. That may have been user error. Though the story is interesting, there is also plenty of non-combat downtime, during which I fantasized about a Wii game that would just be slapping Joffrey repeatedly with different costumes and scenarios.
Ultimately, the game feels strong on story but weak on graphics and overall presentation. I would recommend passing on this one unless you’re one of those die-hard fans who needs to have everything that was produced for a book or show you love. Hey, I’m not blaming you. There are things I own just because I needed to complete “the set.” I was provided a PS3 game that also had the accompanying art book featuring sketches and concept art. The book is quite nice, though I don’t know if it justifies buying the game.
I hope that if there’s another game, the mechanics and design flaws can be worked out. The story is there, it just needs a better vessel.
Available on PS3, PC, or XBox 360