Review: Despite Compelling Story, Game of Thrones Just Isnt Worth Playing (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Technical flaws and a tiresome combat system leave this Game feeling unwinnable.

I love the Game of Thrones show.  Though I admit I still have to get around to finishing the A Song of Ice and Fire book, I’m just so intrigued by what’s happening between the first season and this current one on HBO.  I can’t get enough of it.  That said, I was a bit excited to see how Atlus’ video game adaptation would turn out, especially with direct involvement from series creator George R.R. Martin.  Well, after playing through it for hours on end, I can see where the appeal would lie for some – mainly in the story – but it’s trudging through the rest that will leave you wondering if this game was worth bothering with.

 

The game tells the story from two completely different characters.  You’ve got Mors, a gritty skinchanger who works with the devoted Night’s Watch crew, guarding over an enormous wall of ice.  The other is Alester, a red priest who’s been exiled in the East for a decade and a half, only to return home and see what it’s become.  These two don’t really have much of a connection, but each of their stories do come with quite a bit of character development and interaction, and to be quite honest, it’s about on par with what the TV show has covered – even if the familiar cast isn’t entirely present for this story.  I assume this was Martin’s work, since he’s not one to leave someone coming up short in this fable.

 

Unfortunately, Cyanide Studios really fails to match his efforts when it comes to actual gaming.  Game of Thrones falls flat in several areas, leaving you wondering if it’s worth dealing with for hours on end just to see where the story ends up.  Let’s break down each fault…

 

First off, the combat is pretty dull.  You constantly have to switch between the real world and a combat ability wheel in order to decide which attack to use next, and all this interrupting can really throw off your tempo.  What’s more, most of the chumps you’ll end up taking on succumb quicker than Sean Bean did in the series, with only the occasional one showing strength – and that’s by accident.  It’s too bad, because some of the abilities wielded by both Mors and Alester are quite impressive.  Sadly, most of the time, it’s without rewards, save for the story.

 

Then you’ve got the graphics, and I don’t know if these guys were just eager to push the game out the door with the “hot franchise” or what, but it completely pales in comparison to the likes of The Witcher 2 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  The worlds appear muddy, and worse yet, it’s laden with bugs, with glitches constantly appearing on-screen.  The character models are okay, I suppose, as are some of the lighting effects, but, honestly, this game could’ve used another year in development.  It wasn’t like the show was going away anytime soon, after all.