The amount of successful TV Series/Movie to videogame ports can be counted on one hand, if we’re being honest even that can be a struggle. It is needless to say then that Cyanide, the Developers behind such titles as the Blood Bowl remake and more notably Cycle Manager, had a massive task ahead of them taking on a game who’s TV counterpart has reached a staggering 9.4/10 over at IMDB.
The game runs alongside the novel "A Game of Thrones", with you being able to control two different characters throughout the story. First, you’ll meet with Mors Westford, a legendary ranger from the fabled Night’s Watch. Their task has been to protect the Wall from threats beyond it and to defend the Seven Kingdoms, whilst sporting their coat of arms, an amorphous black shield, bearing no logo. The second character is Alester Sarwyck, a priest of R’hllor, who has returned home after 15 years due to the untimely death of his father. As a priest of R’hllor, also known as the Red Priests due to their red tunics, Alester worships R’hllor the God of Light, Heat & Life. Alester finds himself embroiled in politics upon his return to Westeros as he sees his father’s once great Kingdom having turned into but a shadow of its former self.
Game of Thrones is an RPG through and through, although you’ll quickly find the battles and the dialogue quite laborious. Whilst speaking to other characters throughout the game, Game of Thrones gives you the impression, via dialogue wheels, that your choices make a difference. Yet after a few sequences you will begin to feel that you do in fact have very little bearing on what happens within the game.
The battles in the game have you clicking your left bumper and then selecting up to four attacks (these can be defensive and offensive). Your choices will be limited by your energy and although you can spend a good while unlocking various skills and attacks, more often than not you’ll find yourself using the same attack time and again, simply because it’s easier than trying to experiment. The game will give you bonuses for using certain weapons against certain armour, but these bonuses are both meagre and even without them you will quite easily dispatch your enemies rendering them useless.
The game also severely lacks in additional quests, when having such a thing would have added so much more longevity to the game and also take the game off its pre-set train tracks that make it as linear as a ruler’s edge.
It’s not all bad, character customisation is one thing this game does quite well. When you start off on your two quests you have to select traits, skills, strengths and weaknesses, which will help mould Mors and Alester to fit your pre-determined image. You can even select whether you want Mors or Alester to fight with a long sword and shield, or go all Gannicus and wield two weapons, ditching your protectiveness for manoeuvrability.
You can also collect and trade items, this includes armour, viles (such as incendiary grenades) and wielded weapons. Although upon changing your character you’ll find one of those little gripes that generally ruins what is, much like the novel, a gripping story line. If you change say for example your helmet, your character will sport said helmet whilst walking around, alas when you come across someone and enter dialogue, your head is no longer protected by a helmet, exit said dialogue and we’re back to normal. This isn’t the end of the world but it takes you away from an enthralling story.
Sadly Cyanides ability to destroy the game’s immersive plot is once again seen when watching characters speak during dialogue. It is like watching a couple of cheaply made robots clunking through an old film. Considering the game is going up against the likes of The Witcher 2, with it’s flawless graphics and seamless cutaways, Cyanide have sold themselves short by producing something that wouldn’t have been even close to good a decade ago, let alone in 2012. Poor cut-aways don’t stop with the dialogue, every aspect of this game’s graphics and animation is very sub-par.
Characters jolt, they don’t walk smoothly and when you see the same ‘shield into the opponents throat’ from every one of your comrades it doesn’t half start getting repetitive. The textures are also very poor, shadows and highlights on armour and faces will change positions and even their colours change. Character faces look good, but their accessories are painful to look at, it looks like everything has been coloured with square pixels that measure 600px x 600px. The surroundings can look nice, but again the same issues arise as seen with the characters, textures that change colour and go from covering you with shade to basking in sunlight, in the blink of an eye.
It’s not nice to compare, but when you’ve got a title like The Witcher 2, that does all of the above superbly, it does degrade your experience when playing Game of Thrones. Sadly when it comes to replayability the game could only ever find itself back in a console after a full play through if it’s owner was an avid fan of the novels and TV shows, as those who do not know Game of Thrones would struggle to find any reason to play it again and again, heck they’ll even struggle to continue playing it after the first few chapters.
Ultimately, Cyanide seems to have released a poor excuse for a TV show to Videogame port with Game of Thrones. It’s aimed at fans of the show, and you’ll soon realise that Cyanide have used little imagination when creating this title, no doubt knowing that fans will lap this tripe up simply for having the title ‘Game of Thrones’ on the front cover. The customisation adds a little enjoyment to the title, along with a storyline which can at times be very immersive. Sadly you’ll have to trawl and fight your way past the countless flaws to get to this amazing plot. It’s horrible to look at, repetitive and plain awful to play. Even at the best of times it will offer you little in the way of enjoyment. Don’t taint the TV show by buying Game of Thrones the videogame.