While Game of Thrones, boasts some expertly crafted story beats, complete with moments that will enthrall and shock you, the monotone delivery from poorly voiced characters, constant bugs you’ll wrestle against, and muddy textures that plague the majority of the game will make most not continue through to the end.
Realistically, you’ll more likely to stop after the fifteenth loading screen appears only to trigger another dryly executed piece of this messy 30 hour long RPG. That’s a shame as the tale told about Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck has twists and turns that would utterly entertain and surprise were it not surrounded by such mediocrity on all sides.
It should be noted that you don’t need to follow the television series or have read the books to follow along. Sure it would help immensely, but sometimes character models look so different that I found myself having to research my favorites just to make sure it was the same person from the popular tv series.
That’s where this game really falls apart. Even with a 7 year development cycle it’s as though someone just didn’t care about presentation and rushed it out the door. There can be a moment or two when one of the pivotal plot points come across with some semblance of believability, but for the most part I found myself bored until the final five chapters when things actually pick up.
Without spoiling anything, I can tell you that what the writers did with the two main characters near the end of the game is a truly unique and interesting set of moments. Most will probably not get this far as you’ll spend the bulk of your time with Game of Thrones staring at what looks like a last generation title.
Some character models, specifically Mors’ dog, look absolutely awful and animations can range from stiff to ridiculous. Occasionally you’ll cue a violent cinematic kill when you defeat the last of a group of opponents, but if you never switch weapon types throughout your experience you’ll always see the one animation.
Speaking of repetitiveness, a surprising amount of the character models looked extremely similar, and during some scenes you’ll witness three of four clones of the exact same model doing something. This is more forgivable if it’s in a large group of background characters, but when it’s seen during one of the in-game scenes and the triplets are front and center, it’s just laziness on the developer’s part.
And this isn’t the only idle oversight. At times the music will cut out and simply loop back to the beginning of a song instead of flowing together, and footsteps will suddenly stop and start up again for no reason. It’s all these little nagging issues that really drain the fun from the game.
It does occasionally shine, but only during a few pivotal moments when you need to make a major choice. Combat features a surprisingly robust amount of options that you can seemingly use to build your character with, but in execution you’ll rely on little more than a handful of repetitive tactics to ensure victory.
Most battles begin with hitting the L1 or R1 button to slow down the action. During these moments enemies will still slowly move keeping the intensity of the moment alive and allow you to strategically plan your attack. You do this by switching between characters and setting them to use a specific set of attacks before exiting the slow-down mode and returning to normal speed while you wait for your energy to recharge.
Victories against a large group can make you feel like a master tactician until you realize that you’re only using about 3 or 4 attacks over and over again. Knock someone down, make them bleed, stab them, and set them alight. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, you cannot load a save during battle, so if you’ve made a mistake or lost a character during an escort mission you’ll need to wait until you have been taken out to restart.
These collected issues are emblematic of the real problem with Game of Thrones. Every piece of the product has potential, but at each step something cripples the experience. Be it the compelling story delivered with the emphasis of a seventh grader reading in front of the class, or the constant problems like muddy environmental textures, reused character models, and doors that open and clip through your body. There’s just too much that seems like it was left unfinished or quickly thrown together for the good intentions to succeed in any way.
It’s a shame that most will not have the wherewithal to endure the 20 or so hours of bad game to get to the really juicy story moments. The twists that are thrown are guaranteed to surprise. Unfortunately you’ll need to wade through an often ugly, buggy, and poorly delivered mess to get to them. The good parts of the game just make the ugly ones stand out even more and though the plot is there, you have to trudge through a lot of mud to get any enjoyment out of it.
Overall, the game is a huge disappointment for the many who had patiently awaited its release.