We’ve already devoured the books and the HBO show, so what could be better than the chance to step into the world of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy smash hit?
Game of Thrones the game is no cash-in either. Work on it predates the TV show, which means it’s an RPG designed with a niche fantasy audience in mind rather than the potential mega-hit it has since become.
Rather than guiding a single character, the game ping-pongs players between Mors Westford of The Night’s Watch and Alester Sarwyck, the elder son of the House of Sarwyck, through their concurrent stories.
As with the novels and TV series it’s the storytelling that enchants. The odd clumsy line aside the game’s tale of fantasy power struggles is up there with the quality we’ve come to expect from Martin, not to mention a refreshing break from the He-Man strutting of most RPGs. Unfortunately that’s pretty much where the good news begins and ends.
In the audio-visual department this is an unattractive mess. There are dogs as square as K-9, arthritic animations, short audio clips on constant repeat and BioWare-influenced conversation scenes in which characters jerk around as if Borat’s doing the editing.
Then there’s the combat, which eschews action in favour of phased actions not unlike those in World of Warcraft, and that results in slow, ponderous fights devoid of visual flair and any meaningful sense of thrill. It’s just as well that conversation is more important than swordplay.
In a great many ways Game of Thrones is pretty terrible then, but the story is undoubtedly compelling enough to encourage some players to overlook its bulging catalogue of flaws.
Series devotees who are willing to embrace it as an interactive story will find just enough here to see it through, but there’s no denying that this is still a rather poor relation to the excellent novels and TV shows.