Game of Thrones Review (PS3)

June 1, 2012Written by Dan Oravasaari

In a world set with almost everything that has become wanted in a Fantasy world, Game of Thrones has become one of the premiere series to enter the market in recent years. Having dragons, zombies, swords, beautiful women, magic, and sex; it is not difficult to understand why such a series has made so many headlines over the last few years. Starting out as a book series by George R.R. Martin, then later being developed into a hit HBO TV series, Game of Thrones has finally been brought into the gaming market. Sadly, this time around none of the things listed that gave the series fame has been brought with it, instead we are left with a tale of deceit that parallels the main story arc.

Set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Game of Thrones stars two protagonists whose stories alternate and intertwine. The first and more interesting of the two, is Mors, a veteran ranger of the Nights Watch, who must weed out a political enemy before they use the Watch for their own gain. Assisted with his pet dog, Mors’ tale is one that shows the true ramifications of all this high level treachery, as he must enter the black to save those he loves the most. Alternately, you are cast as Alester Sarwick, a man who left his family’s land to become a man of the cloth. Yet, when word reaches him of his father’s untimely death, he returns home to find his family’s kingdom in turmoil. Not being a warrior by trade, Alester must seek out the truth of his father’s death and bring back his family’s honor, with the help of his god R’hllor.

The story that unfolds as you make your way through Game of Thrones, is very similar to what you have come to expect from the franchise. People will die, and you will be forced to make decisions that have significant effects on both characters’ story. Utilizing a similar story mechanic as Mass Effect, you are able to side with characters, and guide your character’s future. With multiple endings and a deep story, Game of Thrones should have been a shining example of how existing franchises can carry over to the gaming world flawlessly. Sadly, the final product that we are left with shows that unlike movies, video games require more than a strong story and decent cast.

Graphically, Game of Thrones seems to be able to keep up with a number of current titles, yet the illusion it creates falls apart once you see the game in motion. The most apparent failure comes from the characters facial animations, as the lip-syncing is on par with badly dubbed kung-fu movies. While the voice work is palatable parts, and deafening in others, the lack of polish on cut scenes does nothing but tarnish the visuals over all. As does the games issues with its over use of story, as game play becomes little more than going from point A to point B, in hopes of continuing the next scene. It is obvious that the mechanics behind the story are just a vehicle to drive the it along. As the game is filled with  bad frame rates, pop ins, sound problems, collision detection problems, recycled characters and environments. You are left with a reminder that the development of this product started as a story, and the developers didn’t know how to actually create an interactive experience out of it. Something that instead of disproving the rule that all adaptions turned into video games are soulless forms of merchandising, it becomes a flagship to the point.

Besides the intricate web of politics that is spun over the 30+ hours in Game of Thrones, you will be faced with a number of other challenges. The biggest challenge as stated earlier, is simply trying to steer this game away from its inclination to drive itself into a wall. Using an active time battle similar to Final Fantasy XIII, you set your selected character to attack in the designated manner chosen. As such, the character will unleash his set of given commands, until he is free. At that time, he falls under the control of the AI, which may or may not decide to attack back. During this mash-up of character swapping and menu jumping, if you take too long and your comrades opponent changes, there is a chance it will auto-target a random opponent on the map.  Which has caused my AI-fueled ally to abandon my fight, and kamikaze a whole new set of armored foes. Such deficiencies in combat create a frustrating, and highly unsatisfying experience that break any sense of connection you may have dragged out of the endless cut scenes.

Game of Thrones is an experience that could have been epic—the story is something truly unique—and really could have set itself as a piece of lore for the already deep legend. Yet, with its continuous set of problems and repetitive nature, it is not a product I could recommend to anyone.  As even the most devout Game of Thrones fan will have some problems with the mechanics, and lack of actual entertainment—not to mention the number of serious glitches—undermine what could have been one of the best video games adapted from a TV Show.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Unique and interesting story

– Atrocious combat mechanics

– Numerous glitches hinder experience

3.5 out of 10