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Review

Game of Thrones Review

  • First Released
    released
  • Reviewed May 16, 2012
  • X360

An intriguing story and well-developed characters are enough to cover for the weaker aspects of Game of Thrones.

The appeal of a novel is readily apparent. Fascinating characters and intricate plots suck you into elaborate worlds, and you furiously flip pages to find out what happens next. But video games are more complex than that. Stories are just one aspect of the total package, and the balance of the various elements determines how effective the adventure is at getting you invested. In Game of Thrones, the story deftly carries the mantle of the book (or the show, for that matter) it's based on, and the addition of moral choices gives impressive flexibility in how events play out. However, the other aspects struggle to keep up their end of the bargain. Confined exploration and entertaining bouts of shallow combat are adequate enough, but are hardly a draw on their own. Thankfully, Game of Thrones pushes its story to the forefront, creating a flawed though memorable addition to the Song of Ice and Fire universe.

Game of Thrones doesn't retell the story of the novel. Rather, the game's story travels a parallel path to the cataclysmic events that rocked a kingdom. You view Westeros through the eyes of two separate characters created just for this adventure, Alester Sarwyck and Mors Westford. Alester returns to his home of Riverspring after spending the last 15 years in self-imposed exile. Merely walking through the gate should, by rights, make him the ruler given that his lord father recently passed, but his conniving bastard brother, Valaar, stands between him and his rightful seat of power. Internal conflicts flare up in Alester as he tries to wrestle power away from Valaar without succumbing to the dirty influences whispering in his ears.

Way up in the north, Mors calls the Wall home and the Night's Watch his family. Trapped in his own exile after he disobeyed orders during the war that placed Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne, Mors mercilessly slays wildlings and deserters to stay true to the sacred oath he swore. When a letter arrives from the Hand of the King commanding him to protect a mysterious woman, he travels to southern lands to keep her safe.

Loosing an arrow at point blank range is how to kill with style.

Both Mors and Alester are strong figures that have a clear idea of the difference between right and wrong. Alester puts his family and townsfolk above all else. He would rather be humiliated at the feet of Queen Cersei than suffer the wrath of her displeasure. The greater good is a burning flame in the back of his mind, always reminding him that things are better for everyone if he doesn't let his pride get in the way. Mors couldn't be more different. He acts with his rigid view of morality in mind at all times. To kneel at the feet of evil is to align yourself with wickedness, so he takes the punishment for his choices without wavering in the slightest.

Dialogue choices determine how others react to your characters. If you approach a prostitute in Mole's Town with insults on your lips and violence in your heart, she may run away instead of offering you the valuable information you require. But if you appear to be a pushover, a clever villager might talk himself out of punishment for a murder he committed. There's no morality judge to keep you in line. You respond in conversations with whatever you most want to say and bear the consequences of your actions. Regardless of what card you play, the world changes slightly as you get deeper into the story. Alliances are frequently forged and destroyed, so choose carefully. There are five different endings based on what you do in the last chapter, but the bigger changes occur throughout the adventure as characters are either present or absent based on how you treated them earlier.

You can just see her scheming!

For the most part, Game of Thrones stays true to the world George R. R. Martin created. A web of intrigue stretches from the crown in the Red Keep all the way north to the Wall. Black Brothers fight wildlings, Gold Cloaks keep peace based on the Lannisters' whims, and everyone mutters quietly of the Others who reside where snow flourishes. Occasional missteps feel out of place for those intimately familiar with the source material, but aren't egregious enough to take you out of the experience. For instance, as in most role-playing games, you have a healthy assortment of armor to clothe your characters in. However, draping a Lannister cloak over Alester's shoulders is just strange, and there's no reason Strong Belwas' gauntlets should be in a Westeros dungeon. Plus, why are street vendors selling wild fire? But such discrepancies are nitpicky considering how true to the books most of this game is.

The only time the story stumbles is in the dialogue. Certain characters are dangerously close to being gruff caricatures rather than fully realized people, existing only as easy straw men to tear down. And though the main cast is well acted, supporting characters are woefully inconsistent. Thankfully, the dialogue is good most of the time. And the villains are just as fleshed out as the heroes. Valaar is particularly well crafted. A bastard who was spat on for most of his life, Valaar has a thirst for power that's so overwhelming that he performs any act, no matter how insidious, to curry favor with the queen. Violence bubbles under the surface of every conversation with him, making you yearn for the moment when you can thrust your sword through his throat.

Story makes up the vast majority of this adventure. This is a good thing because the elements surrounding the plot can't reach the lofty heights of the story. Combat thrusts so many ideas at you early on that it's initially overwhelming. Attributes and percentages flood the screen, and though a tutorial spells out what everything means, there are so many things to keep track of that you fear you're missing something important. Which sword should you use against heavy armor? What does it mean when an enemy starts bleeding? These answers become second nature in time, and it's when everything clicks that it becomes apparent just how simple the combat system really is.

Action takes place in real time. To select an attack, you bring up a radial menu that slows everything down to a crawl but doesn't pause the action. This is a smart system because it keeps you moving and attacking while still giving you just enough time to plan out your line of attack. Your repertoire is loaded with all manner of different moves. Buffs, defensive feints, offensive strikes, potions, and an assortment of other abilities populate your move menu, and figuring out the best time for each of these requires some thought. But the most important of your tools is the interrupt attack. This freezes your enemies in place, making them vulnerable to any offensive volley. Once you unlock a couple of attacks that interrupt, you can hack away at your foes with little chance of failure. Although this doesn't always work in large groups, it's so effective in the majority of battles that you can cheese your way to victory without worrying about the complex system that lies underneath.

Despite its exploitable nature, combat still manages to be fun. This is in part because it's entertaining to pick on enemies who are weaker than you. Choose the archer class, and you can pepper your enemies with arrows from one foot away while they struggle to stand up. Silly? You bet. A little levity can go a long way, even in Westeros. From a more practical standpoint, each character has a special ability that is empowering to use. Alester is a red priest who has an unhealthy obsession with fire. Set your foes alight, and watch them run around like burning chickens, ensuring that all of their buddies enter the same hellish torment. Mors has an even better trick. He's a warg, so he can inhabit the body of his lovable dog. Scare attackers with your mighty bark, or lunge at their throats with your chopping teeth. You can control your dog outside of combat as well, to track the scent of a fleeing coward or squeeze through a hole in the wall, and this adds some diversity to the exploration.

Even with this dog trick, exploring Westeros isn't that exciting. A half dozen or so locations dot the map, and you fast travel wherever the story tells you to. Once you're in these locales, there's plenty of room to stretch your legs, but the mighty continent feels smaller when you're not walking the land. At least once you arrive at your destination there are interesting side quests to take part in. The fetch quests that make up many role-playing games are absent here, replaced by tasks that require you to make use of your intuition instead. For instance, you might have to preside over a group of suspected felons. Once you listen to their side of the story, you decide whether to set them free or send them to jail, and there's nothing to tell you if your decision was just. Having such power in your hands is a great feeling, so these side missions are a welcome change of pace.

The best conversations take place in the pouring rain.

Sadly, even though there are many good aspects in Game of Thrones, you never quite feel as if you're in Westeros. Aged technology with bland artistic design fails to match the majestic vision of this world the books create. Muddy textures and quirky animations abound, and though they aren't egregious enough to pull you out of the story, they fail to draw you further in. Most troubling is how lifeless the cities are. Flea Bottom should be nearly bursting with squalid peasants desperate to survive, but only a smattering of people mill about these parts. Westeros doesn't feel lived in, so even though the visuals do an adequate job, they don't do the great story justice.

Game of Thrones serves as a worthy companion to the novels because it introduces a storyline and characters that fit right in with George R. R. Martin's world. But the story is the only element that's worthy of this great heritage. The other aspects are competently done, but all have enough flaws to serve as a distraction at times. Thankfully, the focus is clearly placed on the story, and those other parts are pleasant enough to get through that the flaws won't derail your fun. Game of Thrones weaves together an enticing string of events that makes it difficult to pull away from.

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The Good
Strong story with interesting twists
Both the heroes and the villains are nicely fleshed out
Moral choices give flexibility in how you progress
Clever side missions
The Bad
Middling visual design
Easy-to-exploit combat
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Game of Thrones

About the Author

138 comments
nuznaomi
nuznaomi

People who really love the series just cannot love this game. There should be a good game of this series so that we can play with the characters. Just read another article about this game in this link : http://goo.gl/ko1ep5 but can't agree with it. At least here I read a moderate review. 

alpinestars27
alpinestars27

The game is ok, not great but ok.  I think the review is fair.  Only a fan of Martin and Game of Thrones would really enjoy the game and look past its shortcomings, ie clunky combat.

 

The problem with tie-ins is that the developers are under time constraints to release the game, book etc.  Therefore the production suffers, poor cutscenes with jerky animation, crap voice acting etc.  If the developer wanted to do a better job, it wouldn't be out till next year. 

 

All in all, it's not a bad game with a good story and at least it wasn't based on the last book which would have killed this game completely

Warmuro
Warmuro

Just stick to the series, this game sucks. If you love Game of Thrones, just watch the series, if you want to play a good game (at least better than this crap)  play Skyrim or Dragon Age. 

Revanchists
Revanchists

I dont know why but I think the voice acting in this game is terrible. For example the ferrier at the beginning of Alester's journey or the thief Ronnel who was killed in the beginning. 

bloodyboy2020
bloodyboy2020

dragon age ripoff with skyrim like characters

Jason210
Jason210

For me, computer games like this need to be immersive, and to undertand what immersive means, you need to play a game like World of Warcraft on a PvP server. Not that I think WoW is particularly good today, but it does have an massive world with a life of its own thanks to the many thousands of players that are to be found on its servers. I don't play it now, but I have fond memories of the first time I played and explored that world. It remains the yard-stick by which I measure anything new. I mean, if you take a successful single player game like Skyrim, it doesn't matter how good it is, it's still you on your own interacting with AI, and that, in my opinion, is never going to be immersive in the same sense as when there are other players present..

 

What I really would like to see is something new and revolutionary come out, that really takes the world by storm. And it will take more than a good plot to do that. It needs a new dimension of gameplay, and real people involved. Perhaps a game that combines RPG elements with skills that you have in an fps, rather than just point and click combat? A game perhaps where there are real actors in real roles, or where you choose one role and stick with it, and your character grows slowly, in an ever changing world that doesn't reset but grows, with a life of its own. Think of that.

 

That, I think - it's the next phase in escapist fantasy.

 

feelfreetodie10
feelfreetodie10

Well I notice how this review mentions 5 endings but I have only seen 4 of them... Not sure if that was a typo or there is a hidden ending. Can anyone confirm a fifth ending?

metaligoat
metaligoat

as an avid fan of the books and TV show, i went out and got this game. quite frankly, i'm stunned that GS gave this a 7.0, since i almost universally agree with GS reviews to within one point. i VERY rarely think games are actually worthy of a low score, but i think the IGN rating of 4/10 is much closer to being an actual reflection quality of this game than 7.0 is (i don't think it's quite as bad as IGN makes it out to be, but it's not much better). if you take the GoT license and story elements out of this game and just look at it strictly as a game, this game is not good by current gen standards, period. outside of the story/plot elements, everything about the game feels like it was made 10 years ago - back in the days when it was considered an acceptable error in most games if an NPC got stuck on something in the environment and wouldn't follow you, or when the few games that did offer voice acting generally had acting that was at best mediocre and at worst laughable (i've actually wanted to mute the audio a few times, which in a game that's supposed to be this story-driven is truly unforgivable - better to just go back to text dialog if your voice work is going to be that shoddy). back then, those kinds of problems were easy to forgive because the ability to even do stuff like this was relatively new and the industry as a whole was still figuring out how to do it right, but today it just sticks out as amateurish and dated. i was going to make an even longer post, but decided to trim it down and just say, bottom line: unless you're a fanboy of the source material who absolutely MUST experience the story and characters for yourself, take a pass on this game.

RankJunkie
RankJunkie

Most of the reviews do not rate this game high but like the story.

 

Since I am a story guy I will picking this up.

myrepose
myrepose

Wow.That is the first time I have said a TV show of a book adaptation should not entirely follow the original authors plot! Those that have read all the books so far will understand, maybe, where I am coming from!

myrepose
myrepose

I will buy this game! I just need to decide the format XBOX360 or PS3.

I’m a huge fan of “Game of Thrones” I have read all the books so far and enjoy the TV show. The author of the books likes to play fast and loose with main characters and heroes and so called villains ! I hope the TV show does not follow the books entirely!

 

eseptim
eseptim

Well, cuz I like to watch Game of Thrones, I shouldn't skip this one. Worth trying I think.

PoofMaester
PoofMaester

This game is completely story based, the graphics are something i would expect from game's like DA:O, the combat is "Meh" It's some-what different i give it that, The voice acting is actually pretty good in my opinion. If you're into Game of Thrones (Books or the HBO show) then definetly  try it out, rent it our buy used . From what i can tell the game was developed in Europe which may be the reasoning for the graphics (Just in my experience games such as that usually seem to be dated)

jollybest1
jollybest1

I like games with substance, characters, choices and a great story. Combat and graphics in RPG games aren't my first choices . I can play any RPG game that most don't like because of the combat if the story and characters are great. Starting with the witcher, dragon age, even dragon age 2, the witcher 2, mass effect , baldurs gate, NWN, NWN2, planescape torment, icewind dale, icewind dale 2 and many more, I will include AGOT in my list because of the story, I've enjoyed them all for what they are. A great game is great if it sucks you in  and this one did a good job by making me play with pleasure until the end. Hell I didn't reed the books neither saw the show (I've started watching it and probably buy the books) and I still enjoyed the game. If you want great combat and graphics don't buy it. If you want a great narative and intricate story with choices, characters and events that will make you feel something for the ones that take part iin the story , putting the events in motion this game is as  good as it can be only for those things that it does  right.

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jollybest1
jollybest1

I like games with substance, characters, choices and a great story. Combat and graphics in RPG games aren't my first choices . I can play any RPG game that most don't like because of the combat if the story and characters are great. Starting with the witcher, dragon age, even dragon age 2, the witcher 2, mass effect , baldurs gate, NWN, NWN2, planescape torment, icewind dale, icewind dale 2 and many more, I will include AGOT in my list because of the story, I've enjoyed them all for what they are. A great game is great if it sucks you in  and this one did a good job by making me play with pleasure until the end. Hell I didn't read the books neither saw the show (I've started watching it and probably buy the books) and I still enjoyed the game. If you want great combat and graphics don't buy it. If you want a great narative and intricate story with choices, characters and events that will make you feel something for the ones that take part iin the story , putting the events in motion this game is as  good as it can be only for those things that it does  right.

gamerzboiz
gamerzboiz

i have finish the game it is great

jollybest1
jollybest1

I've finished the game and it is great ...Mors voice is great , the story is great, the combat is ok............... The graphic is week the animations aren't great are ok, voice acting isn't that great except for Mors.....it deserves a 7 -8 rating

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twister_nt
twister_nt

Huge fan of GoT. Was reading it way before the tv series- will definitely download, because according to the review, this game is all about story :)

Jock9
Jock9

To be honest I haven't played the game, but I HAVE read every book of the Song of Ice and Fire. I love the show also, if you gave the books a chance then you could complain about it. Regarding LOTR, Game of Thrones is far darker and seedier and thats what we have all wanted; dark fantasy alike to Dragon Age or even Skyrim.

 

No wishy washey crap like Harry Potter, or LOTR. Even Star Wars has more on them, but if you like dark fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire is worth giving a go.

pygmyschizoid
pygmyschizoid

For what I saw of the game, this one seems like a fair review. That one in IGN just don't look right... mainly 'cause it's IGN, and they give 8+ scores for almost every game, but also for the highly praised story(here and there), that almost makes me think in this one like a must-buy. 

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

This reminds me of Rise of the Argonauts. Very flawed, but also very entertaining if you're there for its qualities.

apboyer
apboyer

Picked up a copy only to come home to a PS3 that tries to load discs and then makes an eject noise. 

 

Joystickenvy
Joystickenvy

I love the game of thrones books and series, but I'll definitely be waiting til I can get a used copy on the cheap to try this one out.

flamesofexuro
flamesofexuro

wtf? talk about mixed reviews IGN gave this 4/10 guess ill have to play it myself to decide 

darktruth007
darktruth007

Game of Thrones is sooo overrated. I'll watch the show and play the game - but never will I read the books. Way better fantasy novels out there than this.

amin7224
amin7224

سریالش که تو عمرم بهتر از اون ندیدم

حالا بزار ببینیم بازیش چی از آب دراومده

HAMMERCLAW
HAMMERCLAW

Sounds like a great game to watch SOMEBODY ELSE play. *yawn*

torrne667
torrne667

The combat is definately the weakest part of the game IMHO, The story and choices are really interesting though :)

 

jarvis008
jarvis008

Love the books and TV series but will probably give the game a miss.

Garnog
Garnog

Doesn't Gamespot ban people for talking about pirating? Skyrim nexus would have their heads on a pike.

Setsuka13
Setsuka13

Sounds like a lot of people's complaints regarding Dragon Age II. Great story and characters, but lacking in other areas.

LeFeverBeaver
LeFeverBeaver

So is this another "Enter The Matrix?"

 

The (first and ONLY the first) Matrix movie was amazing so when Enter The Matrix came out, I was thrilled.  All it really did was add to the story of the latter movies - as a game it was pretty mediocre unless you had the cheat codes for infinite bullet time. Seems like most of the LotR games found their way to the bargain bin as well.  Perhaps game developers and novelists will learn someday, no?

bblundell
bblundell

I'm curious to try this out since Gamefly sent it to me.  I love the show though.

 

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

I have to admit, I find the differing views of this game really interesting. Everyone seems to acknowledge that the story and characters are interesting but the combat, exploration, and visuals are flawed. It's just a matter of how much weight you put on those aspects. As a huge fan of the books, a great story is the main thing I wanted, so it didn't hurt my experience that the tertiary elements aren't nearly as strong. If you mirror that belief,  you'll enjoy this game as well. If you want cutting-edge visuals and a fantastic combat engine, you should look elsewhere.

Hurvl
Hurvl

A strong story and moral choices are things I wanted most out of this game. I'll be playing this on the PC, so I'll wait to see if there are some mods to cover up its weaker points before I get it, but I have plenty of games to play before that.

analgrin
analgrin

If its anything like the tv series the first 5 minutes will be great then will wait for hours/days for anything else interesting to happen

dlobo
dlobo

If this game lets me go to the Twins and Kill Walder Frey and every last one of his children, I'll buy it.

suplax
suplax

People these days can't form they own opinion and blindly follow a website review.

I always read games review , but just to see what the writer has to say about the game.

It's way more easy if you just rent the game and see for yourself.... 

I can't tell how many times i had good surprise with low scoring games and found games with high score simply awful.

ThinkingPainter
ThinkingPainter

This game looks great. Combat looks fine... must buy for me.

deathshead023
deathshead023

THIS GAME SUCKS! DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY. 7 doesnt justify how this game really smell of death. stop making false score reviews gamespot. get it real!

myungish
myungish

Probably the worst combat system (if you can call it that) I've ever seen in my life.

johnners2981
johnners2981

The score is too generous, a good story can't make up for terrible gameplay. It is a game after all and not a book

JMcN76
JMcN76

Almost any game based on movies or tv sucks, it's not that surprising.

essam24
essam24

OMG slow Motion in combat choosing skills or attack So frustrating to me.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

Too much of a fan to not pick this up. Sure as hell not for $60, but maybe $20 down the road.

Runock
Runock

Wont purchase it myself, GoT is a decent series sure but the only real standout books are 1 and 3. The rest are very boring except for 2 which is mildly boring. The game is as good as I expected it to be though so maybe a rental sometime when I got nothing else to play or do.

Game of Thrones More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    In Game of Thrones you will choose the class of your characters, find your fighting style, reach a good balance between your strengths and weaknesses.
    6.8
    Average Rating460 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Game of Thrones
    Developed by:
    Cyanide Studios
    Published by:
    Focus Home Interactive, ATLUS
    Genre(s):
    Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language