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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Game of Thrones - Reviews @ Games.on.net, Hardware Heaven, Strategy Informer

Default Game of Thrones - Reviews @ Games.on.net, Hardware Heaven, Strategy Informer

June 8th, 2012, 02:01
Here's a trio of Game of Thrones reviews as the game rolls out internationally. The mixed form continues.
Games.on.net doesn't have a score but despite the interesting story, the lack of polish is an issue:
The lack of polish in the looks department could be forgiven if the actual gameplay was compelling, but the combat system - the thing that takes up the majority of the player's time outside of the long-winded conversations - is both dull and mechanical. At its core the combat engine is similar to that of Dragon Age II, combining real time and turn based combat, with characters hacking away with normal attacks until you choose to you a special ability. Unfortunately, no matter what class you choose, from Hedge Knight to Water Dancer, combat always ends up the same. Characters may have a dozen skills to choose from but combat always resolves in the same way, stun enemies trying to use abilities, try and knock them down, take advantage of the knock down. Rinse and repeat. There is no spark or variation in fights. What's more, the animations are as mechanical as can be, sapping any residual excitement from the fights.
Hardware Heaven goes for a modest 70% - once again, one of their criticisms is probably a plus for our audience:
The storyline is strong, and one of the best aspects of the game. However the combat system isn't intuitive and takes some getting used to. The time lapse technique is interesting, however it would have been better used a tad more sparingly as we found we had to use it almost constantly to keep our character alive.
Despite the 6.5/10 score at Strategy Informer, this sounds great:
Even better, GOTTG is one of the few games that properly attempts to incorporate player choices into the narrative, and have the consequences play out later on. Furthermore unlike every game but this and the two Witcher titles your choices donít fall into simple ďparagon and renegadeĒ decisions, and the consequences are never obvious. For example, spare the life of a seemingly innocent girl and she might warn the dozen guards outside the room, but kill her and you lose a life-saving hostage later. While these choices never quite reach the level of Witcher 2 in scope they do add a lot to your involvement with the story. Frankly I applaud any developer that attempts to follow CD Projektís polished footsteps, and itís nice to have another Witcher-like game out there.
More information.
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June 8th, 2012, 02:01
The thing I don't like about the Witcher/Witcher 2's take on player choice is that decisions matter.. but you really have no idea how they'll matter. You're given a choice between options which are, usually, equal morally, equal in terms of obvious payoff, and which lack any major discerning qualities.

It's like RPGs are split into two halves:
1. Choices are obvious to the point of having little symbols telling you exactly what the moral weights of the actions are and what the repercussions are.
2. Choices boil down to just a coin flip. Even "role-playing" (i.e. - staying in character in-game) can often fail to generate a response in, say, the Witcher games because the choices can be so rigidly equivalent.

I feel like we can do better than this. I've been playing with writing an in-depth analysis of morality in RPGs. I feel like it's a part of the genre that has really atrophied and which was never dazzlingly successful to begin with.

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June 8th, 2012, 03:07
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
The thing I don't like about the Witcher/Witcher 2's take on player choice is that decisions matter.. but you really have no idea how they'll matter. You're given a choice between options which are, usually, equal morally, equal in terms of obvious payoff, and which lack any major discerning qualities.

It's like RPGs are split into two halves:
1. Choices are obvious to the point of having little symbols telling you exactly what the moral weights of the actions are and what the repercussions are.
2. Choices boil down to just a coin flip. Even "role-playing" (i.e. - staying in character in-game) can often fail to generate a response in, say, the Witcher games because the choices can be so rigidly equivalent.

I feel like we can do better than this. I've been playing with writing an in-depth analysis of morality in RPGs. I feel like it's a part of the genre that has really atrophied and which was never dazzlingly successful to begin with.
I think not knowing the consequence of choices is pretty realistic. I can think of many choices in my life that haven't turned out like i thought they would when I made the choice no matter how well intended I thought I was at the time.

I've made choices I thought were no brainers, only to have them blow up in my face and I've made choices I didn't even know mattered until seeing the results years later.

Obviously we make short term choices everyday that we can predict the outcome of with almost 100% certainty but long term choice are very difficult to predict no matter how sure you are of the outcome.
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June 8th, 2012, 04:51
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
I think not knowing the consequence of choices is pretty realistic. I can think of many choices in my life that haven't turned out like i thought they would when I made the choice no matter how well intended I thought I was at the time.

I've made choices I thought were no brainers, only to have them blow up in my face and I've made choices I didn't even know mattered until seeing the results years later.

Obviously we make short term choices everyday that we can predict the outcome of with almost 100% certainty but long term choice are very difficult to predict no matter how sure you are of the outcome.
The thing is, in real life, you have a much better appreciation for the context and the likely repercussions. In the Witcher, it's deliberately obtuse, and the consequences usually end up just different kinds of "grey" anyway.

A game that I think does morality half decently is Fallout. Here, while there are -certainly- surprises, moral outcomes tend to flow more cohesively from the context that generated the dilemmas to begin with. Also, the context manages to be thoroughly ambiguous in its morality, while still allowing -some- degree of moral variety in the decisions and outcomes. I also think the consequences felt much more tangible in Fallout than in the Witcher games, where it feels like you're going through a linear tunnel, but you occasionally get a chance to rearrange the colors and patterns that line the sides.

In general, in an RPG, moral choices should be part of both the -role-playing- and the -game-. What I mean is that any moderately interesting moral systen should: 1. Play a role in how your character develops as a character and how you feel about what your character is and what he or she should be; 2. Should play some greater element in how you plan to achieve your goals within the game.
That doesn't mean that -every- choice needs to hit upon both. However, the strongest moments of a game's moral system should definitely hit both.

In the Witcher games, your role is predefined. The choices you make pretty much have no impact on who the Witcher is, how you perceive him, or how he perceives the world. They play a minimal impact on how you achieve your goals, but rarely is that the focus either. Instead, the "moral choices" in the Witcher basically act as a mechanism for selecting your "path" in a game, where the path hardly matters in Witcher and matters only during the middle chapter in Witcher 2. All in all, the moral choices in the Witcher do little other than help give character to the world.
That's not a bad thing to do, and they still help bring two great games to life. However, moral questions really don't play any interesting role in the Witcher games -as games-.

While I love both Witcher games, I just don't think any of the games out there (including the Witcher games) are doing moral choices anywhere near right, and only a few classic games came anywhere close themselves.
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June 8th, 2012, 09:39
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
In the Witcher games, your role is predefined. The choices you make pretty much have no impact on who the Witcher is, how you perceive him, or how he perceives the world. They play a minimal impact on how you achieve your goals, but rarely is that the focus either. Instead, the "moral choices" in the Witcher basically act as a mechanism for selecting your "path" in a game, where the path hardly matters in Witcher and matters only during the middle chapter in Witcher 2. All in all, the moral choices in the Witcher do little other than help give character to the world.
That's not a bad thing to do, and they still help bring two great games to life. However, moral questions really don't play any interesting role in the Witcher games -as games-.

While I love both Witcher games, I just don't think any of the games out there (including the Witcher games) are doing moral choices anywhere near right, and only a few classic games came anywhere close themselves.
Spot on. The moral choices stuff is sucker deal as developpers struggle to implement the context required to role play a character.

Morality is more delicate than role play and aiming for the first while you struggle to deliver the second is jumping at the stars.
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June 9th, 2012, 22:37
witcher me .. I forgot, did Skyrim even had this broken illusion of choice? I don't remember, it probably had jack
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