You play two characters: Mors, “the butcher”, Westford, a loyal warrior of the Night’s Watch and Alester Sedwick struggling to regain his heritage as Lord of Riverspring after been away for 15 years.
The story is really great and contains all the ingredients the famous Game of Thrones series features: honor, love, fights, betrayal, debauchery, violence, mystic and magic, deception, heroism, and cruelty. It’s all in there. This is a true Game of Thrones story.
Also if you watched the TV series you’ll recognize some characters: Cersei Lannister plays the plotting bitch and you simply can’t get behind Lord Varys motives and schemes. As a goodie: you have a Cameo-appereance of Mr. “Game-of-Thrones” himself: George R. R. Martin is the Maester of Bergholz. Running a little Q&A with him is quite hilarious.
Ok, there are some irrational items in there: e.g. it takes you 3 months game time to travel from Castle Black at the Wall down to the Riverlands, but after chapter 8 you are free to simply click anywhere on the map and are there within a blink of an eye.
Or: at some point Alester murmurs to himself: “pillagers will be executed” during a riot … which does not keep you away to grab and loot anything which is not nailed down. =)
But then there is the story. And what a story it is! I can remember the events in chapter 11 leaving me with my jaws wide open: WTF! The game overdoes this theme and attitude of the core Game of Thrones nature in the end like in the final events in chapter 14, but all-in-all it is a great story to experience. Westeros is here.
This is the very strong part of this game.
Then the combat techniques is quite interesting and has some charm: like in a Dragon Age 2 manner you slow down time – it actually never stops – and issue some actions. This interface is not that easy to get your hold on but after some encounters you’ll learn this new experience. And it is fun. As time does not stop you feel pressure to get to your decisions rather fast. I finished the game on normal level and every now and then I lost some combats and this is a real good experience. Be demanding so that success is sweeter.
This is the interesting part of the game.
… and then there is the game engine. They say it does not take good graphics for a great game to tell a thrilling and fascinating story. True. But the engine should at least bare some minimums. This game is an example to stress this principle.
As the audio and speakers are ranging from ok (average peasant) to excellent (Lord Varys) the Graphics are weak. All in all the textures are squishy, some motions clumsy. You find a lot of people sharing the very same faces and if I don’t know it better I would say I’ve been witness to the impossibility of the framerate dropping below 0! Seriously, you have to be very capable of suffering and be very high pain tolerant accepting this. Walking around the great hall in Castle Black is … well … demanding. Even though some places are nicely rendered like the Gift at the Wall.
If the developers had more time to improve the graphics engine this game would have been rated much higher in the critic’s world.
This is the very poor, ugly part of the game.
For the record, I needed about 36 hours at normal difficulty level and finished the story with Mors taking care of the baby outside of Westeros.
I award this game 5 out of 10 stars, thanks to the pretty cool Game of Thrones story line … nearly ruined by the half-baked graphics textures and graphics engine. It could have been better. Much better.