A Game of Game of Thrones: The Role Playing Game – The VideoGame
by Diego Beltrami
The Game of Thrones RPG is a peculiar beast. It has some interesting ideas that could’ve lead to somewhere had it not been betrayed -like in good GoT fashion- by its low value productions.
It’s basically a modern RPG, with its roots clearly on the KotOR legacy. Sadly it doesn’t take them much further and ends up with a gameplay that feels a little bit outdated, and if it wasn’t for its licence it’s a game that would’ve been quickly forgotten.
Again, thanks to its low production values, neither graphics nor sound manage to stand out, except for voice acting, which stands out just because of how awful it is. Truly. I think it’s the most awful voice acting I’ve heard in a long while. Specially Mor’s wife (small spoilers there). I have to believe that’s just some place-holder voice that they couldn’t replace.
And while graphics can bee poor or lacklustre thanks to budget issues, that can also be solved with a thoughtful use of aesthetics. Sadly we won’t find anything remarkable here either.
So, gameplay is a bit dated, and aesthetics are nothing extraordinary. We’re only left with the writing, which is to be honest, the only redeeming part of the game.
The story takes place from the point of view of two characters: Mors Westford, a member of the Night’s Watch and a knight who has fallen in disgrace. A rough man, hard but fair and prone to action. And Alester Sarwick, a priest of R’hllor. A former knight who went into exile haunted by his past, who after his father death comes back to Westeros to attend the funeral, and seeing the state of the land decides to take his place as the Sarwick heir.
Mors starts as the most interesting character, and the most relatable. He’s a warrior above all and to be honest, he never grows, his character stays the same trough the game and we only get some background on him.
On the other hand Alester is a much blander character who comes out as easily manipulable and, while well intentioned, ends up doing the bidding of the power players mostly against his moral code.
This actually makes the Alester side much more interesting as there is a lot more conflict to his actions. He’s doing bad things for the greater good, or so he thinks. So his motivation is much more personal and his necessity is related to current affairs. Mors on the other hand acts sorely by the ghost of his past and a unbreakable moral code that’s at odds with the setting.
Still is Mors the one we’re rooting for, he’s the one that we hope he makes it through the whole ordeal even though he’s one of those character that Mr Martin would’ve love to kill at the most unexpected moment. Maybe that’s just it, maybe this is our one chance of vindication against Martin tyrannical hold over the setting, our chance of vindication where we can subvert the setting and finally have the good guy triumph and the bad guys get what they deserve. And that’s nice, but it breaks what makes A Song of Ice and Fire unique. And that is perhaps the game’s greatest sin.
I’m sure the people at Cyanide did their best with what they had but in the end the game falls short on its premise. You win or you die. Let’s hope they win next time.