This is just a quick little post to throw out a recommendation for a game I finished recently called Tyranny. It’s made by Obsidian, who have a pretty stellar track record of making awesome computer role-playing games. Really happy to see these guys are still out there producing high quality stuff. Fallout: New Vegas is still my favorite of the “Fallout” titles and I hope the team gets a chance to return to that universe at some point.
A couple years back I joined the Kickstarter campaign for Pillars of Eternity and was super excited for that game when it finally came out. Unfortunately, something about it left me feeling cold and I never got around to finishing the game (even gave it a second go when the first expansion came out). For me, I think that game was too much of a slow pitch over the middle of the plate — it didn’t push any boundaries. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Fan Service, and I have to admit in retrospect that the Kickstarter was nothing but a nostalgia trip, but once I started playing the game I found I just didn’t care about the characters or the story all that much. In my opinion, Tyranny improves on the Pillars formula in every respect. It tells a much edgier story that I was immediately invested in (Synopsis: what if a Sauron-like villain conquered the world and you are one of the Evil Overlord’s minions sent to pacify the last recalcitrant region).
There’s lots to like here. The game builds pleasantly, adding layers of story and system in an organized manner as you progress into the plot. I think the “Choose your own Adventure” style opening is a fantastic way to kick off a game — it gives the player an immediate opportunity to shape the game state of the world and sets up the potential for multiple play-throughs right off the bat.
The first Act is set in a small corner of the map and you don’t realize at first that this is just the first piece in a much larger, kingdom-spanning endeavor that unfolds as you reveal more of the story. By the time you reach the mid game, you have an array of resources to play with, companions to adventure with and factions to manipulate. If there is a flaw, it is that the game ending can seem a bit abrupt, just as you’re starting to really flex your muscles, but this just leaves the door open for a tasty sequel that is sure to be forthcoming. I expect the Obsidian team will do a great job taking your final game state from Tyranny 1 and using it to weave a highly personalized campaign in Tyranny 2.
So, with a Steam Winter Sale just around the corner, I’d advise any RPG fan to pick this one up. It’s a good one.
A few random closing thoughts:
- Bleden Mark is a jerk (you’ll see what I mean)
- The option to [glare silently] should be added to all future role-playing games
- If you want to go “full bastard” I recommend linking up with the Scarlet Chorus. They reminded me very much of the Tenescowri in Steven Erikson’s Memories of Ice