We recently got a chance to go hands-on with some of the hottest upcoming releases from Sony at their annual Spring Showcase – previewing several upcoming titles for the PlayStation 3 and the Vita. Yesterday we previewed PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – and today we got a good look at just what Cyanide Studio has been up to with Game of Thrones for the PlayStation 3.
The developers have been working very hard, and under the supervision of A Song of Ice and Fire series creator George R. R. Martin, to deliver a spectacular and unique look at the Seven Kingdoms.
The hard work appears to have paid off: as the unique gameplay and engrossing storyline mesh well with the HBO television series – as well as the source material itself. Several actors from the television series have lent their voices and appearances to the game as well:
The tie-in game takes place near the end of the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones. A threat is building in the North, beyond the realm of the Seven Kingdoms, and it is up to the player to determine what’s going on. Straying from the already set path of the series’ main characters, the game shows an untold story, from unseen characters’ points of view – in the fight to keep the North safe from attack.
To accomplish this, there are two unique characters the player can choose from: Mors, a member of the ancient Nights Watch order (and battle-hardened soldier) as well as the Red Priest, Alestar, son of a Westerosi Lord who has recently returned home from a trip overseas. We chose Mors for the preview, and jumped into the first quest – investigating a Wildling threat.
In terms of gameplay, the experience will feel very similar to the Dragon Age series – with careful thought given to how each of the characters in a player’s party interact and work together. Much of the standard RPG foundation is present – such as inventory, leveling and skill tree systems, etc.
A stand-out feature of the combat system – the careful choice of ‘Action Slots’. These slots are activated by pressing L1 and selecting an item or skill from the “Belt.” As more skills are unlocked and learned, they can be added to the belt and used in combat – provided the character has enough energy to do so. When pausing to choose which action to perform next, time will slow down, enough to give the player a chance to think, while still moving forward with the action at hand.
The flow of the storyline is also heavily dependant on choices made through actions and dialogue. On easier difficulty settings, the action doesn’t factor in as much, and players are free to relax a bit and let the story take over. However, more daring players will constantly have to strategize and make decisions that aren’t necessarily on a scale of good and evil. Regardless of difficulty preferences, the RPG elements and action system should quickly become familiar to most players.
While our time with Game of Thrones was brief, we feel it’s safe to consider it a faithful addition to the franchise and immense following HBO has helped the series achieve. Fans need not worry – if George R. R. Martin is happy with it, there’s a good chance they will be too.
Ranters: are you looking forward to guarding Winterfell from the beasts that wait beyond the Wall?
Game of Thrones is set to release May 15th for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.