In this week’s Red Bull Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris gets to grips with Game Of Thrones and has some news about Xbox SmartGlass…
Game Of Thrones – Review
Blood and betrayal, sex and stabbing, violence and vitriol, George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song Of Ice And Fire saga has it all. Little wonder then that the novels and, latterly, the HBO TV series have proved to be such a huge hit. Sadly, the RPG fails to keep the quality consistent, turning out as it does to be a slow, meandering and desperately dull effort which displays little of the sparkle and compelling nature of the source material.
The RPG market is hardly bereft of quality product, but even so expectations were high for a title that has the whole of Martin’s rich and intricate stories to draw from. Sadly, despite tapping into the moral quandaries and political double-dealing rife in Westeros, Game Of Thrones The Game fails almost entirely to capture the spirit of its inspiration.
The plot runs parallel to the first book and series and finds you playing both Night's Watchman Mors Westford and Red Priest Alester Sarwyck as the former attempts to uncover a mystery beyond the Wall and the latter aims to reclaim his rightful seat of power at Riverspring.
Now, if that previous sentence means absolutely nothing to you then you’ll do well to bone up on the history of The Seven Kingdoms, as knowledge of this mythical realm will get you a long way in divining the right decision from a myriad of tough choices. It's this assumption that anyone playing the game must have read the books and seen the show that's partially to blame for its undoing.
Gamer interest isn’t piqued any further when called upon to hack and slash your way through countless waves of dull adversaries thanks to the decidedly unimaginative turn-based fighting mechanic. Despite a pretty good storyline, it’s all so painfully slow, graphically unappealing and heavily peppered with dodgy voice acting that you find your attention wavering unnervingly early on in the adventure.
That’s not to say there aren’t a few sparks of inspiration (points spent on positive abilities are balanced out with negative traits and players can command AI characters to make an attack giving your avatar time for a breather), but there’s not enough to alleviate the quite disturbing levels of boredom.
Most unforgivable of all is the mishandling of Martin’s incredibly rich fantasy world. From the colourless locations to the lifeless performances through to the lacklustre animation and mediocre gameplay, it feels very underdeveloped and poorly presented. What could have been something rather special instead falls sadly and spectacularly upon its own sword.
One of the major console announcements at last week’s E3 2012 was the unveiling of Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass. A rather fantastic innovation that aids cross compatability between your Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, iOS or Android, it basically turns mobile devices into a touchscreen display for Xbox games in a concept not dissimilar to the Wii U GamePad. Following on from the exciting reveal, Microsoft have since declared that the tech will start appearing from this autumn and will eventually be utilised in every Microsoft-published title from then on. Check out the video below for more info on Xbox Smartglass…