Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tyranny: So who wants to be a baddie?

Tyranny is an odd game. I honestly don't know what to make of it. I think I like it? I certainly enjoyed the setting and the majority of the main story, but there are just some bits that detracted from it being a truly great game for me. It feels like it could have used just a bit more time in development, a bit more fleshing out, a bit more...something. I shall explain.

Tyranny is the new game by Obsidian Entertainment, creators of some of my favourite RPGs out there, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, Alpha Protocol (yes, I actually enjoyed that buggy mess of a game), Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity. Tyranny is certainly more like PoE than if only for it's use of engine and systems, but Obsidian have always been great story tellers. Tyranny is no exception in this regard.

You begin the game with the war already mostly won by the conquerors. Your character was part of the victorious army. During one of the best character creation sequences I have used, you go through a procedure called "The Conquest" where you choose the actions your character took during the first 3 years of war and occupation. This informs how various factions and NPCs view your character and changes various dialogues and actions you can perform in the game.

You're basically a bad guy. You can definitely develop your own code of honour, or even just go balls to the wall evil, all options are available to you. That is in part due to the dialogue system which reminiscent of older systems from Baldurs Gate and even as recent as Dragon Age Origins. Modern conversation systems are far more dumbed down, providing far less dialogue options (look at Bioware and Bethesda's more recent offerings). The amount of lore and history available to you is almost overwhelming, which I love. I adore delving in to the lore of new worlds and discovering new information and stories.

Delving in to a game of Rut, Marry. Slaughter with your companions.
Now. My biggest qualm with the game. After about 25/30 hours of exploring and fighting and conversing and reaching what I felt was barely scratching the surface of an epic and amazing experience, the game just ends. The third act is barely an hour long and makes all my effort feel for naught. It was a shock to my system. I was in absolute disbelief. I am still scratching my head over it. Is this just a short story experience for a full game price or is there upcoming dlc/expansions for it to complete the story? Either way, not happy about it.

Another small problem I have with the game is that I just don't care about the companions I'm offered. There's a cool mechanic where your Loyalty/Fear meter with each companion can give you extra skills in battle, but in terms of actually hanging out with them, I just don't care. I stuck through the entire campaign with the first 3 companions I received, and whilst I dabbled with the others I always went back to the originals. It's not that they were terrible characters, it's that their stories don't go anywhere. No companion quests, no loyalty missions, so what reason is there to care about them if all you need them for is to soak up and deal out damage in battle. Hell, one of your companions is a Beastwoman who deals crazy amounts of damage and jumps around like a...well...a beast in combat. Also one of the most annoying voice acted characters in a game I have ever played and hence I never wanted her in my party.

Tyranny is a very curious game. In terms of story and lore, what happens to you and how you influence the world is nothing short of amazing. It's just too short and ends just when things get really interesting. And I mean reeeeeeeally interesting. I feel that this was an opportunity lost. That being said, if there is dlc or expansions that expand or continue the story I'm totally in. Take me money. Just take it. I need more of this type of story telling in my life.

Yes, I realise how contradictory this "review" is. I don't really consider this a review. More of a spilling of my brain guts on a page in an attempt to sort out how I feel about this game. I love it. I hate it. I need more of it. I'm addicted. I'm an addict. Oh god I'm an addict.