Tyranny

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 23 - 2016

Born to be bad.

 
Following the excellent Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian’s latest Western-style RPG wants to show the player just how rewarding it can be to be evil. Despite certain similarities with Pillars of Eternity in both the gameplay and the visuals, Tyranny brings its own story and takes the player on a very different journey.

 
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In Tyranny, evil has won. The evil overlord Kyros rules the world of Terratus and the player is cast as a Fatebinder, a high-ranking minion of Kyros whose role will involve traveling the world and imposing Kyros’ will. While there are plenty of options to the player for just how evil they want to be, the majority of the options are just different levels of evil.

 
However, there is an uncomfortable logic to many of the choices in the game. Players can take on the role of the bloodthirsty oppressor if they wish, but it may take them down a path that leads to allies turning against them. Most of the times, evil choices will be dictated by either the players own sensibilities, the lengths a player can comfortably go to in a video game which deals very seriously with some very tough subjects, or by the end outcome and what they want to achieve. The myriad of choices in the game all have consequences, from developing allies or making enemies, to further dialogue choices in conversations.

 
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The players own standings with certain factions make for an important part of the game. The two major factions that player will have to deal with make up the forces of Kyros – the Secret Chorus and the Disfavored. These two factions are very different and often at odds with each other. The Disfavored are the militaristic faction, while the Secret Chorus are more anarchic in their approach. Players will often have to arbitrate between these two factions and their leaders, and will find their favour increasing or decreasing as a result. Sometimes, decisions may seem fairly obvious, but the reactions of one faction or another to the players choice may be surprising.

 
The decisions made by the player may be quite complex, but they shape the game. This all starts right at the very beginning, just after the player has created their character. Here, the player will have to make decisions about the initial conquest, such as choosing where to attack or negotiating surrender. It is a short part of the game played over a map, but the consequences of these choices will make themselves known throughout the game. It gives the player some ability to shape their adventure, even if they don’t know how they are shaping it, and gives rise to replayability down the line, exploring the consequences of different choices.

 
Outside of the tough decisions and vast amount of dialogue, gameplay will be very familiar to anyone who tried their hand at Pillars of Eternity. The player creates a party of characters, including their own, and works their way through some quite glorious environments, dealing with whatever encounters they come across. The companions are nicely fleshed out in Tyranny and given real personality. The majority of the enemies faced in Tyranny are soldiers, so this is much less of a high fantasy RPG.

 
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The combat is fairly straight forward, in a pausable real-time style where the player can control each of the characters to whatever degree they wish through a customisable AI, and can pause the action to issue new orders whenever they like. It is a system that has worked well in other games and it works well here, although the combat does become repetitive long before the end of this 25 hour adventure.

 
The main character can be improved as they progress, but not within a limiting class system. In Tyranny, things are much more freeform in that the player chooses how they want to play and are then rewarded in whatever skills they use. For example, casting spells will result in the character improving in casting spells. As a side note, in Tyranny the player is able to create their own spells as they find the components required, which is nice. The result, both with the skill progression and the spell creation, is that players will find themselves much more free to experiment in Tyranny, presenting yet more choice.

 
Visually, the environments are incredibly well done. Areas are quite distinct and memorable, and incredibly detailed. However, the same cannot really be said for the inhabitants of the world, including the main character, who are not that impressive to look at. Still, at least they move well and fit in with the isometric style of the game. The soundtrack is brilliantly matched to the game’s sens that all hope is pretty much lost, and the voice work is also very well done and adds to the experience.

 
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Tyranny feels like a much more thoughtful RPG than Obsidian’s previous offering. It is not the longest adventure, and carries over many similarities to Pillars of Eternity. But with an abundance of dialogue and difficult choices for the player to make, Tyranny is a unique RPG offering and should be played by all fans of the genre.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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