Let me just start by saying that Game of Thrones on HBO is my one of my favorite shows on TV. The universe George R.R Martin created is truly amazing. An epic universe full of flawed heroes, intrigue, betrayal, murky morals, sex, understandable villains and much more. Season 2 just ended and it was truly epic. So an RPG game set in this universe sound great, right?
Game of Thrones RPG has some great ideas, but the execution is not really that great. You begin your journey as Mors, a member of the Night’s Watch. Mors is your typically grim bad-ass, rugged and battle-scarred. He’s an honorable man, but the task he takes on doing question his honor. As Mors you can play as a Landed Knight, a Hedge Knight, or a Magnar. These classes determine the skill trees and preferred combat styles of your character. Mors has also a small companion, his dog which he can possess and use him to transverse the world and stealth kill the enemies.
The other playable character is Alester Sarwyck, son of a prestigious family and priest of the fire god R’hllor. Alester returns to his home after a fifteen year absence, only to find his sister about to marry their own half-brother to maintain the family's name and land. Alester cannot allow this to happen so he seeks out the Queen to make it right. Fire is Alester special ability. Set your enemies on fire by striking them with your flaming sword or shoot them with flaming arrows. Both sides appear at first to be completely separate, but then slowly begin to influence and coalesce together. The story has some interesting twists and turns ( worthy of Game of Thrones) along the way, but I will not spoil that for you.
The game features a robust morale system. So during the main story you will come to different situations and you may approach them as you want. Use diplomacy or draw you sword. It's up to you. Other than changes later in the story, these moral choices may also give you permanent stat boosts.
Other than the main story, there are also side-quest you can tackle. These missions are really cool, but there are very few of them.
As any other RPG game, you can fully customize your characters. The game features a deep customization system, but the one truly unique part of the game’s customization features is the strengths and weaknesses. Before starting the game you have choose your strengths and weaknesses which cause opposite effects. Each point you use to strengthen must be balanced by a point of weakness. Different choices can transform your experience.
The combat you find here is not the typical system you can find in most newly released RPGs. It's very similar to the combat system the old RPG games had, round-based. So actions are assigned to a character from a radial menu that slows time when opened. Sometimes the actions you choose will deal bonus damage if utilized in certain situations. Sure you can use different strategies to finish battles, but most of the time you will use the same weapon and the same attacks over and over again.
Then there are the visuals. This game looks really bad. The textures look really awful, the character models looks dated and the animations are stiff. Then there is Mors's dog, OMG! he is ugly as hell. There are also some annoying bugs and glitches like clipping into objects, floating over objects etc. Also the voice acting is bad. For a game with such rich history and lore, at least, the voice acting should have been top-notch. I also experienced many moments where sound faded away and returned back later. Problems like these keep you from truly immersing into the game.
So if you truly are a fan of George R.R Martin work, you've read all "A song of Fire and Ice" novels( which I haven't yet) and you truly love the TV show (like I do) then definitely give this game a chance. But if you are a casual gamer, maybe rent it before deciding of buying it.