|Publisher||Warner Bros. International Enterprises|
So this summer was Gameofthronesless, and that is quite discouraging. Especially if you felt like the show is falling apart lately. Can Game of Thrones: Conquest fix that?
Game of Thrones: Conquest as its name suggests, is based on an extremely popular TV show of the same name. Yes, TV show, because if it was based on the books it would be called A Song of Ice and Fire, right? So, this is an MMO strategy game that heavily relies on the current plot of the series. That means this review could contain some major spoilers, because the story progresses even further from the show itself. So, that being said, we can dive deeper into this game that shouldn’t be a total disaster since is based on such a masterpiece (at least the first four seasons were), right? Well, let’s start with the online campaign, and then we’ll continue to… Oh sorry. No, that’s it, let’s start and end with the campaign, the only mode in this Warner Bros. International Enterprises adaptation.
Right off the bat, a thing you seldom see in today’s games. You are not the hero. A concept many MMORPGs had in their early days, but let it slip due to new spoiled communities, made of usually players who would like to be a hero/champion/lord instantly. No, this old school approach makes you just a noble of Westeros, just like any other player. Imagine how stupid it would be if all the players in an online strategy game would be Daenerys Targaryen? You have to work your way up from there and to earn your titles. You do get aid and tutorial tips from characters such as Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister, and orders from the Mother of Dragons herself, and that is kind of cool! I do get single player games that put you in the shoes of the famous protagonist, but here it would be simply wrong.
So, you get the chance to earn Daenerys’ trust right from the beginning, by defending the wall from the Wraith invasion. Jon thanks you for doing so personally. And then you get a whole keep! But don’t just celebrate yet! It’s old, rusty and abandoned. So, as Tyrion suggests, you need to rebuild it. And it’s in a very hot strategic position. Somewhere between the Wall and Winterfell. You’ll soon find out that many other players on your realm are nearby and that you need to fight to gain a certain reputation and power to hold off those hungry competitors. But, apart from a few tips and orders given by the famous characters, this game feels quite remote from the Game of Thrones universe.
Game of Thrones is just a mask
It’s a typical city building, territory conquest game with a bit of Game of Thrones flavor. Dialogue and story progression can’t be more generic, and the fact that 2D portraits of such witty characters are attached to that kind of plain writing is just adding fuel to the fire. If you were hoping that you’ll see some of the troops in action when leading them on a conquest, you’ll be utterly disappointed. A simple pawn represents your troops while fighting, on the map. I know it’s not the main feature of the game, but a little bit of animation and some models wouldn’t hurt, right? While we’re at the main feature, the city building itself feels stiff and dull when it comes to design, animations and effects. The building just appears when it’s done, and almost none of your people move throughout your city to make it seem alive.
The units and the buildings just resemble something you’ve seen on the show, and the lovable, well-known theme is there just at the beginning. Occasional season seven themes like Dragonstone, The Queen’s Justice, The Gift or The Spoils of War just pop up from time to time, for a short duration. Most of the music is composed of some random war drum repeatable beats, not slightly relatable with epic Ramin Djawadis’ work. Well, at least the core gameplay is good, if we neglect the fact that the story, narrative and atmospheric elements are falling apart, right? Well, let’s see.
The city building segment is okay, but nothing special. The good thing is that the waiting times are really reasonable, at least at the beginning. You simply build structures in a certain order, to ensure a stable and an effective growth. First, you’ll need to build farms and sawmills outside the walls of your city, to provide it with food and building resources. Then, you’ll want to build the barracks and the stables to train units used to defend your property, or to hunt and invade others. After that you’ll want to build a tavern in order to be able to receive daily rewards, and from there, it’s up to you how you’ll develop. There are a lot of options and a lot of things to do in the game simultaneously, and it could be even overwhelming to someone new to the genre.
Luckily, the gameplay and the offered mechanics and the complexity of the progression system compensate for the poor presentation, to a certain extent. Remember how I told you the plot feels generic? Well, that’s because you can create your own schemes and tricks, by forming allegiances and being pretty social with other players. That’s what you want from a GoT game, but it needs a little bit of premade flavor, set up by the creators of the game. This way, you need to figure the complex infrastructure of the game all on your own. That would be okay for a full scale computer title like Stronghold, where you have the player input and the surroundings to fully immerse. This level of complexity makes it really hard on a few inches of screen and without a mouse and a proper keyboard.
So, after rebuilding your city, and raising it to glory, the time will come to take some precautions. If you’ve watched the show, then you already know you can’t trust anyone. After leveling your keep to 10th level, you’ll start earning a reputation among lots of others. So, build, upgrade and enhance your defensive structures, such as walls, city gates, and arm them with lots of units such as archers. If that is not your approach, you can try hiding your valuables in storehouses, laying out some traps and such, and even hiring scouts, rogues and assassins to aid you in your stealth style of play. Don’t forget to form allegiances and to try and plot against those who are in your way. Maybe even try the diplomatic approach, but be careful! Everyone wants your head on a spike these days.
This game is optimized so poorly. And it doesn’t look that demanding at all. I was running it on my Nokia 5 with the latest Android version installed and I had to make mini-breaks to let my phone cool off how hot it got. I literally couldn’t hold it. And I took off its mask. Other than that, I’ve experienced a lot of lag, either in the interface, or the server itself. A lot of commands felt unresponsive, and I had to restart the game several times. First, I thought the problem was in my device, but I did a quick check on the forums and the reviews and it seems that I’m not the only one. So, I recommend closing all other applications, connecting to a stable internet network and taking off the mask of your phone.
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