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вторник, 29 ноември 2016 г.

Tyranny - The Evil has won...or has it?



In recent times we have seen attempts many gaming genres to be revived. Some successful, some not so much, but few of those attempts stand off as much as Obsidian's last year success Pillars of Eternity. Luckily for us, the fans, seeing their success Obsidian did not stop, but instead they pushed further and this year we have the pleasure to enjoy second isometric RPG from them - Tyranny. What new it brings to the table, is it as good as the Pillars, is it just another game with the same mechanics? Read on.

Tyranny. The word probably give you bad vibes. It should, it is usually related to bad things and people. In this game you are one of those bad people. That is right, you are with the bad guys this time. And as such you will be able to kill, judge, mass murder, execute and assassinate on your own discretion. The tools does not matter, only the final result. Kyros shall rule them all, you will do what is necessary for this to happen. You are, after all, a Fatebinder.




If you have played Pillars in Tyranny you will feel at home here. Obsidian has changed few mechanics, has polished a few others and have changed few general ways the game works, but as a whole it has the same feeling as Pillars of Eternity. Therefore if you did not like PoE you can stop reading here. What follows will not change your opinion or make you try these games.

So let us begin, shall we?

You are a Fatebinder, servant of the Archon of Justice, one of the several Archons under the Warlord Kyros who has taken over most of the continent except for one small Gallic...I mean one small region where the stubborn defenders still resist. You are sent to help the two Archons there to finish their conquest faster. I can delve quite deep in the story without spoiling much, but I will stop here and leave you to discover the rest. The story is deep, complicated with a lot of characters, twists, backstory, intrigue, betrayal and everything else you can want into a good game story. My advice is to follow it closely and get invested into it, this will increase your enjoyment from the game a lot more. This is an RPG you are supposed to roleplay!
Speaking about story bring us to the character creation. In Tyranny it is separated in two parts. The first is your standard pick your stats, race, how you look thing. The second one is the interesting part. After you built your character you will have to in a choose-your-own-adventure style to bring down few defiant cities. The decisions you make at that time will have a rather big impact on how pretty much all factions in the game will treat you. What you do here will lock some choices permanently until you do not redo it, but it will also give you some unique choices for your future dialogues.
I liked this idea a lot, it is kind of similar to the Q&A some RPGs make when you build your character, but here you have more freedom and at the same time it is more impactful throughout the game.




When you are done with the character creation it is time for the real deal. That's right! You will have to beat some people personally while trying to reach the Archons and bring them the news that everyone in the valley including them, you and their soldiers, will die if they do not take a certain castle in the next several days. The battle system is pretty much the same as in Pillars (or Dragon Age if you need another comparison). You engage the enemy, pause, issue orders, resume and repeat until you win or fall. I always thought that this kind of battles really combine the best of both worlds. At one hand you have the tactic elements of a turn based game. On other you have the dynamic, flashy and action packed battles of action RPGs. The new here is that now you have combo skills with other characters. They are quite powerful and differ from character to character, also as I have found out their correct usage can be more than helpful in the tougher engagements.




Speaking about other characters, here is probably the place to say more about the companions you meet and can recruit. In Pillars of Eternity you had a good rooster of characters to choose from and even few secret companions. In Tyranny you can recruit only six, each with two skill threes and unique combo abilities. It is not necessary to recruit all of them and you can even kill some of them instead. If you recruit them, much like with the the factions you will gather loyalty and fear with your companions. Reaching certain levels in those two will unlock combo skills for you and the companion. Being liked or disliked from a Faction has a similar effect, but also locks or unlocks different dialogue options and affect how factions will act towards you.




Before going to the conclusion which is probably obvious for most of you, but I know some people read only those so...but anyway before that I need to say something very important about the game which explains many design decisions. Unlike Pillars of Eternity which is rather lengthy game, around 40 to 60 hours, Tyranny is made to be replayed. With its 20-25 hours you can easily finish it in a week which cannot be said for many RPGs from this class. There are so many different approaches I want to test, builds, characters, companions and here I can try those, because the game is short enough. At the same time it has the depth and polish of a finished product and it is satisfying even after a single playthrough.



Conclusions



Tyranny is a game about the bad guys and you are one of them. As such you will be able to do rather evil things, but at the same time you can also act as reasonable and good in nature character. As always it depends on you and what you want to be. The game is a continuation of Obsidian's attempt to revive the isometric RPGs which so far goes rather well for them.
Mechanically the game borrows a lot from Pillars of Eternity, but at the same time it improves a good amount of mechanics while also adding new ones. The two biggest changes are may be the length of the game and that it is not open world. The first cures one of the biggest problems of Pillars - it was impossible to try all the things the game offered you. I mean not only different builds for your characters but also altitude toward factions, story branches etc. From the second I have seen no harm but I am unsure why they have made such design decision. Speaking about decisions this is something you will have to be careful with as you never know when something you have done in the past will come back to bite you. Obsidian have done great job again in making a game which values your choices, but it also makes it hard for you to make them.

To summarize - Tyranny is a great addition to the genre and worthy successor of Pillars. Therefore if you have enjoyed Pillars of Eternity there is no reason for you not to play Tyranny.



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