Tyranny – PC Review – by BoxCatHero

Genre: Isometric Adventure RPG
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: Nov 10, 2016

Tyranny is an amazing isometric view reactive RPG from the devs at Obsidian Entertainment and published by Paradox Interactive. I have to say this game fills a void I had for a long time from games like Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, and other great games like that from the past. It weaves a wonderful tale with a very rich story, amazing characters, and highly detailed world. I can truly appreciate all the detail and love they put into the game, and I am truly thankful for it. It definitely a must have for anyone, not just fans of the type of games I listed above.

The player takes the role of a Fatebinder who serves under the Archon of Justice Tuon who, under Kyros’ will, is in charge of the conquest of the Tiers. Under him are the Voices of Nerat, the Archon of secrets and leader of the Scarlet Chorus, and Graven Ashe, Archon of War leader of the Disfavored. The game begins with the Tiers fully conquered, and you being sent to deliver an Edict of Kyros to the leaders of the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus, who are dealing with a small uprising. Won’t spoil much of the story beyond this due to it being just that awesome, and wanting you guys to experience it yourself.

After a short intro telling you a brief history of events leading up to the game you are presented with the character creation screen. I must say it has a great set of customizable options. You begin by choosing your gender, one of three body types, and one of five skin colors. I know that don’t sound like much, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The females then have to choose from five faces, ten hairstyles with 14 color variations, three different voices, seventeen tattoos with 14 primary and secondary colorizations each, and twenty different character portraits. The male process is the same, except they have eleven beard options and only eighteen portraits.

Afterwards you can select from eight different origins, which are: Pit Fighter, Soldier, Hunter, Lawbreaker, Guild Apprentice, War Mage, Noble Scion, and Diplomat. You can then choose a Primary expertise from Sword/Shield, Javelin, Greatsword, Dual-Wielding, Shortbow, Unarmed attacks, Shock Spells, Frost Spells, Vigor Spells, or Atrophy Spells. You then choose a Secondary Expertise which are the same options except for its Spear/Shield instead of Sword/Shield, and War Mace instead of Greatsword. With each choice you get a choice of one of two abilities; except for Magic which only gets one. This changes if you choose the same Secondary as your Primary. With weapons ,if you choose the same you get the ability you didn’t choose and with Spells you get two options if you choose the same as the Primary.

Next is your choice of primary and secondary colors from a pool of twenty colors. You also choose your banner primary/secondary colors from same pool of colors, as well as your banner’s symbol from a pool of fifty-seven different ones. You then choose your name, and set your attribute points which begin at ten, but can be reduced as far as eight to add to the pool of eight bonus points you have. Said attributes and what they effect are Might (Attack/Ability and Endurance Defense, Finesse (Accuracy and Armour Deflection), Quickness (Ability/Spell Cooldowns), Vitality (Hit Points and Will Defense), and Resolve (Your Debuffs and Endurance/Will/Magic Defense). After settling your stats you work on your skills which are based on your choices from your Primary and Secondary Expertise. You have a pool of twenty bonus points to modify them as you see fit.

That is the core of character creation, and after your choose of skills you are presented with the choice of defining your part in the conquering of the tiers. You can choose to pick through a series of events, one of the preset paths favoring the two factions, or being neutral. Depending on your choices you can gain further abilities and how everyone views you when the game starts. With all of the character generation out of the way, we can move into the gameplay which really drew me in. In the traditional standard of this genre you cannot use a controller at all, and play solely using the keyboard and mouse. You move around via left clicking, and move the camera with WASD. Skills in battle have slots which are numbered 1-0, which are hot keyed to the same number on your keyboard.

Conversations are the same way, and can be either clicked through with the mouse, or via the hotkey to choose the options presented to you. As stated this is an RPG, and you do gain experience killing enemies and using skills and abilities. What’s amazing is some of the conversation options, such as one at the start of the game, will give you skill experience. In addition to the skill experience you can gain from discussions, there is also the Favor (likability, also you can lose Favor) and Wrath (hatred) that you can game for the Factions, and in addition to that you can Gain/Lose Loyalty and gain Fear with your companions. Unfortunately, you can only have four characters in your your party at a time, one of which must be yours, and you come across way more than that in the game.

Another interesting thing about the game is the spellcrafting system. You craft your own spells using runes you gather from enemies, chests, or even vendors. There come in three varieties; The Core, ones which denotes what element/class of spell it is, the Expression, which is how the spell acts, and Accents, which you can use to modify the range of the spell and so on. The more you add to a spell, the higher the Lore you need to create it and learn it. I think the maximum I made was an 80 lore spell, which is insanely high.

Returning to the topic of the battle system we touched on briefly earlier, I think now would be a good time to go into more detail about it. Outside of battle there are several ways you can modify the way battle can go, in addition to pausing mid combat. One way is to arrange the skills and items on your quickbar. Another is to set the AI of your character and your party members to how you wish them to act in battle. Also, if you have the ability to choose another character for your party, sometimes changing someone out could mean the difference between barely defeating an enemy, and absolutely overwhelming them. Otherwise battle is pretty straightforward unless you wanna to use advanced tactics like baiting a group of enemies and running to pull one or two from the group to make it easier.

Onto the graphics and audio we go, and where we stops nobody knows! Sorry about that had to do it. Anyway, the first thing I have to point out with the graphics is the splash screens they use for loading screens. I would frame most, if not all of them and hang them on my wall, they are absolutely gorgeous. In addition to the loading screens, they also have what I could compare to a moving comic book animation for intros to certain parts of the game that deliver some story. Map designs, while not as good as the load screen to me, are still above standard work for games such as this. For example, the foliage from trees and bushes give off a lifelike feel.

The audio presents three very strong fronts in this game, beside the typical ambience, and actions like opening a chest, and combat sounds. First up is the voice over for the major characters you come across in the game. Next is the background music that is present in combat, and noncombat areas. It’s completely instrumental and of quality one would expect from an A-list movie such as the Star Wars series. Finally is the voice over work for the intros I mentioned earlier in the graphics section. The person they got to do those did an outstanding job portraying the story involved in the intros.

With everything covered let’s go over some key points as I wrap this up. First up is the amazing character generation which allows for some interesting customization. The simplicity of the controls for the game is another key point. As is the spell crafting system which I thoroughly enjoyed. Let’s give it up for the outstanding voiceovers and amazing loading screen artwork. With all things considered the game actually really hit home for me and brought an outstanding contribution to the genre.

BoxCatHero gives Tyranny a Drastik Measure of 9.9 out of 10 (99).

Pros:

  • Amazing artwork and level design
  • Great character creation system
  • Interesting Spell crafting system
  • Great character voiceovers

Cons:

  • Wish there was more voiced characters

Tyranny is available on Steam for $44.99 USD.