Following on from AER at Daedalic Entertainment, the second title wasn’t the first in the series but was actually part two of an ongoing narrative based on the novels by Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth. It’s a series I’ve not heard of, but after seeing the game first hand and trying it out, I was rather intrigued.
For those like myself, who haven’t played or heard of The Pillars of the Earth, it’s an ongoing story-driven adventure. Set in 12th century England, you could describe The Pillars of the Earth as a grounded Game of Thrones.
With little to no fantasy elements - that I am aware of - it focuses on politics, decision making and of course, the story is told from the perspective of multiple characters: Jack the outsider, Aliena the noblewoman and Philip the monk. It follows their story and struggles as their paths intertwine during a time of war and poverty.
Much in the same vein as a movie and TV-show, adapting a 1000+ page novel into a videogame is a tremendous task. In comparison to movies and TV-shows, where they are limited by either running time and season length - adapting it as a videogame, with enough dedication, could be more faithful as the limitation wouldn’t be length, but the cost of production.
It’s an impressive feat and Daedalic Entertainment not only wants to produce a captivating story-driven adventure but also to introduce players to a Ken Follett’s expansion series of novels. When I got the opportunity to play at gamescom 2017, I was rather haphazardly thrown into the middle of an ongoing feud between one of the main characters, where Aliena is held captive by the sadistic antagonist, William Hamleigh.
Having no knowledge of the series and story prior to playing, my attention was drawn to the visual style and gameplay. The Pillars of the Earth is traditional point and click adventure, similar to the story-driven adventures by Telltale Games.
As you journey you’ll interact with the world, speak with characters of interest and problem solve along the way. In the same way as an adventure from Telltale, The Pillars of the Earth also have moments of decision making where it affects the course of the game. Whether it be choices made through dialogue or your particular actions in the heat of the moment. It all makes for a compelling story, that not only draws you in but also provides an experience that’s different between playthroughs.
Visually, The Pillars of the Earth is beautifully crafted. With an engaging 2D art style, the 12th century is brought to life with hand-painted backgrounds alongside character designs and animations reminiscent of the classic Broken Sword titles. The voice acting is also spot on, making characters believable and they too equally bring the world to life alongside the art style.
By the end, The Pillars of the Earth: Book Two left me lost, without knowing the full narrative, there isn’t much for me to say about the story. It did though, leave me wanting to know more and see my way to checking out Book One. As for the fans, they’re in for another treat when Book Two arrives December of this year.