During my time at gamescom I went to see what Paradox Interactive has upcoming. In what felt like a secret entrance, I was taken to an outside location to see what Obsidian Entertainment has been cooking up. What I saw impressed and revitalised my interest back in the isometric RPG akin to Baldur's Gate.
I had the opportunity to play and talk with a couple of the developers of Tyranny, the upcoming RPG from Obsidian Entertainment. Developed by the same team that brought us Pillars of Eternity, fans will be pleased to know that Obsidian haven’t compromised on quality and have crafted an original and intriguing RPG. The build I got to play was pre-alpha and did contain a some bugs, but the overall experience was solid.
Tyranny takes place in a high fantasy world with a dark tone closer to the style of Game of Thrones. The world is already overrun and ruled by the Overlord Kyros. Taken by force the world now is ruled with an iron fist. You play as a Fatebinder, a high ranked office of Kyros’ order. Under the new order, factions are separated across the lands, with many in chaos with one another, your role has you become judge, jury and executioner as you travel across the lands bringing order and maintaining balance. This isn’t a story of good and evil as evil has already won, but is a story of progress and change where your actions will change the course of the world.
While talking with the developers I was handed the controls and placed in the middle of an instance, which allowed me to take an opportunity to try out the key features of the gameplay and experiment with the spell system.
My team comprised of a rogue, warrior and healer. Those who have played Pillars of Eternity will have a grasp of the controls straight away. The game uses an isometric view point with point and click controls. Lore, Athletics and Subterfuge are your main skills and they affect your character and party in many different ways. As the Fatebinder you are not defined with a class, your characters abilities are defined by how you play. Weapons, armor and spells can be found and can be used by any means, but they still hold certain requirements. The Fatebinder I was playing as had a focus of Lore meaning that he was a very capable and powerful mage. All members have Lore, but others have higher skill in other abilities. Others in my party had skills in Athletics, the warrior and Subterfuge, the rogue.
As you are classless, you can change your style throughout and your skills will raise depending on which skills you focus upon. Throughout your journey you will encounter other NPC’s that, depending on your choices, can join your party but other actions and decisions can have an impact on your party and the quests you’ll have available. You may not always have a healer, warrior or rogue in your party and you will have to adapt.
Combat is tactical with the option to pause before engaging to plan out your strategy. The enemies I fought had a number of weaknesses and strengths, these vary from weakness to fire to protection against lightning, furthermore abilities can be backed by combining your abilities with a teammate to create a power combo attack. You have adapt and manage your spells effectively, this can be used extensively with the ability to craft your own spells.
When crafting your own skills, secrets within the world can offer you lore about the world and new spells, called Sigils. You can have a variety of options to create unique spells. You start with a base sigil, whether it be fire, lightning or ice etc, you then chose the area of effect; it can be ranged or close quarters, finally you can choose the damage output, whether you want it to be instant damage or cause consistent damage over time, but you do need to bare in mind that the more detailed and powerful you craft the higher the Lore requirement will be. It’s a very indepth system and as the development continues the team promise more customisation throughout.
So far what I’ve experienced has been enjoyable. It’s been a long time since I’ve played an isometric RPG such as this and I know that fans of Obsidian’s previous RPG’s will be eager to jump in and explore this new lore driven RPG for many hours. Obsidian Entertainment plans release Tyranny later this year for PC, Mac OS and Linux.