Impressions and Features Revealed in Paradox’s stream of “Tyranny”

Gamers were provided a sneak peak into the world of Tyranny, Obsidian Entertainment’s latest RPG title from Paradox Interactive. Similar to its predecessor, Pillars of Eternity, and others, such as the classic RPG Baldur’s Gate, Tyranny has players take on the role of their own customized protagonist that they navigate through an engrossing setting and engaging plot.

On the surface, Tyranny is very similar to Obsidian’s prior title, but offers a number of changes and additional features. The first of these changes takes place during character creation. After standard character creation is complete such as appearance, basic history and the allotment of skills and attributes, gamers then can choose to complete “conquest mode” where the player is presented with a series of choices that will determine specific details of the game world and also place their character in the world with a rich backstory and established relationships with different characters and factions within the game.

This is a refreshing addition to a very typical RPG trope which often sets the player character as an outsider discovering the world for the first time. And although incredibly successful in some instances, such as Morrowind, it is a welcomed change to see something different employed in the RPG genre.

Within this series of choices that spans the three year conquest, players will learn about the world and the two primary factions that exist within the Kyros Empire: the Disfavored and the Scarlet Chorus. The Disfavored seem to be more militaristic and traditional in their use of force, whereas the Scarlet Chorus seems, at first glance, to be more aligned to the use of subterfuge. The variety of choices and how this prologue plays out allows for a significant amount of replayability that seems to have been a key focus for the developers. Of course, players can choose one of several “quick start” options if they want to forgo this decision-making process and jump straight into the game.

Once in game, effects of the conquest will be made available through green-colored tooltips that explain elements of the world’s lore that are known to the player-characters, but likely not to the players themselves. These help to avoid those lengthy explanations offered by NPCs that are often burdensome, but also somewhat immersion breaking (when do people really sit down and explain an entire continent’s history to you right after you first meet?)

The actual game world itself is very similar in tone and atmosphere to Obsidian’s 2015 title, Pillars of Eternity: grim, dark and brutal. Even though there is no “Corpse Tree”, it would certainly not be out of place in the world of Tyranny. It also stays away from the typical good-evil dichotomy as the main quest seems to revolve around the player securing the legacy of a (seemingly) tyrannical Empire – the “how” of course, is up to the player. To add a sense of urgency, actions in-world can yield timed events that, if failed, can result in an early end-game state for the player. Whether this is simply a “game over” or an impromptu resolution is not yet known.

Once in game, at first glance Tyranny is very similar to other isometric RPGs. Gameplay and combat is mixture of real-time and turn-based action with players utilizing attacks, skills and spells to vanquish their foes. Dialogue options and interfaces are very similar to prior titles, but there are also some noticeable additions.

The first is more in-depth information about enemies during combat, allowing the player to strategize more extensively to efficiently take on their enemies. The second is an interesting feature referred to as “companion combos”, which are special attacks and abilities that produce powerful results as two characters interact with one another to execute the ability.

Further impressions suggest that melee-focused characters may be more viable than their counterparts in Pillars of Eternity and that there will be a variety of schools of magic that feature, among others, elemental and healing magics.

All-in-all, early indications point to another successful RPG creation by Obsidian Entertainment, as they continue to build upon the success of Pillars of Eternity and produce story-driven content, created in the mold of the classic late-1990s Baldur’s Gate and other similar titles.

Paradox has promised future streams that will reveal further details about this title, but the game itself is set for release on November 10th, 2016.

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