Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Price: $52 AUD (GOG)

Ever wondered what it was like to be evil?

Tyranny gives you a chance to be on the other side of the moral pond, so to speak.

Tyranny is the latest title by Obsidian Entertainment, that very well known purveyor of old-school roleplaying games, and published by Paradox Interactive (not to be confused with Paradox Development Studio)

Tyranny builds on all the hard work that was done in the making of their previous game, Pillars of Eternity, giving the development a lot more time into developing the setting and the concept. It is by a far more ironed out and refined product.

You play as a Fatebinder, agents who enforce the laws of your evil overlord Kyros, whose armies have overrun and conquered nearly all of Terratus, except for one corner of the land known as the Tiers, who are fighting bravely against two of Kyros’ legions- the Disfavored and the Scarlet Chorus both of whom want the glory of being the one to conquer the land, and each wanting to deny the other. Eventually tension between both armies breaks out into civil war, and amidst this strife, the Fatebinder rises to power.

The setting is probably the most developed part of the game, compared to its spiritual predecessor. The game takes a break from the bog standard Middle Ages setting, and turns the clock back to a setting that is akin to a Bronze Age world about to move into the Iron Age. In this world, iron is more valuable than gold. In a typical role-playing game, an iron sword is usually the most basic weapon you start with, but in this, iron weapons are highly prized, so its a case of the game reflecting the lore, which is a very nice touch.

The game’s approach to storytelling is going wide rather than going long, and keeps it compact. It throws you, the Fatebinder, straight into the action, with all the backstory of you and the world being done during the character creation. And from there, you decide whether you want to side with the Disfavored, or the Scarlet Chorus, or not side with anyone at all. If this is reminiscent of any game, its Fallout: New Vegas, coincidentally an Obsidian game.

The nuts and bolts largely improves on the Pillars of Eternity ruleset- cleaner and more fair, and less of the absurd occurrences where you had mages pinning people to walls and making death threats (whilst still being able to do so), or barbarians who know a surprising amount of esoteric lore and trivia. The most important is a skill system that improves as you use them, in the vein of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Magic system is now based around crafting of sigils, allowing you to customise spells and upgrade them, to a certain extent. The combat is still largely unexciting, and many of the same tactics that worked in Pillars of Eternity will work here, especially if you are playing it on the game’s most difficult setting, in which you’d have to exploit if you want to survive. That said, the Path of the Damned setting

The length of the game varies between relatively short, and long enough, depending on the choice of alliance you made in the game, and the difficulty setting. There’s plenty of replay value- wonder what would happen if you sided with so and so, or maybe you decided you want to play run, where you slaughtered everyone, it is up to you, and that’s what I loved about this game most.

You won’t be seeing the end of Tyranny just yet- no doubt additional expansions, and for those who’ve finished it, it is baiting for one.

Clayton Lin