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    dkirschner's Tyranny (PC)

    [October 29, 2021 05:46:48 PM]
    This is all I've played since the semester began and, though I wish I had more free time during the semester, this was a good way to spend most of my alone time. I had been looking forward to this because it built upon the excellent Pillars of Eternity, which I played some of over the summer, and it has a unique "play as a bad guy" angle. It's actually far more nuanced and has the most interesting story I've come across in ages. Here's the gist:

    Kyros, the Overlord, is in the process of conquering the Tiers, part of his long campaign to bring order to (as far as I can tell) the known world. His armies are led by the Archon of War (Graven Ashe) and the Archon of Secrets (the Voices of Nerat). The Overlord him/herself is an enigmatic, god-like being, never seen, but who rules through his hierarchy of servants. Archons are people who have attained some supernatural powers and renown and who govern others in the Overlord's domain. Another Archon--the Archon of Justice--is named Tunon the Adjudicator. This is your boss. You are a Fatebinder, someone who administers the Overlord's justice on behalf of Tunon. So begins the game.

    You are tasked getting the Archons of War and Secrets to work together to complete the domination of the Tiers. They have been fighting with each other, delaying the Overlord's conquest. Time to end this silliness. The Overlord sends you to read an "Edict," which will cast a powerful spell over the land that, unless the Edict's terms are fulfilled, will have a bad outcome. Edicts are how Kyros wields ultimate power. He has cast them on various swaths of land and wreaked havoc on crops, made whole regions shattered and uninhabitable, incinerated the sages' library and destroyed the knowledge within, doomed royal families, and annihilated entire armies. With this Edict, Kyros declares that unless a rebellion (the one still occurring because the Archons are squabbling) is quashed within a set time limit, everyone in this region will die (including his armies, you, the Archons--everyone). Thus, you have make the Archons fall in line.

    This is a bulk of the game, navigating between the two Archons' armies, the two main factions, as you oversee the rest of the Overlord's conquest. Graven Ashe's army, the Disfavored, are regimented soldiers, a big family, with Graven Ashe the father figure. Graven Ashe himself protects his soldiers with magic; if they are wounded, he can heal them, make them fight through pain. They are small, tough, and loyal. Voices of Nerat's army, the Scarlet Chorus, are a brutal mass of blood-thirsty conscripts. The army is made up of numerous gangs that are constantly at each other's throats. It's survival of the fittest. When they take over a village, they force the people to join or die. Maybe they force them to kill their families to prove themselves. Voices of Nerat himself is one of the most interesting characters ever. He basically kills people and absorbs them into himself, leading to like a schizophrenic, anti-social personality (well, a bunch of personalities). He's incredibly cunning. The armies couldn't be more different, but the Voices of Nerat and the Scarlet Chorus are so damn creative that I sided with them almost immediately as soon as I got the chance to pick a side.

    In typical CRPG fashion, you recruit followers along your quest, all of whom have their own goals and storylines. Your first two are a member of each army, and you later get a sage, a beastwoman, an elemental mystic, and the Archon of Song. Verse and Barik (the Scarlet Chorus and Disfavored members, respectively), Lantry (the sage), and Sirin (the Archon of Song) are all extremely interesting and well-written. Barik, for example, was encased in an iron mangle of flying weapons and armor when fighting the battle during which Kyros declared the Edict of Storms (which basically annihilated everyone on the battlefield and continues as a raging and impassible vortex). During your journey with him, you learn about how in the world this happened to him and you can try to "free" him of his iron prison. He doesn't want this though because he sees his armor as a symbol of his allegiance to Graven Ashe (who protected him with it). I pushed ahead with the quest to remove it though, against his will (which felt like a violation of trust and of his body and made me uneasy), and he was grateful in the end (though I also killed Graven Ashe, which Barik did not enjoy). Sirin, the Archon of Song, has a beautiful voice like a siren through which she can persuade people to do things. When Kyros became aware of her, he took her into his empire's power structure. When she attempted to manipulate him, he strapped a helmet on her that muffled her power and gave her to the Voices of Nerat, who kept her as a pet and tortured and abused her. I forget how she got away from him, but she winds up in your party and is basically a bard class. Also in typical Obsidian fashion, the dialogue--in addition to the story--is impeccable. I read nearly every line of text in the entire game. Well, almost impeccable because the beastwoman character (their whole existence, really) was a weak point. I actually fed her to the Voices of Nerat trying to gain his allegiance (it didn't work and she was dead for nothing, oops!).

    So, you go about choosing a side and basically making them look good to Tunon while making the other side look bad. can betray everyone. I don't know how many endings there are, but a really cool thing about Tyranny is that you amass your own power, and what you do with it is up to you. You gain renown as you discover "spires," ancient, mysterious towers used by a civilization before Kyros's time. As you claim spires, you gain more followers, abilities, and so on. Finally, once you have all 5 spires, well, you've gotten Kyros's attention. You're a little more powerful than anyone anticipated you would become. I won't spoil the magnificent events that occur in the last act toward the end of the game, but my goodness, what epic story turns.

    The gameplay itself is nothing special. It works, it's fun enough, but I played for the story, and spent most of my time reading. If you've played any CRPG like Pillars of Eternity or the old Baldur's Gates and Icewind Dales, it'll be completely familiar. Oh, there is a cool spell crafting system where you basically mix and match attributes (e.g., spell distance, power, duration, how many targets, cooldown, etc.) all with different intensity levels and corresponding resource costs to make the spells that serve your purposes. The only ones I really created were powerful healing and buffing spells that Lantry, the sage and my healer, used. Once I took time to play with spell crafting, honestly, I never died again. You can make some POWERFUL stuff.

    So that's Tyranny! Fantastic CRPG and highly, highly recommended if you like the genre.
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    dkirschner's Tyranny (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 1 September, 2021

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 23 October, 2021

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Cool intro and setting, playing as a bad guy. -------- Phenomenal story. Love this game.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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