I had been hoping to have a full review of A Game of Thrones: Genesis ready for you today, but unfortunately after working fine for the first couple of days, the game has now decided it no longer wishes to launch. Reinstalled it a couple of times, nothing seems to help. Looking on the Steam/Official forums, it appears some other people are having a similar issue (.exe runs for a few seconds then disappears).
The handful of hours that I played, I enjoyed… as an ASOIAF fan. Genesis comes to the table with a handful of very interesting concepts and mechanics for an RTS that are incredibly appropriate to the setting. I was definitely psyched about the game’s campaign, wherein you get to take part in some of the major events in Westeros in the thousand or so years before the books. Just getting to take part in that world and its lore in a new way is an instant nerdgasm for me.
Speaking strictly as a gamer though, it felt like AGOT:Genesis was pretty rough around the edges. Little annoyances (the fact that it won’t even run not withstanding) detract from the things that the game does well. Icons on units are tiny, and confusing, often making it difficult to tell who’s who when zoomed out. And the game begs you to be zoomed out with all of the different things you need to be watching/looking for.
Cyanide Studios signed on to make this game back in 2009, so I can’t imagine the game was rushed, but for some reason it feels that way. To top it all off, there has been practically no press or hype about this game leading up to its launch. Personally, I think the game could have benefitted from another six months of development, to launch during the video-game dry season. Why they opted try and launch against triple-A titles in the heart of holiday season is beyond me, but it’s going to result in this game being overlooked and passed over.
It’s not a bad game, but it doesn’t really stand out unless you’re absolutely in love with all things Seven Kingdoms. Maybe that’s the only audience they cared about capturing, and if that was the case, I’d say mission accomplished. If you love the books like I do, that love and interest in the setting will make up for the small gameplay issues and many typos in AGOT: Genesis.
However, if your familarity with A Game of Thrones ends with the HBO series, I can’t honestly imagine you’re going to be happy having spent $40 on this game.
The same developer is producing a Game of Thrones RPG, due out in a couple of months. Right now, it’s in the exact same boat. Absolutely no information about the game aside from a screenshot or two, no hype, no press, no excitement. It’s probably going to quietly release and die, the same way AGOT: Genesis is doing, and that’s unfortunate. George R. R. Martin’s work deserves better representation in the video game space than that.