Tyranny Review: A Fine Line Between Good And Evil


Being accustomed to a world where good unfailingly triumphs over evil, Tyranny takes the reigns on a whole new perspective – what happens when the tables have been turned and the forces of evil have prevailed? Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, Tyranny features a realm led by Kyros the Overlord and a hunger to conquer the world. Unique stories that branch from the choices made by the Fatebinder mold the future of many. A substantial amount of power lies heavy in the Fatebinder’s hands, including seeking out loyalty, embellishing fear, or leading an independent party to victory. Choice is everything that shapes Tyranny into an entirely new RPG experience, and it is extraordinary.

Having dived into a decent chunk of Tyranny, to state that I am pleased with its gameplay, nonetheless the visuals, is an understatement. Though weary at first, I was eventually put in my place. I had heard through the grapevines that Tyranny was to bargain more than just your typical RPG experience. Eager to test the waters, personalizing my Fatebinder into the badass that she is was empowering. After spending an embarrassing amount of time choosing definitive attributes and a class that best suited my Fatebinder, Tyranny prompted two choices: Conquest or Quick Start.

Seeing as I hadn’t yet tipped my toes in Tyranny, Conquest better outlined a personal background to my Fatebinder. Varied occasions in Kyros’ Conquest demanded I decide my Fatebinder’s role in the invasion; some decisions were blindly made. Oops. Conquest is almost like reading a “choose your own adventure” book coupled with a customizable history. Admittedly, I felt indubitably lost in the terminology at first. Who was the Scarlet Chorus or the Disfavored? Tyranny is a learn-as-you-go experience, but also presents a well-rounded explanation on any term that may raise an eyebrow.

tyranny battle

The beautifully rendered environment was the first among many features that got a respectable head nod

Originally, the UI appeared a bit complicated, but the tutorial pop-up boxes diffuse most confusion – you just have to be patient enough to read through them. I learned that the hard way, of course. Not to mention, a lot of Tyranny actually reads like a descriptive story. Though the significant characters typically voice their thoughts, many conversations are played out as what would be displayed between the lines of a well written novel. The dialogue is brilliant, conveying emotions and the disposition of characters through vivid descriptions.

As I previously mentioned, Tyranny is constantly prompting decisions that must be made. The Fatebinder’s response is what shapes the intensity of any conversation, granting either loyalty or fear. Good deeds are typically frowned upon, which makes sense considering the Fatebinder is a villain and all. There is no such thing as making everyone happy in Tyranny. Alliances are either made or the Fatebinder claims independence and goes rogue – it’s awesome. For example, if I happened to partner with the Scarlet Chorus and grew bored, I could break my alliance instantaneously.

The course of the story lies entirely in the Fatebinder’s hands, as well as the fate of many “could be” companions. Along the way, my Fatebinder stumbled upon a brute wolverine warrior. Using strategic dialogue choices, she was recruited to assist in my cause rather than end up a slaughtered mess. It’s actually very endowing, determining who lives and serves by your side, or rather dies by the Fatebinder’s blade. Talk about being in total control.

The Combination Of Strategy And Companion Combinations Produce One Hell Of A Fight

Obviously the Fatebinder is already kicking some ass, but with the assistance of another blood-hungry savage, acting in unison can execute a more aggressive attack. Watching it pan out can be riveting, too. Before a battle is initiated, taking advantage of the real-time-with-pause combat to plan attacks and spells is recommended. Otherwise attempting to wing it can result in some serious chaos. Annoyingly, selecting a foe to attack is more work than it should be. The pointer has to be hovering in a precise manner over the enemy, otherwise the attack won’t be executed and your hopes and dreams will perish.

Battles aren’t normally cut and dry – most require time and patience. The Fatebinder can’t consistently attack an enemy, but has to wait for the cooldown to conclude in order to proceed. Tactically planning the party’s next moves is beneficial, yet battles can be prolonged depending on the difficulty and number of foes. Patience is essential, folks, and I swear the wait is worth it. When the Fatebinder’s party has wounds that need to be healed, resting is applicable – if the Camping Supplies are acquired. Fortunately, resting is available whenever the Fatebinder wants to kick back and relax.

Tyranny Is An Experience Unlike Any Other

Walking in the leather boots of the bad guy is both comical and empowering. When the richness of power gets to your head (and it will), a mode titled “Trial Iron” will abolish that ego in no time, proposing that players only get one save. Progression is lost and the saved game is wiped clean if the Fatebinder’s party meets its demise. So there’s that, too. Granted, flaws are also present. The loading time of booting up a saved game took far too long, sometimes resulting in the game crashing. Nothing a reboot can’t fix.

It’s no doubt that Tyranny’s replay value is through the roof. Undergoing everything Tyranny has to offer in one playthrough isn’t probable – the possibilities appear endless. Alliancing with the merciless Scarlet Chorus is a completely different route than holding hands with the Disfavored, but that’s what molds Tyranny into such an exceptional RPG. Not only is the storytelling aspect dazzling, but each character has a distinctive personality that directly corresponds with the happenings of Tyranny.

Regardless of the choices made by the Fatebinder, evil continues to conquer and develop into one hell of a journey.

Amanda has been obsessed with the video game industry since she mustered through an array of nearly impossible Sega Genesis games. When she's not writing, you will typically find her with her gaming computer, eating pizza, or watching Dragon Ball Z.