Allan Muir takes a quick look at the latest from Focus Home Interactive.
Early in the decade around 2011 and 2012 Cyanide studios released the first official video game based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels and Game of Thrones television series (Genesis excluded). The game featured Jeor Mormont and Lord Varys (also known as the Spider) in both likenesses and voice actors Conleth Hill and James Cosmo respectively. Six years later Cyanide has another licensed project this time it’s something far more daunting: HP Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu. Published by Focus Interactive does this game retain its sanity or does it enter madness? Spoilers: it retains its sanity.
The game places you in the shoes of investigator Edward Pierce who right off the bat wakes from a bad dream. Maybe he is a pre-cog and saw Game of Thrones the Game? Who knows. He is approached by the father of a famous painter, Sarah Hawkins who brings you a painting by his late daughter which was her last work and sent three months after she perished in a fire. Hmm… something doesn’t seem right about this I better investigate err. I mean Pierce should investigate I am totally not dabbling in the dark arts but someone in this game is. You are mainly on Darkwater, a small island in Boston. Which means yes, you will encounter Bostonians with those rather odd accents. Something is clearly wrong with things when you encounter a dead killer whale that was gibbed/gutted by something far bigger but there’s nothing that can take out a killer whale in the 1920’s right?
While this game is a psychological thriller it actually has a Dungeons and Dragons style character point system that can be spent on Eloquence, Psychology, Medicine, Strength, Spotting Hidden Items, Occultism, and more. While some may complain that this is a rather short game this mechanic gives the game more life thus adding to the replayability factor. There is actually an achievement/trophy for failing a skill check which would’ve been nice to see in a certain game *cough* Fallout 3/New Vegas *cough*. Side note, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the last big Lovecraftian console game is complete dog feces compared to Call of Cthulhu: The Official Videogame there, this review has officially jumped the Landshark that was riding the tricycle. While Game of Thrones felt extremely forgettable due to the uninteresting plot and the fact that it was universally panned by critics made Cthulhu a chance to make a bigger impact with a licensed game. Like most of Cyanide’s work the animations are not up to par with the Mass Effect trilogy but much better than Andromeda.
At certain points, the game can be underwhelming but most of the time, it shines as a tale of redemption story for Cyanide Studios. I highly recommend this game as it is a great time.