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My feedback so far: everything takes too long. Sorry. I realize that two factors are at work here: (a) the programmers want people to buy speed ups, and (b) there is only so much story already done to work with so there is a need to pace us as we make our way through the narrative.
I'm not saying those things aren't important. I am saying, everything takes too long. Five minutes would be enough to give me the sensation of time going by; 45 minutes is just silly. I hit these points where everything is busy and it's half an hour until I can move on in any of the tracks I'm on and it's just frustrating.
I understand that tension is what a game is supposed to generate, and frustration is part of that tension... I've designed a lot of games myself. But a good game creates tension and then releases it in a satisfactory fashion. This is what we mean when we call a game or a book or a movie or a TV show 'good'... it creates tension, and then releases that tension in a manner we find satisfactory. If it doesn't create tension, it's boring. If it does create tension but does not release that tension in a manner we find satisfactory, then we find it frustrating, or we think the ending sucked, or whatever. Creating tension, and then releasing it satisfactorily, is the key to everything. If you can do that, you can make a million bucks in Hollywood, or, probably, in game design. But it's not as easy as it seems.
Creating tension is easy. Anyone can do it. The dollar bins at every book store, at every Game Stop, in the movie section of every Target and Wal-mart, are full of games and books and movies that created tension but did not release that tension in a satisfying fashion. Many video games rely on flashy graphics, awesome sound quality, terrific playability, tie ins to extremely popular fictional properties, to get by and generate revenue... just as many movies rely on nifty special effects, lots of violence, and boobies to sell tickets. But it still all comes down to -- does it create tension (which is easy, but many movies and games still fuck it up) and, having created that tension, does it release it in a satisfactory manner? This last bit is where all the money is. If it does, it's a great game/movie/book/whatever. If it doesn't... ultimately, it's a failure and a disappontment.
(It's worth noting that in terms of this game's source material, the jury is still very much out regarding whether or not this is a 'good' story or not. George R.R. Martin is producing a wonderful reading experience, but he's also kind of working a very elaborate con on us. Over the course of twenty years now, he's given us this extremely long drawn out process whereby all he's really done is the first part -- creating tension. That's all A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE has been so far... here's a cool setting. Here's all this nifty mysterious shit going on... the weird seasons, the bizarre monsters up Beyond The Wall, the apparent growing conflict between stasis and change/order and chaos/ice and fire... plus, all the personal mysteries regarding Jon Snow's lineage and Tyrion Lannister and what the hell is up with that stupid horn Sam is carrying around and a hundred other questions. It's all creating tension. Martin has done a masterful job of it... but can he release that tension in a satisfying manner? Can he give us a conclusion to this story that successfully resolves all of these mysteries and enigmas, that ties all of these various storylines and character bits and plot devices all together, and can he do it in a way that will satisfy us... which means, basically, in a way that (a) no one sees coming, but (b) when he finally presents it, everyone facepalms themselves and says "Of COURSE!!!! I should have seen that! That's BRILLIANT!!!"
Personally, I doubt he can do it... he's obviously already revising whatever his original plans and directions were for the characters and the story... he's obviously gone back and done this many times so far. Apparently, whenever Martin goes out on the internet and reads some post where some fan successfully guesses a plot development Martin has in mind, Martin throws a monumental hissy fit, rips up all the unpublished pages he's already done establishing that particular story direction, and starts over, because he just can't stand it when someone guesses what he's planning to do. And given that he obviously ego-searches the Internet constantly, this means that finishing this story is... well... unlikely, to say the least.
And the idea that he can possibly tie all these thousand thousand different threads up together in a manner that is satisfying and consistent... nah. There's no way.
But it doesn't matter, because the way he dicks around, he'll be dead before the next book is even finished. And in the meantime, this extended exercise in creating tension that we all call A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE has given George R.R. Martin about the most wonderful old age anyone could ever ask for. All his books are back in print, he gets paid vacations to Cons all over the world, he's got movie deals and commercial tie ins falling out of his ass, he's got hundreds of thousands of new sycophants and tons and tons of money... and if those few of us who have actually read his pre-GAME OF THRONES work kind of suspect that the man simply does not have the talent to write a finished ANYTHING that really satisfies... well, clearly, we're in the minority.
I don't think he really WANTS to finish the story. There's no real incentive for him to do it. There's no way he does it in a way that makes even a majority of his fans happy, and as soon as he does finish it, people stop paying attention to him. The money dwindles, but he's got to have enough of that to last him another hundred years he isn't going to live.
Mostly, though, he'll lose all the attention. No one will be inviting him to cons any more, and there won't be any more articles calling him "the American Tolkien".
No, I'm pretty sure Martin will die... very happily... before he ever wraps this thing up.
But if I'm wrong, there's simply no way he's going to release all the tension he's generated in a satisfactory fashion. The real Tolkien couldn't do it. C.S. Lewis couldn't do it. Roger Zelazny couldn't do it.
Sure as shit the guy who wrote TUF VOYAGING and THE ARMAGEDDON RAG can't do it.)
As to this game... so far, it generates tension fine. But when it comes to releasing tension satisfactorily... um... no. No, not so much.
This one aggravates me for half an hour, 45 minutes at a time, and then... hardly anything happens. I just move on to the next thing.
I'm also finding it tedious, skipping over all the actual adventuring and fighting and cool interactions.
In fact, now that I think of it, I don't want to run a Lord in Westeros. I want to run Kirth, that bard guy. He does all the cool stuff. And I want more details on what he does. I want the fights and the seductions and the sneaking around getting info. I don't want to run my mill and build a sept and all that nonsense. I'm not here to build and maintain a keep. I want to adventure.
Now, there may very well be people out there who like all the household stuff... God knows, Farmville is popular enough, and I'd never play it. But my feedback is, I just want to play Kirth.