Tyranny Review (extremely late)

Obsidian Entertainment’s Tyranny is a modern take on the classic role-playing-game genre of isometric games. Unlike most games where players follow the footsteps of the traditional hero, Tyranny takes place on the fantasy world of Terratus, where the evil overlord Kyros has all but taken over the many continents and countries of the world. The player takes up the mantle of a Fatebinder, one of Kyros’ highly ranked agents who is tasked to restore order and maintain Kyros’ rule throughout the world. Following the previous CRPG kickstarter success Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny’s gameplay and graphics is built upon the same engine with a greater emphasis on player choices and consequences.

One of Tyranny’s biggest and most interesting departures from traditional CRPGs is the inclusion of Conquest Mode at the beginning of the game. Here, players are able to craft the history of the world and possible achievements of their main character during the beginning years of Kyros’ takeover. This allows for different dialogues, favorable or unfavorable actions from different factions, and various unique abilities granted by actions taken during the Conquest. This allows for a high degree of playability whenever the player starts a new game.




As mentioned before, Tyranny uses the same gameplay and graphics engine as the previous title, Pillars of Eternity. I found this to be a favorable factor when playing the game, as I was shown beautiful, handcrafted worlds and characters. The dark fantasy world of Terratus felt alive and heavy, with the use of Iron Age weapons, lore, and mythology. The phenomenal voice acting in the game helped draw me in to the world and made it more believable, and the writing style used in the text-heavy dialogue is usually worth taking the time to read through. The stories and sidequests are wonderfully written as well. Obsidian uses the term dark fantasy and uses it well; these stories included themes of rape, murder, and near impossible choices to make without all the facts available to the player. This also adds some semblance of reality to the game, as it is a bit of a parallel to our world, and what humanity itself is also capable of doing.



Tyranny’s gameplay follows the traditional roles of the CRPG genre. The game plays out with the player’s small party of characters, each with their own abilities, personalities, and histories to explore. The player’s character and his interactions with the world influences the party members’ expectation and opinions of him/her, which can lead to more dialogue options, special combat abilities, influence in the game world, and possible departure from the party if their opinions of the main character is low enough. Of course, each companion’s personalities are different, meaning certain choices and dialogue options will affect them differently; for example, saving a tribal child from slaughter may gain certain affection from some party members, and negative opinions from others. This allows for a sort of dynamic play style, as some players may try to play differently in a way they are not accustomed to, in order to keep certain party members available.


During combat, Tyranny allows for players to pause the game at anytime to allow position and slot different abilities for use. This gives players the ability to analyze the battlefield and discern the best tactical response to lead them to victory. Of course, environmental factors are available as well. Dousing the area with a water ability before using an electric ability will damage all objects in the area, as well as being able to set up traps and bait to ambush enemies with wildlife or spells. The game also includes different difficulties and modes to keep the game interesting, including traditional modes such as permanent death or no advice modes for more advanced players.



Tyranny is a well thought out and interesting CRPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment. Although the game does suffer a bit from trying too large of a departure from traditional CRPG games, Tyranny still holds well enough to be enjoyed by CRPG fans.

Tropico 4 review


Inscribed layer

The mechanics of the game is quite complex. There are various external factors the player has to interact with. The game is a rough simulation of how to rule a small country in the caribbean. The game’s goal to see how long your country and reputation lasts, while maintaining order and stability in the country. The look and feel of the game responds well to how the player should go about playing the game. The game set-up allows the player to control their resources and control the type of tenants they want. After the player chooses the island they want the landscape and graphics are rendered well with a lot of detail.  The game has no general plot, it basically gives you ultimate freedom on how you want to run your island. The controls on where to build and what areas you want to dig or setup any building or factory is represented on a grid structure that color codes what type of area is good for a specific resource or location. The amount of data and statistics that the game engine runs on is amazing. Every aspect of an island has been broken down into segments that can be manipulated in the game. Playing through and understanding what my island can do was a little difficult to grasp all at once when the game started. I had to keep track of how to maintain my long term based on the island gives me. I could see my horizon of intent increasing with more options. Building relationships with international figures was a good addition to either increase your profit and also build an alliance. As long as the player completes the mini challenge or quest

Dynamic Layer

Once the game starts and you begin to build from your resources the mechanics of the game kick in. I had a island that was rich in bauxite and some iron, so I capitalized on the minerals as a natural resource to create weapons and build more factories. I figured I would want to make as much money as possible. The options in the games are bound to the island and what you can do as a dictator or ruler. The game started to get fun when the satisfaction levels of the people were measured. The more factories I build destroying vegetation, I could a spike in ecologist that were against it. Generally, trying to make money and keeping the people happy was interesting to juggle. I found that powering the cities and homes were an important factor in running an effective country. The main interests came from electricity and roads. Having the people react and in different ways was interesting to see develop over time. Any major factory or decision I made for political reasons, there was always a faction of people that were against it. I tried to balance the the overall public relation and tried not to go past 50% of disagreement among the people.

Cultural layer

The cultural aspect of the game isn’t so much as a dictator themed game, but just a world building simulator game. The “culture” of the game stems from a long line of world building simulator games like sims, rollercoaster tycoon, civilization, rome, etc. Tropico has the same feel to it when playing. There major and minor occurrences that happen during the game, and based on the player’s own cultural influence, they can run a country like North Korea or like a capitalist society. The Game makes you start off as a lowly dictator that could turn into a major economic power if played correctly. The game although might seem a little too similar to civilization or other world building simulator games. I don’t really see a die hard following of Tropico, unlike Starcraft or Sims. The cultural impact of the game, is something that might be unique to a small demographic of players. The game however captures the response of citizens quite well and keeps the dictator in check of their decisions. If the people are not happy they can have a coup or revolt and overthrow the player. The reaction of people in the game creates a special unique culture within the game. The game can be used as a historical demonstration when dictators lose control of their country or island. The game has nice message behind the ways to win and lose. I like how the “happiness” and overall satisfaction of people is a constant theme the game revolves around after a certain time. There are always people that will not like the decision I made, but I have to come to terms with it to attain larger goal that will eventually lower the people’s disagreement. Much like in reality, there is a latency effect. The plan won’t take action immediately, but overtime and with accumulation of money or resources, the plan will work.

Character feedback for Kaze

Nice job on the overall character design, thank you for taking the time to draw this! I had a different take on this character, not sure what Maia thought, but I was thinking more along the lines of a Bruce Timm type of art style. I like how you drew from inspiration of Jessica Jones, but I was thinking like a Nikita type of character, fast and nimble.
Some things to consider:
-Try to slim down the character.
-Sharper angular lines for her build.
– She’s not an actual ninja, her demeanor and skills are just similar to a ninja. She needs to move fast, like the wind, which is what kaze means in Japanese. So like a “streamlined” look.
-And maybe for her white shoes, they can act as like a blurred streak she leaves behind when shes running around.

Really like the design you did with her name and made it look like Japanese calligraphy . The scarf is a good addition, and the leather jacket is exactly the type I was thinking. Hope this helps.


World Building Project

Roll a dice.

The number rolled is the number of paper slips that will be drawn from a category.

The order of draws starts with theme, then character, and lastly, setting.

Theme Character Setting






historical fiction




opposite of Sci-fi







anthropomorphic creature







abandoned town

airplane crashed on island



ancient jungle


amusement park



las vegas

food land


Group members: Sarah Meadows, Grant Ng, Michael Roman, Emily Novitski, Maia …


Fallout 4 is part of the Fallout series which takes the player to the future in a post – nuclear world. I agree with the argument the article puts forth that although the game is engaging, it still relies mainly on violence and combat to get the player hooked. Although you start the game as a quest, you are eventually led to situations where violence and killing are the only solutions. The game appears as narrative, only superficially. The author emphasizes his point with reference to Bloodborne’s – Yhaxnam & Watch Dog’s Chicago which also lead to the bloodbath. I agree that though these games are engaging, after a point they all seem repetitive even though the characters & situations are different.

The author contrasts this with Undertake & Day Z, which helps the players interact with the world. I concur with the author that games need to improve their method of storytelling like Witcher 3. Pieces of the puzzle need to come together to complete a quest. A game should should be challenging but not necessarily always lead to combat. It could involve observing and negotiating, planning & execution of the plan. The designer must construct games which reflect human behavior in varying situations and each situation cannot always end in violence or combat.


The game that I played last week was Ghost Stories which is basically a game that has 4+ players and that work together to exorcise the ghosts that appear during the course of the game. My personal review about the game is that the game is very confusing and has to many pieces and rules/regulations! The outside packaging was what drawn me to the game. The box looked very interesting so I thought it would be fun to play but it was a mess! I didn’t like that we work together because I like competitive games and easy to grasp games.

My idea that had to merge a globe within the game was basically it will be 4 different groups and they are on earth trying to turn it into a spiritual world. In order for them to turn it into a spiritual world they must travel this perception of earth given my 2 groups trying to find important crystals. They will have to align they chakras but they must find them on the globe! 2 groups will give a subject while the other 2 groups will have to give their interpretation/visual drawing of they meaning of earth.You would use 1 dice to decide how many cards you have to pick up! (this will help you come closer to finding all the crystals) while trying to align your chakras.

Impact of a story

After reading the article, I have some points that I agree and disagree with. The story and structure of  a game does enhance a players experience being involved in a world that is novel to someone.  A lot of successful adventure games, had major success with this model. Although, I had to disagree with the point that inscribed narratives has to be apart of the game experience.  There lots of games out there that have little to no story before playing the game. I watched a youtube video where, the youtuber analyzes the game Mega Man X for the snes. This game is regarded as a classic for gamers. The first level has no story or tutorial, all you do is run, jump, and shoot. The inscribed narrative mentions the climax of the story, but instead it should measure the response of the player’s “climax” (dirty innuendo). Just because the story’s climax is happening, the same reaction won’t always be the same with the player.


When I played Witcher 3, I found the beginning to be boring. I could be at a biased point of view since I was pretty tired at the time playing it. Nonetheless, the game started out too slow. The premise was that I am a bad ass warrior who lost his girlfriend. There was a short tutorial on how to do certain moves, but the action or the story seemed like an elongated experience. When I watch a movie, I don’t want something telling me what to look at while I am watching, I want to dive right into it, and get to the juicy action. Witcher could barrow the beginning of Mega Man X, and give the player all the powers to experience first only to have it taken away from you so you can keep playing and get back to the sweet sweet action.  Witcher 3 probably had other titles that came before it, so I would assume the majority of the players played Witcher 1 and 2. The players would feel bored if they are relearning what they already know.

World building suggestion.

I haven’t really thought out the specifics of this game, but a rough estimate of the game would be to force players to work with one another in the beginning and then towards the end have to decide who to let go in order to survive in the end.

This game would be  a complex system of mapping out and creating continents and deciding what type of inhabitants will live on that continents.  The players will start out by rolling a 6 sided die, whatever the number lands on will be the size of a grid frame they will use to draw their continent. For example, if someone rolls a 4, they need to get the 4×4 (inches) grid frame and draw whatever they want within that frame anywhere on the board that cannot overlap with another continent, only isolated or adjacent to. After the continent building phase is over, the players get to choose a set of inhabitants all with special abilities. There are warriors, hunter and gatherers, pirates and explorers. Each inhabitants will have their abilities but also weaknesses. The game will be set up where each player will have to decide who to ally with. The point of the game will have to be to survive 5 rounds. Each round will have a specific event that will affect a type of inhabitant. One round could be extreme weather, sickness and disease, outside forces maybe aliens? Or be attacked by the games own continent that cant be reached, except by the pirates and explorers who may or may not die in the process.


Ari Thinks: Article Read and Mysterium

Reaction to the article:

Keeping in mind I have not Played Fall Out 4 or Witcher 3, I do have to agree on the overall idea that the article presents. The concept that violence and combat systems being heavily reliant on the narrative drive of the story is a bit redundant. The author did bring up Bloodborne, a game I so lovingly adored over the summer of my sophomore year. I never realized how right they were about the battle system and always resulting in violence was the only way to advance or push forward the narrative plot. Bloodborne had a lot of fun times, but it was only because it was calling to my more crazed and violent tendencies. There was not much about a passive or an alternative way to complete missions without having to fight. The author does keep out of the article that there are many different types of players and sometimes there are players who would prefer a challenging battle over a peaceful mission. But when building an environment and a “life like” world is what makes a narrative game more engaging. There is a good and bad. A reward and consequence. It becomes engaging when you realize that what you do really makes an impact on what is happening around you and how the story will progress. Bloodborne did have a hint of a reward and consequence in it, but it only test whether you were blood thirsty and decided to kill an NPC (the doll for example) and then miss out on certain things or missions (not being able to level up any skills at all throughout the rest of the game because once they are dead, they are dead forever.) But games where you do have control and the choice of a passive or aggressive action and has a reward or consequence really does make a big difference in designing a player experience.


Game Mechanics: The game mechanics work on people playing their roles. Ghost or the Psychics. And the ghost communicates to the Psychics about their death. A sort of who-dun-it kind of thing. And the goal is to interpret what the ghost is trying to tell you though the cards they give you. It took a bit to get into. And we didn’t get into the end phase of the round, but it was fun while we got to it.

how important are the player’s decisions to the story’s outcome: The player’s decisions heavily depend on the progression on the story and the game. So if the ghost or the psychics cannot properly convey their opinions and “visions” productively, there is no progression in the game.

How satisfying is the overall experience of the game: Overall, for what we got into during class it was pretty fun. It took a while to understand the long set up and the how to play, but I feel like once we get into the whole thing with playing a full 2 rounds it would get really fun.

what changes would I make to improve the overall story: Not really sure. We didn’t get to the “end game phase” and I didn’t really understand it when I read through the rules, but I feel like this game is heavily dependent on the end phase.