While at E3 I had the opportunity to play a guided demo of Obsidian’s upcoming game, Tyranny. They’re taking the basis of Pillars of Eternity and have created a whole new game that takes place after the bad guys have already won. In true RPG fashion, you can keep on going with the bad guys, as your player character helped them win before, or go against them.
Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to play Pillars of Eternity myself, so what follows may sound exactly like how some things worked in that game.
You get your standard party of four, which can be full of the archetypes we all know and love—the mage, rogue, tank, etc. However, you aren’t bound by your class in Tyranny in that you’ll start off geared towards certain skills and abilities, but you can make them whatever you want as you progress through the game.
As far as Tyranny being a CRPG, it functions just about as you would expect. You can pause the battle at any time to issue commands to units, queue up abilities, etc. What’s interesting in Tyranny is that there are abilities where you team up with another member of your party to unleash a more devastating attack, that usually has some sort of debuff for your enemy. For example, one knocked an enemy down and put a bleeding effect on them. Other than that, it was pretty standard fare with the various archetypes handling as you would expect: mage with spells, tank holding enemies’ attention, etc.
The most intriguing part is the story and choices you make. In the short demo I played, there were several outcomes that could have happened depending on the dialogue choices I had made. It was a point where my party, in allegiance with the Scarlet Chorus, was attempting to take over a fortress, so we had to make our way in, kill enemies, and then force our way into the keep itself. The fortress was being controlled by a group of rebels, while also being infiltrated by a rival faction, the Disfavored, and my group was trying to win it over for ourselves. Depending on where I went, I could have sided with the rebels, went over to the Disfavored, or just said to hell with them all—or of course just taken it over like the original plan.
Throughout my time playing, character perception and choice were emphasized in how the world will react to your player character depending on dialogue choices and other choices you have made previously. That’s pretty standard and expected in RPGs, especially CRPGs, but Obsidian stressed that a lot of the story and events will change due to your choices. Unfortunately, I didn’t play long enough to see much more beyond what was described above.
One of the neater, small things to me was that when certain names, factions, places, etc. were referenced in dialogue, you could hover over them to get more info. So, hovering over “Kyros” would tell you that he’s the all powerful emperor in charge of everything who you serve (or rebel against if you so choose).
My time with Tyranny was short, and so far seemed familiar to me with my CRPG experience, but I did find the world very compelling. A surprising amount of history and depth is there and the setting seems ripe for difficult choices, interesting stories, and colorful characters. Again, while I did not play Pillars of Eternity, I would expect if you enjoyed that, you’ll enjoy Tyranny.More About This Game