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My name is Wayne Chamberlain and I'm a geek daddy who is into Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, books, movies, video games and talking to creative people about their work in these mediums. And that's what you'll find here, along with news, previews and reviews. I'm a journalist, an editor and co-host of the Star Wars Book Report podcast. So come on in and feel free to geek out in a fun, friendly environment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Game of Thrones story draws you into video game

One of the perils of working in journalism is the hours. Specifically the fact I work nights. This means, I rarely watch TV.
So, when I hear about a great TV series, I often wait to buy it on DVD. And if it’s a series with a lot of hype, I’ll often wait until there’s at least two full seasons on DVD before I dive into it.
Such is the case with Game of Thrones. I own the first season on DVD, but have yet to watch it. Waiting until Season 2 is available later this year.
So, when Atlus fired me up a copy of the Game of Thrones video game to review, I was a little concerned. I don’t want the series ruined for me. Thankfully, the game, which is available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, tells its own unique story in George R. R. Martin’s universe.
The game was written in conjunction with the popular fantasy scribe. You play as two former soldiers from a rebellion who must unite to face a threat to the Seven Kingdoms.
The story apparently parallels the first season of the show, so while it tells a unique tale, you do interact with characters from Game of Thrones, namely Cersei Lannister, Qhorin Halfhand, Jeor Mormont, Varys and Chataya.
I can’t attest to whether those interactions are true to the show’s characters. But I can say that the journey you embark on in the game is the real highlight. The story is completely engrossing and you are tasked with making moral choices that shape your own character’s journey.
I love story-driven games, so the fact the plot of this game, advanced by character-driven cutscenes, gives you a meaty treat to gnaw on for hours, I enjoyed my virtual trip into the Song of Ice and Fire universe, as Martin’s creation is known.
Unfortunately, the actual combat and some of the NPC (non-player character) interactions are actually a little weak, especially when compared to other games in this genre, such as Elder Scrolls’ Oblivion and Skyrim franchises.
Despite the weak combat and the repetitive NPC dialogue, the story is so engrossing, the world so fully fleshed out and the cutscenes so captivating that most gamers will stick with this tale.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Rated M.
N n n
Here’s a quick look at another title currently available:
* Zumba Fitness Rush (Xbox 360; Majesco): Use your Kinect to turn this title into your own personal trainer. There are 42 routines, including 10 specifically for the Kinect. The music is pumping, you can play with a friend in a two-player mode, track calories burned and even create your own workouts.
As far as weight-loss games go, this one is a solid, lively entry.
Rating: 3.5 stars. Rated E-10+
* Country Dance All-Stars (Xbox 360; GameMill Entertainment): Not a big fan of loud, adrenaline-pumping, bass-thumping dance music? Well, here’s a chance for country music fans to kick up their heels and dance to more than 30 hit songs, whether you play alone or with a friend. The game supports Kinect. As for the music, you’ll find cuts by the likes of Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Sugarland, Johnny Cash, Miley Cyrus, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Miranda Lambert and more.
Rating 3 stars. Rated E-10+

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