It’s rare that a game will make me feel tense. Normally I needn’t be afraid if I bump into a small pocket of resistance. I always have numerous means available to me for dispatching them. But in Far Cry 4’s Escape from Durgesh Prison DLC when I’m moving through the undergrowth, narrowly avoiding a rhino, and I see a squad of Pagan Min’s loyalists, complete with a heavily armoured machine gunner in the back, I’m worried, worried that my knife and pistol won’t be enough to take them out. When I bungle a stealth takedown and the big guy spots me I don’t have a choice. I run, making a dash for the nearby cliff edge and diving into the river below, making sure to be wary of the demon fish beneath the surface.
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Crusader Kings 2 is a game of maps, faces and family life, but don’t let that put you off. It may bombard you with a mass of unknown names such as ‘Count Emmo of Loon’ and wacky phrases like ‘de jure ducal claim’ but make no mistake, this is no mere history lesson (though it is helpful on that front). It’s basically the Sims if it were made by Paradox Interactive (don’t quote me on that). Crusader Kings 2 is all about political intrigue and family management (and a bit of war, if you’re unable to avoid it). You’ll spend most of your time sucking up to your superiors, arranging marriages for your children, excommunicating your spouse, deterring rebellions and deciding on memorable names for your children (I called one Pikachu, I immediately regretted it). It can all be a bit overwhelming; the game has many systems I still don’t understand or make use of and the tutorials don’t do a great job of explaining the technology and building systems. It can help to play in an environment you’re more familiar with.
It perhaps says something about the British secondary school education system that I’m probably more knowledgeable about the history of Westeros than I am about Europe in the Dark Ages. Like the majority of gamers, it seems, I’m a big fan of the Song of Ice and Fire books/the Game of Thrones TV show. As with most every modifiable game set before the 1700s or in a fantasy world CK2 has a Game of Thrones mod, and it’s a wonder. The game adds hundreds of familiar and not so familiar characters, tons of new mechanics and a big ol’ Westerosi map (with the other locations set to arrive later). This a short account of one of my attempts to play the Game of Thrones.
This should contain no spoilers for anything beyond the point at which the first series of the show/the first book ended, my own plot deviated pretty quickly from old George’s.