Reigns: Game of Thrones Review
Having loved the snappy “dialogue” from the first game, I was worried that Reigns: Game of Thrones would lose some of the heart and wit that it was known for being tied to a huge licensed property. Having now played a bunch of it, I can say that these two being connected makes for a surprisingly perfect match. Reigns: Game of Thrones brings together the familiar stylings and branching narrative of the original game but layers in all the vast characters, lore and setting of the hit HBO series. Brilliant writing from Leigh Alexander, Tamara Alliot and François Alliot, who shined in the original Reigns, continues as you mull about virtual Westeros.
The foundation of the Reigns card system lends itself amazingly well to the breakneck twists and turns we’ve become used to in the HBO series. Keeping and maintaining the balance between the needs of your kingdom’s finances, subjects, and interpersonal relationships is still at play. The added benefit of being able to manipulate these while embodying fan favorite characters like Daenerys, Lady Sansa and others gives fans of the series a bite-sized version of the Monday morning quarterbacking that most of them crave, while giving Reigns fans that sense of structural familiarity they’re used to.
As you progress you’ll open up new story beats, unlock new well-known characters to take the Iron Throne and quests to complete. Doing so doesn’t feel tedious or like a waste of time. In fact, missing a crucial thread made me feel pretty excited to keep pushing, even when I hit a death state. Speaking of the death states, one of my only gripes about the Reigns series is that you’ll still often find yourself making what you believe is a reasonable decision only to find yourself randomly under the blade of a falling guillotine. You still really aren’t given reasons why certain decisions you make end in your own personal Red Wedding and that can be super frustrating when you’re in the middle of a long reign. I hope in future games you are given some kind of hint as to why a decision is good or bad besides the size of the circle over one of the four economies you manage.
One addition I did really enjoy was being able to choose who would take the throne from the characters I’d already unlocked after I’d died. Although the game doesn’t necessarily have what you call conventional “save slots”, it felt like an appropriate way to frame that I was able to continue some of what I was doing before with the person who just unfortunately passed.
Overall, this is a fantastic addition to both the Reigns and Game of Thrones franchises and although I’ve yet to unlock all of Westeros’s malcontents, miscreants and manipulators, I continually feel compelled to jump back in and see how I can maneuver myself, my kingdom and my fate toward one where we can defeat the White Walkers and maintain the symbiotic but trepidatious political balance that the Game of Thrones world is known for.
The author of this Reigns: Game of Thrones review was provided with a review code on behalf of Nerial and Devolver Digital. To find out more about the game, visit Reigns’ official website.