Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

 

Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Daedalic Entertainment

Publisher:    Daedalic Entertainment       

Released:  August 2017              

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 10 32/64 bit 
  • Processor: 2.8 Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 200 series or ATI Radeon HD 6670 or equivalent with at least 1 GB video memory
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 11 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Audio with latest drivers

 

 

By flotsam

 

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

Daedalic Entertainment

I confess I havenít read the book/s but I did the see the TV mini-series several years ago and rather enjoyed it. Which meant my investment in how the game would go on delivering on this epic was limited in nature, which is either a plus or a minus, depending on your point of view.

Telling a story has always been an element of an adventure game, but the story as the primary thing has really come into its element of late. Think Telltale as perhaps the aptly named pinnacle, but there are many others, especially of the indie variety (eg The Park, Gone Home). Pillars of the Earth fits that bill, and on a much larger scale than many.

What starts on a very specific personal level, spreads into a sprawling and rich medieval tapestry, with Catholicism, politics and architecture very much central elements. The building of a grand cathedral over a  lengthy period that will outlast the builder provides the backdrop, a personally interesting coincidence as I have just returned from Barcelona, where Sagrada Familiar continues towards completion 100 years later. If there is a grander and more grandiose example of church building as both monument and inspiration, I donít know what it is. I suspect Mr Follett would be as impressed as I was.

But back to the game. 

The narrative unfolds through a number of playable characters, and there is a palpable sense of the grimness of the 12th century. The graphic style is a key element of that aesthetic, as is the colour palette, which is never other than muted and subdued. Which does not detract from the richness of detail; rather, that detail is subservient to the nature of the times in which the story is set.

The writers and designers clearly desired to convey the fascination that Follett had with architecture. They also clearly wanted the narrative to flow, and so there is no real puzzling challenge to speak of. Your goal is known, and walking and talking will generally move you forward. 

Indeed, talking and observing will result in choices, options and thoughts, all of which will either flesh out the story and/or be relevant to the path/s by which to move forward. You may not know that events are available to you if you arenít inquisitive. 

The voice acting is excellent, and imbue the characters with appropriate life. The pious Philip is to be contrasted with the nasty William, and the acting sets them at appropriate ends of the spectrum. If that is impressive, the musical score is arguably more so. I often turn it down to be background music, but that isnít the case hear. The orchestral arrangements contribute mightily to the tone of the particular events, and deserve to be listened to in their own right.

There are some confronting scenes and dialogue, including one about sexual intimidation, that are appropriate in context but which I feel it necessary to mention. There are also a very few sequences which might be described as action (click at the appropriate time to fire a slingshot) but which should in no way put off the most ardent adventure purist.

Half a dozen hours later, there is a lot more I could say about Pillars of the Earth, but I am not going to. Two more books await, and it is such a worthy endeavour I am going to deal with them in detail as a job lot. I am not suggesting this is episodic, but the first part made such an impression that I intend to binge on the lot when it is available. Well done Daedelic.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz

RAM: 32GB GDDR5

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB

 

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