Steam Library: Tyranny

A glimpse into Tyranny

Steam is thrilled with Tyranny. If we believe the brightest comments on the game’s store page, then we have the best role-playing game of 2016, a direct successor to hardcore traditions, and a captivating epic story all in one. It seems like there is nothing else to do in the post-New Year’s lull except play the best RPG in the world, which you had no idea about.

So, we are somewhere on the border between the Bronze and Iron Ages, in a world where magic exists, and the main geopolitical player, vaguely resembling the Roman Empire, dominates its neighbors with fire, sword, and scrolls of uber-magic, personally written by the emperor. Unexpected twist: we work for this magical Rome, and our task is to crush resistance in the conquered territory. Otherwise, it will be bad for everyone, both our own and others, because thanks to the combined imperial cunning, in case of a failed campaign, everything living in the combat zone will be wiped out.

In short, we play as fundamentally bad guys. More precisely, as those who are usually depicted as bad guys in every other role-playing game. Hence, the name “Tyranny”.

A world in turmoil

In addition to its non-trivial setting, Tyranny boasts branching dialogues and other accompanying literature. In order to fully play the role of an evil emperor. Everything is very serious – entertaining reading begins already at the character generation stage, where after the standard adjustment of height/gender/weight and distribution of bonus points in the adventurer’s passport, a text fairy tale with pictures and event forks immediately begins. The essence is that our empire dominates a bunch of free provinces due to a misunderstanding, and we personally command the parade in different areas of the battlefield. Well, at the same time, we get to know the locals, of course.

Our locals are two legions, embodying clichés. The first consists of disciplined, loyal, and unremarkable, useless, and boring warriors. These guys march in formation, attack, fight their whole lives, but when the player steps onto the path of war, they can’t do anything decisively. If anyone was ever interested in seeing the kitchen of helpless rank-and-file soldiers, welcome. The second legion is simultaneously berserkers, maniacs, and cultists. That is, all that insane rabble about pathological chaos and attacks on heroes under the cheerful cries of voice actors.

The combat wings get along so well that you can barely keep them apart. The right military hemisphere just wants to plunder, the left one also wants to rape, some worship dark mages, others don’t like them (one wonders, then who is your emperor), and so on. Welcome to our army.


The literary adventure from the prologue ended with an epic burning of the ancient library, a logistical failure with the delivery of weapons, and some other feat of comparable scale. Meanwhile, legionnaires and berserkers managed to quarrel ten times and more or less make peace. Well, at the same time, your humble servant found out that the title “diplomat” listed in his career resume means “sucker” in the language of bronze fantasy. As soon as my character descended to isometric land, every first passerby invariably exclaimed: look, he’s supposed to be a diplomat, but he even looks like a human, knows how to fight, and for the second time in a row, he was sent to activate uberweapons. Miracles.

And every first passerby honestly fulfilled their role-playing duty, conscientiously retelling lectures on the history of the world, local political alignments, and their personal dramas. If you suddenly forget where you ended up and don’t understand, ask any blood-splattered crazy Amazon, and she will answer better than any encyclopedia. Everything is so detailed that in four out of five cases, the initial question is forgotten due to inexhaustible chatter, and you have to go for a second round of interviews.

Unfortunately, despite all the aforementioned happiness, the screenwriters never moved away from the beaten clichés, and suddenly it turned out that if you look at the cardboard villainous soldiers through a magnifying glass, they don’t become any less cardboard. The expected passages about “Our Truth” and “that’s just how life is” miraculously pass by the cash register. It’s amazing how the screenwriters managed to carve out such unexpressive supporting actors with such banal stories, winning themselves such a convenient starting position.

Did you want some other unexpected panorama to open up behind the picture of colorless soldiers? Nope, the soldiers soldier on, fail their attacks, wait for favorable weather, and refuse to step back from their uninteresting roles even for a step.

Tyranny's unfolding story

I want to sing a separate song about a crowd of maniacs.

You know how it goes. You’re playing another elven saga, looking at a horde of goblins and wondering why you even bother fighting with these creatures. Leave them alone for a month, and they’ll happily kill each other. They constantly fight to the death, steal from each other, disobey authority, sleep on duty, get distracted by nonsense, get high on substances that are incompatible with life, practice dangerous magic, regularly perform sacrifices, often including their own kind, and so on and so forth. There’s no need to conquer the world with such a company. Imperial berserkers behave the same way.

Outbursts of bloody idiocy up close look even dumber. A couple of times my diplomat tried to reason with the adrenaline-hungry imbeciles and got negative karma from both factions. And when he witnessed a classic Internal Dispute, he gave up and personally killed one side of the conflict. Choose your negotiators wisely after that.

Assessing the scale of the script work done and disappointed with its results, the reviewer decided to fully engage in combat and got disappointed for the second time. Any complaints about the story can be attributed to personal taste and inflated expectations from the project (after all, we have at least a pleasant prologue and an unconventional setting, which is not bad), but there is nothing to cover up the poor combat system of Tyranny. Everything is decisively bad.

First of all, during battles, units are poorly responsive. Whether it’s your own company or opponents that require individual approach, in most cases, they simply ignore the mouse. Through trial and error and rhythmic restarts, it turned out that clicking on models is useless, and you need to rely on a conditional grid on the ground that characters move along. In short, aim for their legs. If Blizzard had applied this system to Diablo with Warcraft back in the day, they would have gone bankrupt.

The second serious failure is the interface. I hate the local interface. The inventory is a mess, spell icons are clustered in the corner of the screen and are difficult to click, and every first menu is built on the principle of “the more convoluted, the better.” At least the hotkeys work. The designers’ cruel hand only spared the dialogue windows. Either the rest of the creative team was dead set against it, or sadists ran out of ideas for the screen with bonus point distribution, but the classic panel with the character’s line and a list of responses to it is a relic of the glorious role-playing games of the nineties.

Challenges await in Tyranny

Yes, by the way. The developers have a special argument in favor of purchasing Tyranny for us. It turns out that “Tyranny” is, so to speak, the Planescape Torment of our days. Or the Baldur’s Gate of our days. The successor, the grateful descendant, the continuation of the tradition, all in that spirit. In my personal opinion, Tyranny didn’t even come close to the aforementioned masterpieces.

After all, I don’t remember any other “Fallout” lagging so badly.

No, my computer is not the most powerful right now, but an i7, a previous generation “GeForce,” and 16 gigabytes of RAM are still there. Why on earth do the frames drop to 15 per second in the “cities,” and in battles it gets even worse, I still don’t understand. Look at the screenshots – where is the incredible beauty captured here that even the most modest PCs go crazy over?

The internet blames the Unity engine, but personally, it doesn’t make me feel any better.


Perhaps, one must fall in love with Tyranny. Fall in love with its world, fall in love with its atmosphere, fall in love with its monotonous darkness. Then the game will work, and everything will be fine for you. Your humble servant couldn’t fall in love and as a result couldn’t break through the abominable interface, the lagging engine, and the uninspiring dialogues. It could have been made much better, but it just didn’t work out.

Paradox Interactive
Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews