For those of us left with what seems like a gaping wound in our souls since the last episode of Game of Thrones aired, there has been a desire to fill that void with something familiar. Something to while away the months until we return to Westeros. Something to feed the fantasy addiction.
Video game fans are particularly spoilt in this department, but for those who haven’t had a chance to enjoy some of the best in the fantasy genre, now is the perfect time. With each game listed having hundreds of hours of gameplay to enjoy, perhaps it is time for you to develop another obsession while you wait for the return of Game of Thrones.
Originally released in 2011, Skyrim has since been regarded as the ‘granddaddy’ of modern RPGs. Most fantasy gaming fans should know this game pretty well by now, but for those who don’t, Skyrim is set in the Elder Scrolls universe, where you play the part of the Dragonborn who has been sent to save the world from the impending return of the once deceased dragon scourge. While Skyrim may look a little dated these days when compared to its more modern rivals, there is still something very special about the way Skyrim drew the player into its giant world, and with a recently release special edition, updated graphics and mod support, there is still good reason for seasoned players to venture back to the home of the Nords too.
With a plot revolving around a power grab by different clans over a ruling throne, the return of dragons to a realm that they had previously been vanquished from, and white walker-esque Draugr marauding around the more northerly parts of the map, it is easy to see why many Game of Throne fans have once again delved into this game while they wait for the next installment in the series. Since the initial release, Skyrim has landed on just about any platform you can think of, with the notable exception of Android and iOS. But if you have a PC, Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch, Skyrim is the perfect place to while away the months waiting for Jon Snow and the gang to return to your screens.
Throne: Kingdom at War
For those of you without a Switch but who still enjoy a little ‘gaming on the go’, there are other options available to scratch that GoT itch while you wait. Throne: Kingdom at War is one such game. Rather than an RPG, here we have a massively multiplayer online isometric real-time strategy game (or MMORTS) that will have you building your very own empire and pitting your wits against neighbouring players. You will form alliances, you will make enemies, you will build your city, and you will go to war. Will you trade with your neighbours or place the heads of their townsfolk on spikes? The choices are very much yours to make.
The beauty of Throne: Kingdom at War is the constant battle you find yourself in with other players. The victories you taste when you and your allies pull off the most perfectly synchronized attack will seem wonderfully sweet, while the defeats will leave you furiously plotting your enemy’s demise at the next possible opportunity.
The overall vibe of Throne: KAW is extremely reminiscent of that in Westeros, with politics, backstabbing, and the threat of war constantly on the horizon. The steady routine of building your town’s defences in anticipation of the inevitable coming wars, the ability to play whenever and wherever you are, and the added challenge of dealing with real-life opponents gives Kingdom at War a particularly appealing edge over the other games on this list. Yes, you can sort of hate the enemy when it’s computer generated, but nothing quite compares to the rivalry you feel when you see another player’s army taking what is rightfully yours, week after week. There is only so much you and your townsfolk can take, right?
Throne: Kingdom at War is available for iOS and Android, so whatever phone or tablet you have, you are only a quick download away from sitting on your own iron throne.
The Witcher 3
Based on a set of Polish novels of the same name, The Witcher series has gone from strength to strength in the last few iterations, with the Witcher 3 being looked at as the current pinnacle of the RPG world. When originally released, The Witcher 3 in many ways took the mantle of the best RPG on the planet, an accolade that many had previously laid at the feet of Bethesda’s Skyrim. While Skyrim concentrated on the ‘fantastical’ elements of the fantasy genre, The Witcher delves into the murky depths of fantasy and lays bare the nasty and violent elements of living in such dark times.
Mixed in with the magic and mythology, is a gritty realism we have come to associate with medieval living. Where as Skyrim may allude to nasty ‘goings on’ in it’s world, The Witcher will show you the nastiness. With extreme violence, foul language, and sex scenes that are likely to turn your hair white, The Witcher 3 scratches every itch you may be experiencing during your wait for the Game Of Thrones finale.
Kingdom Come Deliverance
One of the latest RPGs to arrive on the scene is a rather ‘different’ kind of fantasy game. Whereas the Skyrim’s and Witcher’s of this world lean heavily on fantasy lore and mythology, Kingdom Come delivers a more “realistic” experience for the player, as you take on the role of Henry, an average son of an average blacksmith. The skills and magic that you may have grown accustomed to when playing as Geralt of Rivia, or the Dragonborn won’t be helping you out here. Instead, you play the role of a bog-standard peasant, and as such, need to hone your skills rather than be gifted them on a plate.
The world itself is a gorgeous mix of natural looking woodlands (based on real world locations no-less), and dank, muddy fields that give more than just a tip of the hat to the Westeros that we all know and love. If you thought The Witcher was a dark and gruesome experience, KCD takes that vibe to a whole new level. The combat is brutal and challenging, and if you think you are going to be waltzing through this game like a finely tuned ice-skating champion across a frozen pond, think again. You are going to be killed. Many times. In many frustrating ways. But as annoying as that sounds, part of the appeal of KCD is the difficulty.
You may very well be able to take down a dragon in Skyrim, but you’ll have trouble trying to keep two standard soldiers at bay in Kingdom Come, and as such, small victories end up feeling like huge ones. For those missing their weekly update from King’s Landing, KCD provides a wonderfully gritty experience that is sure to grip lovers of medieval storytelling, fantasy or otherwise.