The Pillars Of The Earth Review

When a good book is written, it tends to eventually be adapted in all forms of media, but rarely video games. Developers Daedelic Entertainment have taken the plunge in adapting Ken Follett’s classic book: The Pillars of the Earth, and created an interactive novel/ point and click adventure; a genre that the developers are renowned for, but how well has it been adapted?

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The original book has 21 chapters, so if you’re going to adapt a book – and want to get it right, you’re going to want to include all the chapters. The developers did just this and took the original book as a form of ‘blueprint’ and decided to go with a three-episode game spanning the full 21 chapters, with each episodic release providing you with seven chapters. Of course, being the media that this is, it would pretty much be an animated movie without some form of player-interaction. So instead, the player gets to play through the entirety of the novel whilst affecting the course of outcome, that can greatly differ from the original story told.

You play as one of three protagonists set in the fictional town of Kingsbridge in England, during the 12th Century. Each character is intertwined as they all have some involvement with the building of a new Cathedral in town to ‘provide’ security and power to the people. Whilst the antagonists of this title slowly unfolds as the story develops, it’s clear they are vengeful for one reason or another and want to destroy the town. Whichever way you look at it, one thing is clear: people here enjoy a good brutal kill here or there.

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Each scene is gorgeously hand-painted with hundreds of scenes for you to revel in, one to rival that of a classic animated movie. Daedelic have done an outstanding job on recreating what 12th Century England would look and feel like. Poverty in all areas with the rich folk boasting everything they have and see the poor as vermin. Harsh weather show the grim reality of what life was like during this period, even if it is animated. It’s just that gorgeously detailed. Even the graphic scenes keep you glued to the screen.

This is more of an interactive novel than it is a point and click adventure making The Pillars of the Earth a great title to wind-down to, providing you with more dialogue and cut scenes than involvement. There are no quick-time events, no difficult puzzles (if any), however the choices faced make you ponder on for a moment or two, but even those who have read the original book will struggle to predict outcomes since the game is designed to expand upon from the book. Having said that, this is only the first episode of three, so the choices made during this first episode may have a greater impact on future episodes.

The Pillars of the Earth is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £31.99. It’s also noted that purchasing this title includes the future episodes.

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