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E3 2016: Tyranny Preview: Working For Evil

Obsidian's new isometric RPG is shaping up to be very promising.


An edict was given. Bring the Rebels down or the entire valley would be destroyed. Two armies had been sent, but neither had managed to bring the rebel leader to her knees. That's where I came in. My job was simple, make things happen that the Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus had not been able to achieve.

So I set out to find a way into the fortress. I faced archers, spearmen, and even other mages, but none were a match for myself and my companions. After twenty minutes of making my way through the fortress, I arrived in the final room, and faced down the rebel leader.

Of course there was a lot more to this short demo than just fighting. Like Obsidian's previous isometric RPG, Tyranny is chock full of deep, and well written stories that are just waiting to be told. I breezed over most of the story in this demo, I didn't want to risk spoiling anything for myself and I was running a bit short on time, but what I did glean from my brief time with the game is that Obsidian is really looking to deliver an even higher quality RPG than their last entry, which is quite a feat considering just how good Pillars of Eternity turned out.

The game's engine is still the same, and many of the commands and controls from Pillars have returned once more, making it easy for returning players to jump right in. I did notice that the UI seemed a lot more streamlined, and that many graphically intense effects in the game seemed to run smoother than effects of the same nature did in Pillars of Eternity, leading me to believe that Obsidian has spent a good bit of time tweaking and tuning their engine to deliver an even better roleplaying experience.

Like Pillars, players take control of a character imbued with special powers. The biggest difference this go round, is evil has already won, and now you're just trying to make it in a world where good did not prevail. The team has also taken a lower fantasy approach to the story, removing attributes like talking to animals and the such to provide a more baselined fantasy experience. The game is still very much a fantasy story, chock full of magic and other fantastical things, but overall it feels a lot more grounded in reality just based on the little bit I was given a chance to try out.

Another really interesting change the development team has made is the fact that characters no longer have to choose skills based on certain classes. This allows you to create a more open-ended experience for the player, which Obsidian hopes will open up new avenues of adventure for players.  Alongside this new system, the way that players handle characters had completely changed, revamped from how it used to work in Pillars of Eternity.

Unlike Pillars, where you were responsible for controlling and micromanaging all your companions, Tyranny takes a less micromanaged position. Instead of having to focus on all your companions, you have the option to focus solely on your character, the Fatebinder, and let the AI run your party members. It’s a nice new look at the system, because it allows you greater focus on one character, which can help make the difference in battles.

Based off the tidbit of game time I was able to get into last week at E3, and the interesting premise that they are already setting with the game’s promotion material, Tyranny looks to be another full-fledged adventure that will completely devour your time, if given the chance. If you haven’t yet played Pillars of Eternity, I’d highly recommend picking it up, as it will give you a very solid indicator of how Tyranny will look, play, and run like on your system.

These impressions are based on a preview at an event where promotional material was provided by the developer.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 22, 2016 10:00 AM

    Josh Hawkins posted a new article, E3 2016: Tyranny Preview: Working For Evil

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      June 22, 2016 11:19 AM

      Animation looks more fluid that Pillars. Sounds interesting. Hope they pace these titles though. With as text heavy as they are, they're going to stay niche.

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      June 22, 2016 11:24 AM

      Huh very cool, so it plays exactly like Pillars of Eternity? I guess its not going to be like Diablo or a normal ARPG?

      Cool, once to watch for for sure, thanks for the heads up.

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        June 23, 2016 1:49 PM

        Yup, it plays exactly like Pillars of Eternity. Def one to watch for, easily one of my most anticipated games this year. :D

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