Each chapter focusses on one of these characters with a final summary at the end detailing how the player's actions have influenced the story or the way in which characters now perceive you. In practice, as I have already mentioned, I found these choices to be rather limited. However, they are still nonetheless welcome as they do help when building relationships with the various characters with which the player interacts.
Visually the adaptation is generally impressive. I found the hand-drawn visual style to be extremely immersive and atmospheric. Unfortunately, when playing on the Xbox the game suffered from a number of graphical glitches. At one point during an unexpectedly tense scene one character's head briefly detached itself from its body and appeared in another part of the screen. The conversation continued and the disembodied head kept talking before eventually returning to its body. Although this was the only point at which this happened, there was also reasonably frequent slow-down and other graphical glitches.
In addition, at some points characters would talk over each other, providing a mess of dialogue which I am quite sure was not intentional. Load times between scenes are also longer than I would have liked. This would not normally be a significant problem however the pace of the game is extremely slow. Although the story is reasonably engaging and I am curious to see how it continues it is hard to recommend to anyone who has little interest in the era, original book or genre.
The storytelling becomes particularly drawn out towards the midpoint of the game, to the point that I was beginning to wonder if anything was actually going to happen. Fortunately the final third redeems the situation somewhat and left me intrigued to see where the story would go next. I just hope that Daedalic Entertainment does some work on the game engine to improve loading times and minimise the graphical and audio glitches.
I've never read The Pillars of the Earth
and I have to say that this adaptation, although interesting in places, has not encouraged me to do so. A more streamlined interface and a pacier script would no doubt help to make the game more engaging for players who are not already immersed in Ken Follet's world.
The technical issues that the game suffers from, although relatively minor, are enough to be rather off-putting as adventure games, more so than many other genre, rely on the building of atmosphere to engage the player because of the minimal amount of gameplay interaction that takes place.
As is perhaps expected the story, although poorly paced in this adaptation, is the most engaging aspect of The Pillars of the Earth
. I am genuinely interested to see where Prior Phillip's adventure takes him as he navigates the political and religious machinations of the people of Kingsbridge. I just hope that the second part of the series can maintain the same pacing as the final third of part one, rather than the more sedate pace of the start of the game.
+ Engaging story.
+ Visually appealing.
+ A well-realised world.
- Poor pacing.
- Technical issues.
- Did I say, poor pacing!?
SPOnG Score: 6/10