Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth – Review
Follow Genre: Point 'n Click adventure / Interactive novel
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Linux
Tested on: PC

Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Great story, feels like your actions matter
Bad: Takes a while to get into the story and the characters
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth is based on a series of books with the same name, set in the middle ages. This game has a gorgeous art style and a great storyline, where you as a player get the impression that the choices you make really matter, despite the fact that the story already has been written. The story consists of three episodes with seven chapters each, and so far episode one and two have been published, with episode three planned to be released in May, 2018. Pillars of the Earth has been developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment.

The-Pillars-of-the-Earth-Logo

Story

Pillars of the Earth takes place in 12th century England; during the middle ages. The story focuses on several characters, a mason, a monk, a young outlaw boy and a young noblewoman. The mason travels the lands with his family searching for work, the monk tries to save a run-down priory and uncovers a political plot, the outlaw boy who was raised in the forest tries to survive in a strange society, and the young noblewoman tries to stay hidden from her enemies. You play all of these characters in different chapters, and eventually, all of their stories get intertwined.

This game is story-rich and getting to know all the characters and their motivations takes a while in the beginning. All of the stories are pretty interesting. The story is divided in several chapters and 3 books, of which book 3 isn’t published yet. The story is pretty epic and very well told. Despite the knowledge that the game roughly follows the story of the book, it feels like your decisions have an impact and consequences for the characters. Each chapter summarizes the choices you’ve made when you end it, and most of these decisions will have an impact in later chapters. The story is mainly being told during the conversations, but there are a few short cutscenes.

Pillars of the Earth - screen 3

Graphics

The graphics are absolutely gorgeous. Each area looks like a hand-painted comic-style drawing, and you’ll often find yourself admiring a particular scene as it first appears. The graphics really reflect the atmosphere of the game.

The UI is very simple and user-friendly: you’ll have a few options to choose from during conversations, left click to interact and right click to think about an object. You’ll also be able to drag objects or hints from your inventory to objects or people. Pressing the space bar will reveal all interactable objects on screen.

Sound

The game has beautiful background music, which sets the tone of each scene and often fits so well it’s barely perceivable until you focus on it. All conversations are narrated, and the voice acting is very well executed.

Pillars of the Earth - screen 1

Gameplay

Pillars of the Earth is a point & click adventure. This game is an adaptation of a novel, but really does feel more like a typical adventure game instead of a visual novel, because you’ll be able to make choices which will come back to you later in the game. There aren’t any puzzles, but you’ll try to solve many problems through smart use of the conversation options. You’ll be learning about a lot of events happening around you, which you can influence by talking to people and following the clues you gather. There’s a map of the area where you get access to during some missions, where you can choose the path your character takes, and what information you gather or if you make a good impression. The choices you make can influence several events.

Most chapters start with a general goal or problem, which gets defined better by talking to the people around you, exploring, and gathering clues. You’ll also get some side missions you’ll pick up by talking to people, which can adapt the impression these people have of you, for better or worse. Talking can also get you clues, which will appear as a sort of inventory item and offer new conversation options. Clues as an inventory item can be dragged towards other items to see how they connect. Some actions -like stealing- require a bit more effort, and those can be solved with a mini-game where you need to time some clicks at just the right moment.

Pillars of the Earth - screen 2

Most of the time you’ll be busy with exploring and talking to people. During exploration you can either interact with objects, or think about them. Thinking about an object or person shows your character’s thoughts, often in several lines. These thoughts will change during your gameplay depending on your actions, and are often interesting to read. They provide insight in the motivations of the character you play, and their emotional state, so these thoughts help to connect to the character.

You have several conversation options, which will really influence how the story proceeds. It’s not always clever to use all the conversation options available to you at any character. Sometimes it’s better not to disclose your knowledge to a character, to be able to keep him or her in the dark about your plans. There’s also often an option to say nothing. Sometimes you need to react quickly before the timer runs out, or your character will just keep silent in response to a question. That’s not always a bad thing to do, staying silent can really help you out in some occasions.

Pillars of the Earth - screen 5

Conclusion

Pillars of the Earth is a game with an impressive and engaging story. The adaption of the novel into a game is very well done, since you as a player have the impression of being able to influence the way the story unfolds. The graphics, music, sound design and narration are absolutely great, and fit the atmosphere of the game really well. This game is absolutely recommended for anyone who loves a great storyline, and likes to explore the story via a lot conversations where you need to be careful about the options you choose.

 

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Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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