- Game: Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth
- Consoles: PC (Reviewed), Xbox One, PS4
- Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
- Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
A complimentary code was provided for this review.
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth may sounds familiar to you and that’s because it probably does. It originated as a book that was published way back in 1989 and has since received a sequel and has been adapted into a TV miniseries. Fast forward to 2017 and now we’re seeing it in video game form.
The game is actually in a format similar to how Telltale games are today where it’s more of an interactive novel instead of a video game. The Pillars of the Earth lends itself quite well to this format since it did originate as a book. With it being a book, you can expect the game to start off as a bit of a slow burn as you begin to learn and know the characters.
Despite the slow start, the game does manage to create a great sense of intrigue. The player is given choices to make throughout the game, which itself is separated into three books. The artwork and voice acting are also top-notch and you may find yourself wondering if you’re playing a game or watching a video at some points. The story is certainly much deeper than what you would find in a Telltale game or any similar game.
It’s hard to talk much about the story of the game without giving too much away because things start happening relatively fast in this game. The prologue puts you in the shoes of Tom Builder struggling to keep his family afloat during the harsh winter conditions. He is struggling to find food and clean water to support his family, which also features a pregnant wife. Eventually you are put in control of more characters that actually influence one another but I don’t want to say more in fear of spoiling anything. I can say that the story is engrossing and there’s a lot to enjoy. As someone who isn’t familiar with the book or TV series, I found the story to be enjoyable and I would imagine it’s even better for someone who is a returning fan.
Like I mentioned earlier, the story does start off as a slow burn. There’s also a lot to interact with in each scene which can grow tiresome and exhausting. There’s also a lot of backtracking to be done which can become annoying pretty quickly. The pace can quickly become detrimental to some players so it’s important to note that you can practically save anywhere. If you find yourself getting burnt out then just take a quick break. There’s a lot of people to talk to and they all have a story to share. That’s another thing that can become overwhelming but it really does help the world feel alive and the make the game even better.
Those flaws aside, Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth is an excellent point-and-click adventure that just may not be for everyone. I can say that the story is engrossing and it’s worth playing just for that if you find yourself liking it right away. The PC version runs excellent so I can’t speak to the performance of PS4 or Xbox One but I have seen people report issues with it on console.
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth likely won’t win an end-of-the-year awards or anything like that but for those out there who yearn for old school point-and-click adventure games then this is likely what you’re looking for.
Despite all the positive things about the game, it’s a really hard game to recommend to someone unfamiliar with the genre. Most games today are action-heavy while The Pillars of the Earth puts the narrative in the driver’s seat. In a world filled with twitch shooters and other games that require quick reflexes, Pillars of the Earth instead relies on keen observation and patience which could deter gamers relatively quick.
- Strong and engaging story
- Excellent charcters
- Strong dialogue and settings
- Good voice acting
- Very slow pace
- Lots of backtracking
- Requires a lot of puzzle solving
- Can be boring at times