Published on September 2nd, 2017 | by Lyla Saudi
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth Review
Summary: Three strangers will band together to survive after war, religion, and politics intertwine their lives.
The Pillars of the Earth is an interactive novel based on one of the world’s best selling books of the same name by Ken Follett. It tells the story of a twelfth century monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known.
Set in 12th century England, centred around the small village of Kingsbridge, it is a time of great poverty, unending war, religious conflicts, and shifting political loyalties. In this setting you will play as three distinct characters; Jack (an outlaw), Aliena (a noblewoman), and Phillip (a church monk).
Split into three episodic parts (named books), with each part containing seven chapters of gameplay (which means there is plenty of game time to be had), your aim is to change the events of the original book through exploration, dialogue, and decision-making events.
The game can be entirely played with the point and click of a mouse button, and a short tutorial at the start of the game will familiarise you with the simple interface. Tasks and quests will have you interacting with a variety of environmental objects and engaging in dialogue with many characters. At the end of each chapter you will be given a neat summary of the main decisions you made, although it doesn’t reveal what would have happened if you chose differently (which is unfortunately a bit pointless if you are not familiar with the original story to begin with).
You can choose dialogue responses when engaged in conversation but the majority of these conversations (including the cutscenes) were long winded with oddly long pauses between sentences. The characters mouths and facial expressions were not in sync with their speech which was disappointing in a game that relies so heavily on the story. Character movements also seemed a bit on the slow side and lacking in fluidity when moving through and exploring the environment.
The game’s greatest feature is the story, it is really, really, really good. It kept me engaged throughout this first instalment. The game is full of character back stories and world defining events from past and present, and I enjoyed how each chapter was narrated by a different character; it was like having a story being read to you.
Graphics & Audio
This game is beautifully drawn with amazing architectural detail but the characters looked a bit plain in comparison. There was a lack in fluidity between scenes which sometimes were cut abruptly short (same with the background music and sound effects). The opening credits and music are definitely an epic highlight and really set the scene for the story. It was just a shame that sometimes the music overpowered the voice acting, which may also need a bit of work to sound more believable and less staged.
I hope there will be an improvement with the interactive features of the game for the next instalment as I am really looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds. However, if not, then I may lose interest in completing the entire game and just read the original book instead.
Title: Ken Follett’s: The Pillars of the Earth
Part: Part 1/3 – Book 1: From the Ashes
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
Rating: Mature 17+ (contains blood, sexual themes, strong language, and violence)
Available: August, 2017