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Tyranny: It’s Good to Be Bad and Bad to Be Good!

Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive’s RPG Tyranny is a follow-up to last year’s hit title – Pillars of Eternity. Using the same Unity engine as its predecessor, Tyranny is an isometric RPG that has you playing on the side of evil. Chaos, treachery and deceit – all of which become encouraged!

Completing the main campaign will take about 25 hours. If you choose to do all the side quests, it can be up to 40 hours. However, with the many different possibilities for character builds and dialogue options, this game can easily have you clocking in more than 100 hours. Tyranny is available on PC, Mac and SteamOS and Linux.


You create and pick your character’s origin.


An evil overlord named Kyros has just taken over the world of Terratus. Soon enough, an insurgent group is trying to assemble and oppose him. You are a Fatebinder, and it is your duty uphold the laws of Kyros by spreading his tyranny. Within Kyros’ rule, there are many factions, but many of them clash with one another because of their different ways of life.

You start off your journey when the Vendrien Guard start rebelling against their new ruler. Kyros is displeased the two factions, Scarlet Chorus and Disfavored, are too busy fighting each other than dealing with these rebels. Kyros then puts you in charge to ensure the tasks get completed – under a particular edict.

If you and the two factions do not succeed within the set time, he will eliminate both factions and yourself. Nice guy, eh? Throughout the rest of the journey, you will be sent to different areas to deal with other factions as it is your task to make Terratus better for Kyros’ rule. You will meet companions from various factions who will join your party to help you achieve Kyros’ goal or your own.

The Fatebinder

The game starts off by creating a character and choosing their origin story of how they became a Fatebinder. Character appearance is relatively limited like most top-down RPG titles. Nonetheless, there are more than enough choices to satisfy. The character is not bound to a single class, but instead you receive an opportunity to select two primary skills.

If you are interested in fighting as a dual-wielding frost mage or an archer with healing spells, the choice is yours! The game first presents the Fatebinder with an option called Kyros’ Conquest of Tiers, where your decisions alter your initial standing in the game. On the other hand, players could skip this segment altogether and use the default story if they wish. These choices affect how certain factions and characters feel toward your character at the beginning.


Choosing Conquest of Tiers can allow you to control how factions and people react to you at the start of the game.

Character Development

You will encounter many NPCs in this game with multiple dialogue interaction options. Certain conversations or actions will only be available if you have sufficient points in individual skills like Lore, Athletics or Subterfuge. Choose your moves wisely as it will affect your faction standings, skills and your companions’ feelings toward you.

For example, you may opt to punish a commoner who refused Kyros by stabbing them in the face. This action would please Verse, an assassin of the Scarlet Chorus. On the other hand, the noble fighter Barik will think of it as unnecessary and will be displeased. As events unfold, new dialogues unlock themselves within your companions. And at times, you will have to answer to them for the actions you have chosen.


Dialogues can be very text-heavy, simple because there are many options.

Talent Tree and Spells

As your characters level, you receive talent points to use toward talent trees. Using these points can add abilities to use for combat or enhance your skill attributes and interactions when adventuring. Sigils attained from scrolls teach you spells. Combining different sigils together will give you different results of spells created.

Modifying spells by adding accents to them also gives extra bonuses, like creating a shorter cooldown, buffing the damage or having a longer duration. Picking the right talents and spells for each character becomes vital because your party size is limited to four.


The main character has a variety of range of talent trees to choose from in this game.


Isometric RPG titles require you to make crucial decisions, as every move you do matters. When gaining a new companion to the party, the first thing you will want to do is turn off computer AI. Using the pause and play mechanics to plan out each members’ action carefully will be vital in defeating your opponents. Just one wrong move will cause you to suffer the consequences.

The difficulty setting you chose at the start of the game will affect your combat as enemy stats, actions and spell use dependency are based on the difficulty. Also, players can execute some special companion, double-team maneuvers with the Fatebinder. For example, teaming up with Verse, you can trip the opponent to put them down. Verse will then drive both of her daggers down onto the opponent, causing a good amount of damage.


Different difficulties, including an Ironman mode, where you can only use one save.

Graphics and Sound

From the videos, loading screen and locations of the game, Tyranny is a work of art. The game is dark and gritty, yet it still manages to illustrate its artistic vision beautifully. In one area, gusting winds of dust swirl in the air, surrounded by signs of battle as there are shields, swords and equipment buried in the sands. Not to mention, the soundtrack in Tyranny is spectacular and suits the game very well. The voice acting was spot on and very enjoyable. In fact, I chose to side with the Scarlet Chorus for the majority of the game based on how much I loved Verse’s voice.

Loading screen

The loading screens have such eye-catching art.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed my time with Tyranny and would rank it as one of my favorite games of the year. Being treacherous has never been so much fun, so I recommend anyone who is a fan of the isometric RPG titles to give this a try. The price point of $44.99 is very reasonable for what you get. Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive have proven that they could continue success after Pillars of Eternity and I am already looking forward to any future projects.

All images belong to Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive.

Be Treacherous - A Review of 'Tyranny'
Great dialogue optionsReplayabilityBeing bad is rewardingPrice point
A lot of text reading - more voiced dialogue would have been nice
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