Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth is a historic novel set in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England, and tells the tale of the building of a Cathedral, and everyone involved in that endeavor. It’s an epic tale that spans many years and generations, during the 12th century. While the book was first published in 1989, Daedalic Entertainment has released a video game version in 2017 that tells the same story in the form of a point and click adventure game.
The game is being released in 3 parts, the first of which is called From The Ashes and is available now. The second and third parts will be released in December 2017 and Q1 2018 respectively.
The first thing you notice is the absolutely fantastic art style of the game, which looks right out of a high budget animated movie. Characters are well animated, and the overall presentation is sharp and gorgeous. Backgrounds show a real depth to them with a lot of attention to detail, and there were many times I would just stop to look as the scenes, as beautiful as they were. So much of the game looked right out of a painting, and rightly so, since there are over 200 of them – across the three parts – all of them are hand drawn.
Set during the 12th century, the game does a good job of showing the despair, struggles and poverty of the time. The game follows the story of Philip – a monk, Jack – an outsider to the town, and Aliena – the noblewoman (who shows up in the later parts). While the characters themselves play a large role, it’s the people around them and the overall story that makes the game all the more compelling. To be honest, the game is very light on gameplay, which is absolutely fine by me, since I was playing the game mainly for the story.
The story revolves around bigger political events and also smaller personal incidents. The game allows you to make decisions that are different from those in the original book, and while this won’t matter to you if you’ve not read the book, I am really enjoying seeing the changes unfold. I wonder how much they can change when it comes to the grand scale of things, but I appreciate what they are doing with the story so far.
The game does move slow, however, taking its time to build up the narrative. While I really like spending the time to take it all in, this might turn-off some people from the game. I would strongly recommend anyone playing the game to be patient, as I feel that the game is worth it. Fortunately, the strong visual presentation and excellent voice acting really hold the game together well.
Pillars of the Earth is an easy recommend to anyone who wants to see a great story unfold. The game takes its time to get going, but along the way you meet believable characters that you come to care about, and revolves around a powerful narrative packed with political, personal and even religious overtones.