Review: Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound

Post-release DLC has always been an interesting aspect of gaming. It’s a way to extend the life of a game and can be a worthwhile investment if done correctly, such as adding new areas, quests and characters. Expanding the story and activities seems like an easy enough endeavor for linear games or at least games where the world remains static regardless of player choices. Tyranny is not one of these games as the player is presented with a large number of choices throughout the game, many of which can have drastic consequences on the world, such as killing NPCs or significant world events such as opening up a magic fissure, killing many citizens of a town and rendering it virtually uninhabitable for the survivors.

Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound attempts to expand on this already fluid story by opening up a new area of Terratus called Shattered Bastion. This new content takes place before the game’s end, and by the time the player arrives here their exploits as Fatebinder are already known throughout the land. Upon arrival they are expected to continue doling out Kyros’ justice, though how Kyros’ justice is actually administrated is up to some interpretation of the player. An NPC leading his party of men by the name of Warbler is arguing with Rholes the Butcher outside of Shattered Bastion. Warbler laments that they have broken no laws, though the counterargument is the only law of Kyros that is relevant is not to suffer the weak, which Rholes believes Warbler meets criteria. Is this law just and fair? It’s debatable, but slaughtering Warbler’s party outside of Shattered Bastion is a quick way to gain favor with those inside and prompts Rholes to provide means of entry.

During this initial sequence in Shattered Bastion it becomes apparent that Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound was developed in a way to take player choices into account and to seamlessly integrate this new content into the existing game. Playing through this sequence with different save files where the Fatebinder’s alliance was with the Scarlet Chorus, the Disfavored or allied with neither resulted in different reactions and different conversation tree options. Regardless of the alliance or lack thereof, trying to get the Fatebinder to kill Warbler and his companions was the main request, but the details in the exchange took the previous player choices into account.

Once the Fatebinder has dispatched of those outside, they are granted access to Shattered Bastion and discuss some new requests that require going into cave where the entrance has been collapsed. Naturally it is up to the player to figure out how to gain entry to this location, which seems like the obvious solution is to look for some sort of tool to clear the rubble out of the way so they could stroll on in. There are also so refugees who want access to a cave to live, and their leader Gwyneth discusses how they could help the Fatebinder gain egress by killing Rholes and the of Scarlet Chorus who occupies this area who first gave the Fatebinder this assignment. Since Tyranny is a game that takes place in a world where evil has already won, the Fatebinder now has to weigh the pros and cons of which choice is going to be easier along with which one will lead to more useful allies after the fact as well as factoring in what kind of outcome the player wishes to have at the game’s conclusion. In other words, the same type of complex decision making options that Tyranny has been presenting since its initial release.

In addition to this new area to explore with new characters to help and/or betray and kill, three companions have added quests that are introduced to help flesh out the the characters of Lantry, Verse and Barik. These companions weren’t exactly stock character to begin with as they all had quite detailed histories and nuanced personalities, but these quests allow the player to get more in depth information about these characters while providing additional gameplay and story content. The only way this content wouldn’t be considered a valuable addition is if someone just didn’t care about delving into who those characters are, though the idea of assisting Barik with becoming freed from his armor sounds like it would be an interesting endeavor, and even if it proved unsuccessful it would be a good bonding experience.

Aside from the additional content, Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound looks, sounds, and plays how the Tyranny we all know and love does. The impressive soundtrack and visual style doesn’t deviate from what they were in 2016. The controls remain unchanged and combat is still just as unforgiving and not always as streamlined as it could have been but still never reaching a level where it becomes a deterrent to playing the game.

Closing Comments:

Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound is an impressive piece of DLC as it takes the choice-heavy gameplay of Tyranny and seamlessly weaves it into the previously-made choices by the player. Whether or not this content is essential depends on how much someone enjoyed Tyranny and if they want more of it. If it’s a game you’re still playing and want something new added, this content is money well spent. The same can be said if someone was taking a break from Tyranny but wanted an excuse to dust it off and get back into it. This new content won’t convert any naysayers over to Tyranny, but those who appreciated the brilliance of the base game will be pleased to know the additional content is on par with it.