Tyranny Hands-On Preview – Define Your Reign of Terror


So I’ll be honest and admit that I really didn’t know what I was walking into when I decided to check out Tyranny. I had heard it was going to be a game where your morality plays an exceptional part in how the game unfolds. The only other thing I knew about it was that the player character isn’t really a “good guy”. I tried to ask around what people knew about it, but the only thing I was getting from friends and co-workers alike was that it was like an older game, Overlord. So when I finally did get my hands on it, I was really surprised by how different it was to what I really expected.

What I saw was an interesting isometric RPG in the vein of Pillars of Eternity where the ultimate evil has already conquered the world. You are this overlord’s judge and through your actions you fulfill your master’s laws.

The game does not use classes, you can essentially build whatever character you want via its skill-based system. You pick an overall direction in the beginning, however the way you further your skills both in and out of battle will shape your character overall.

Throughout much of the game, your master gives vague orders which often allow you to do things your own way. The choices you make, the alliances you build, and ultimately your own sense of morality will play a significant role in how the game progresses.


As soon as the demo started I understood that I was dropped into a bind. My master had sent two different armies to take out a rebellion that had begun to take root. The two commanders of these armies were constantly bickering and fighting with each other and letting the pest grow in strength until finally my master had decided to end the petty squabble. The law my master handed down was either have the rebel leader killed, the two generals meet their end, or the entire area will go up in flames. Sadly, that last option would include me and my comrades.

Resorting to being an asshole, I decided to side with the rebels because the two opposing generals were taking way too long fighting each other to bother with their enemy.

Talking with the rebel leader, I found the two armies had very different methods of fighting – one was fairly militaristic and the other was more of a barbarian horde. They were fighting over who would receive the glory of killing the rebel leader. I was of the opinion neither deserved such glory.


Many of your choices are made through conversation. You’ll be able to learn about the world around you using highlighted text. The specific options you take can gain you favor with a specific group of people, or even lead you to grow closer with your allies.

You can even sway a battle in your favor simply by using your stats to bluff and mislead your enemies. Often, these choices give you and your followers experience which can help you level up your characters in a pinch.

I honestly feel like the combat within this game is something I can get hooked on easily. As I was playing the demo, the generals had finally decided it was time they stopped playing around and actually attacked. It was around this time that I was able to get full control over my movement and that of my comrades.

Most of the attacks that either the player character, or his comrades make need to target a specific enemy, but there are also times when enemies are close enough together to attack multiple enemies at once. By focusing on which enemies to hit individually and which to target in groups you’ll learn how to prioritize your targets.

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I was given control of 4 characters, each with their own attacks that function on a cooldown. The battle can get a bit hectic though, so you’re given the ability to pause the combat whenever you’d like to give orders to your comrades and choose your targets.

On lower difficulties, your allies will make their own decisions, allowing you to focus solely on your own attacks, but on the more extreme difficulties you’ll be forced to take control of your allies and fully control the flow of battle.

The demo ended with the second general’s army maneuvering behind me and capturing the rebel leader. I had already decided make this leader my ally and letting her die now, by the generals hand, would leave me in quite the predicament. I had already completely betrayed the general by attacking his men.

There’s a potential for “many” endings.

The general’s lead mage also just happened to be threatening to incinerate the rebel leader if I took one step further. Being a mage myself (and having a fairly high knowledge-related stat) I bluffed that using his fire magic would blow all of us up.

The bluff succeeded and the enemy mage tucked his tail and ran in absolute terror. I managed to make short work of the two generals and gained a powerful ally in the rebel leader all in one fell swoop.


I made these choices. I could have betrayed the rebel leader and taken the hold which she had taken up as my own. I could have spared the second general and took the rebel’s head myself. I could have completed my master’s orders in several different ways, but I made my own choices and my masters orders became a reality.

I am my masters Fatebinder. A powerful Judge and executioner of his will. How will you play this game? Will you guide the people in a just and fair manner, or will you crush your enemies beneath your feet and cause fear wherever you go? Will you defy the orders of your master and try to change the land for the better? The choice is yours.

Tyranny is set for a release this some time this year on PC.

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I am a research student with a history in psychology. I am a fan of tactical rpgs and I love to travel. I hope to one day be a clinical psychologist.

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