Game Review: Choice of the Deathless

So this post, much like the Choice of the Vampire review, should have gone up a long time ago, but for some reason it was just missed and I only noticed when I went to share it with someone and realised it had never gone up. So first of apologies for that, and feel free to check out my interview with Jason Stevan Hill, the co-founder of Choice of Games, the company which published this game.

Choice of the Deathless, as well as it’s 2015 follow up Deathless: The City’s Thirst were both written by Max Gladstone, the Campbell Award-nominated author of the Three Parts Dead, which is itself part of the Craft Sequence. Both games he wrote for Choice of Games, are based in the Craft Sequence universe. If you’d like to learn more about Max, you can check out the link above, but I’m also hoping to interview the author as well so keep an eye out for that.

Anyway, I was not familiar with the source material going in but I can safely say that I will be checking it out now. I will say though, that more than anything the rich and interesting universe presented in the two games is what drew me in the most. 

Another thing that it does really well, is the use of the ‘How We Got Here’ trope, where we are actually looking back on our decisions from the end. This could be seen as limiting as you know invariably how you get there but the game has an incredible amount of depth, and the unique world presented by Craft Sequence make for such a rich and engaging playthrough that you almost forget that you are building towards something. 

I also like that despite the enormity of the world building and narrative, enough to fill six books, it’s still dealt with in a way that feels fluid and engaging to someone playing the game, rather than feeling stodgy and expositional. Additionally, it doesn’t require foreknowledge of the series that begat it, instead it presents a standalone story within a self-contained narrative. 

Much like with Choice of the Vampire, you are given a variety of options to personalise your character and playthrough, everything from selecting your own name, right through to how hard you worked in school. This isn’t just a purely cosmetic thing either as the options you pick, help guide your stats which in turn influence your experience in-game. 

Very in keeping with being created by a professional author, the writing is superb, funny at times, always interesting, I cannot point to a single weak point either in terms of the overall plot or character. I will say that the broader choices don’t matter as much as I would like, you can influence things but there’s a certain linear nature to the story which limits the game to an extent. I do like that you have more than one romanceable option, it opens things up, meaning you aren’t railroaded into one predetermined choice. 
I think it has a reasonable length, it takes a few hours to play, during which time you can get really engrossed in the finer points of the story, I especially enjoyed gambling with souls. Overall it’s an enjoyable game that opens the player up to a far more expansive world and narrative. I loved the characters, and the blend of humour with drama. It could have had more flexibility to the story, but all things considered it’s a really engaging game, and I give it a solid 4/5.

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