Tyranny and the Language of Power [Spoilers]

This is a video critique of Tyranny, a contemporary isometric role-playing game where evil has won before the game even begins. It examines the game's unique perspective and explores its thematic content. There are complete spoilers for multiple sorts of playthroughs possible in the game.
692 комментариев
I like how you can subvert Kyros at the very beginning by waiting before reading the first edict. The edict says everyone will die on the day of the sword after the edict has been read. The day of the sword is 8 days after the start of the game. But if you wait until after the day of the sword to read the edict, you'll have an entire year until the next day of the sword.
This game was a powerful experience for me. I never really play "evil" in games. To get through this one, I found myself relying on Kyros' law to tell me what was right, and what was wrong. I followed the law to the letter. I did some of the most horrendous acts I've ever done in a game, but in doing them I followed Kyros' law and there was comfort in that. Actually reminds me of my experience with Papers Please, in a way.
Parimal Raghavan
If this game is written anywhere near as well as this essay, it's a must-buy
"Life continues after evil wins, but the roles are different. When an authority says 'look the other way', our eyes cast downward. When they say 'turn up the voltage', we reach out to do it. When they say 'obey the law', we do not ask who wrote the law in the first place." - Noah Caldwell-Gervais, March 2017

This is a quote worth remembering, particularly in these times.
This just reminds me that I would *kill* to see you do a video essay on KOTOR 2.
I think the worst thing about the black and white approach of Bioware to morality is how non sensical the evil approach is.

For instance, in Dragon Age: Origins you meet a wounded soldier, the game lets you:
a) Heal him.
b) Ignore him.
C) Kill him.

But killing him makes no sense. It's evil, but stupidly evil. An intelligently evil approach would be to heal him, but the blackmail him to serve your purpose.

Personally, I prefer the more morally gray approach of the Witcher games.
Rob Car
dammit man, I was about to go to bed.
You're one of those people that just has a voice that's just purely listenable. Like Carl Sagan.
Mauro Settier
man, i couldnt finish the review, i just wanna play so much now that i dont want to hear anything else. thanks.
Gabriel Pedro Bento
In my playthrough I manage to turn Tunon to my side. I always saw Tunon as my boss, so I always did what I considered justice, my own sense of justice, and at the end, Tunon saw that my justice was better, even if it was againts Kyros! I loved that!

I did what I could to saved peolple with knowledge and fairness... and savescumming my battles.

But I also killed Ash and Voices, and by extention, all of the Disfavored and Chorus. And a bunch of others that opposed me, in my quest for justice.

The power of savescumming made me (and my character) incredible confident, so I killed everyone I deemed evil. Eventualy, I had few allies, but I could protect the land, by using the Towers as superweapons in a cold war against Kyros... Mutual assured destruction...

What a happy ending :)
Lung kisser
That you managed to make this while living life by van is inspiring.
Gotta admit that while I loved Tyranny enough to play it with awful lag on a laptop that struggles to run Civ 5, I agree that the rebellion path was weaker. Which is a shame because I really wanted to see how far Obsidian would be willing to test my commitment to ending Kyros' rule.

If the rebellion path was tougher, more cruel and had more morally grey choices it could have been a great story of the compromises and mistakes actual resistance movements face. And it would be useful to remind people of that now
Valter Östberg
Man, Kotor 2 was just the best rpg I've ever played.
Words and how people view persons of power have a huge amount of power in Tyranny. Graven ashe, Tunon and your ascension to archon magic are due to how you all are viewed by the people around you (Ashe - Loyalty, love, Protection. Tunon - Law, justice, command. You - Edict binder, free agent) all give you the power that you have in the end. In the same way all of you have the weaknesses of those virtues (Pain from loss from every member of the disfavored, blindness to the intent of law, dependent on Kyros's edict manipulation). It is also shown that how people view you through favor or wrath system that you gain power from their love or fear.

Kyros him/herself is dependent on that too. According to the law, anyone who uses the name of Kyros in a sentence, the sentence MUST be true. So if you say "By Kyros you are dumb", you need to prove it or die. If you name a child Kyros, the child and it's family die. Kyros's name is sacrosanct. Tyranny in itself is about not only evil is done through a slow degrade of your moral compass and compromises, it's also about the power of words, languages and how people view you. It's the closest universe to apply narrative thought apart from Discworld.
kalamaron i
To be clear, in Milgram (1963) the participants were not able to see the confederate while they were administering the electric shocks, but your overall point still stands.
Jesus christ what a powerful video
Victor X
Tyranny was my favorite RPG of the year (having also played Age of Decadence and Shadowrun Returns) so I'm so glad to see you reviewing it.
Honest Onyx
26:15 Actually being the Queenslayer won't stop you from joining the Vendrien Guard. You need to release all of the Vendrien captains you find (I believe there are two of them) and went Ebb meets with you to ask about her friend you need to tell her about the edict and remain honest throughout the conversation.
It's odd. I had no problem watching the Desserts or Kharak video, getting spoiled about the game, and then wanting to play it anyways. But I have absolutely no intention of watching this until I have a chance to play and finish Tyranny at least once.
Idk, I think you kind of miss the idea of the Anarchist path. I'm not sure the goal of the PC is to be the next Kyros or to just dismantle the entire system itself, believing themselves to be the only power that can do so.

I love this game.
Franny Fantastic
This is legitimately amazing. Drawing attention to the artistic merit in video games isn't an easy task by any means, but you do it with aplomb, broski.
I got this game because what you were saying about it just sounded fascinating. And I'm floored with the thematic depth this game provides. I have not played a game this rich since... Forever? Every piece of dialogue is crafted for you to understand the implications of what's happening, and it is, as you say, draining because these themes aren't light either.

I think I'm just discovering these kinds of games, so if anyone has recommendations of others that have this depth, I'll be very grateful.
Nefarias Bredd
I love how you almost sound like a younger Lantry.
Its sounds like you are talking about some cultures on earth
Franciszek Rychlewicz
Still when I was playing this game I felt much less like an asshole than when I played Dragon Age origins(and I tried to be good guy).
Grim Goblin
Thank you for this video. My computer is too weak to support Tyranny, but I was very interested in this game and once I get better machine, I'll totally check out it and both Pillars of Eternity games.
And I know I'm in the minority, but I'm happy to see you address unpleasant parallels between themes of this game and current political climate. I was thinking of showing this video to my friends, who have strong political opinions on both sidesand now I don't need to write a long commentarry to explain this to them. And I have to respect a man who is not afraid to voice his beliefs even when he knows it earns him scorn of awful, thin-skinned youtubers that voted for president fanta.
*Start of video:* _Never heard of this game. Don't really have time to play games nowadays._
*6 minutes into the video:* _Wishlisted Tyranny on GOG._

You are a great advertiser, Noah.
Random Pessimist
I can't find a way to improve this vid apart from getting a better mic, but I guess that will come with time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Valter Östberg
Yes! I've been looking forward to this since the game came out.
I was slightly worried that being on the road would mean less polish, but this is definitely one of the best analyses you've made yet. You should be proud of yourself.
Have you considered making a video on the Metro series?
Some Guy Paragon

*Evil always find a way*...
C.J Armstrong
You are my favourite Youtuber, Noah, i alwayd eagerly await your videos. You are an absolute breath of fresh air in an internet / popular cutlure that often makes me sick. You are a true intellectual
Man I love your videos. Never stop providing us with content if you can.
Aw I was just making headway in Torment. Now I have to go back an finish Tyranny.
I really wish I could run Tyranny on my computer.
Would it be possible at all for you to post a transcript of this by any chance? This essay is really brilliant and it would be awesome to be able to disseminate it to a wider audience through text
The Crimson Fucker
I love how Tyranny is sort-of set in a fantasy version of the Balkans if you look at the map and some of them cultures/visual style of the equipment.
Yuriy Lehki
The first moment I truly felt this game was when I made Lantry swear fealty to me. I didn't trust him before I did it, but after I did it I immediately realized that I was walking in the footsteps of the Practical Incarnation from Planescape: Torment, and that left a prolonged bitter feeling that was hard to shake. Like I was starting something I'll have to fix and answer for later.
Novem the Reasonable Gamer
I actually really dislike how difficult it is to get onto the Rebel path. You have to be unreasonably favorable to the Vendrien Guard to get them to invite you to a meeting, so even if you do your absolute best to try and be reasonable and diplomatic to them, they'll still spit in your face at your attempts of diplomacy. It feels like you have to go so far out of your way to open up that path as an option, to the point that it feels strange that the path even exists in the first place because it feels like everyone else in the scenario is letting you get away with a helluva lot with barely a slap on the wrist.
Bryant Adair
I broke the law and the law won! You are my kindred soul Noah, had me in chills at end. Keep up the good work brotha!
Danny Pockets
Did anyone else notice, is he referring to Kyros as both "him" and "her" at different times?
3:30 AM with work in 4 more hours , but when I see that notification I'm inclined to watch it.
Jip Jackson
So it's like being born in 2000 when GW had stared his reign of evil.
One of your best in my opinion. Great work.
The False Rabbi
This game has to be the most underrated rpg of the decade. Every playthrough made me feel dirty in
some way
I've heard the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. Did that detract from your experience at all?
Vincent Vilčko
very good!
personally, Tyranny is best of RPG in last 5-10 years.
(similar gem as Planescape Torment was .. underrated in beginning, but with great value after some time.)
Tony Koslowski
They better make a sequel to this game.
Absolutely great in-depth video! Watched this many times by now. Tyranny is one of my most favorite if not THE most favorite CRPG of mine mostly because of it's setting and story. And your video made me appreciate and love the game even more. Thank you for this video, Noah. Keep up the good work!
what's the area you read out your patreon people in? for some reason it gives me a very RV feel.
Hm, I wonder what this game might be trying to teach us, HMMMMMM.
Алексей Логинов
Another sweet, sweet present by my favorite youtuber ever - Noah!
Wow; I was just going on a Noah Gervias marathon! Good timing!
Amazing video, as always. I hope that in future I will see A Thorough Look at S.T.A.L.K.E.R./Metro :D
Sean Nelson
Thanks to DanielFromSL I found you.
Mrkindalegal TheBagopaniest
This game seems equally stimulating and draining.
Bongo Supreme
This has become my favorite game of all time.
Machinelf Gaming
You're offocially my favorite channel. I m around your age and I could listen to you for hours even going on about games I'll never play.
David Bodor
Amazing video man! Just found your channel, you really deserve more views, brilliant analysis on a brilliant game.
Noah Caldwell-Gerwais, brilliant review of a brilliant game. Thank you for your work and thoughts. Much appreciated!
Love your whole series! Liked and subscribed!

You should do a video on knights of the old republic! :D
Rob Car
another well thought out well put together piece, thank you for putting this out there
You kep saying Kyros is a she, but that is never validated, I her Kyros refereed to as HE, a male more often then a female, that is I only caught it once in one dialogue.

 As for story, my first play through was ending as Kyroses rival. So I did end up feeling a level of power and accomplishment.
Andrew Naami
God Damn Noah (sigh) I just finished the vid and am now at a loss for words..... I may have not been as explicit, but I have been pondering about my motivations and drive to protect societies morals lately

You've put me in a state of self reflection.... excellent video....Great job.

I wish I had some money to donate
Greatjon Umber
What a phenomenal video. You have a new subscriber.
Red Newb
Please do a review of the metro series!!
nikolai bahtin
You can become the peace binder during the apex campaign
Богдан Резниченко
Thank you for your work Noah! Love your critiques.

Any chance we will see your retrospective on Deus Ex?
Stefan Malliet
This is, by far, your best written video to date. GG
I'm watching this for the second time. It's that good.
Just going from strength to strength my man. This is one of your best yet.

Stay strong, & keep clear of the cops.
Fantastic video, much more than just a video game review.
Notmi Relnam
Oh, good, I thought I was crazy for loving the KotOR 2 characters.
Hello Noah, any chance you could cover The Binding of Isaac in the future?
Also keep up the good work, I am a huge fan of these videos.
The False Rabbi
Well, I think I just realized that I totally missed the point of this game. Time for a replay
Just found your channel and cannot stop listening to your well-researched and eloquently presented videos. Great job!
I will totally try this game :) And you got yourself a new patron
Matthijs de Rijk
Thank you for making this video. a pleasure as always!
I couldn't help thinking about the current administration. Great video.
Roman Nardone
who knew a video game review could be so powerful. It hit me where I didn't know I was lacking. Thank you.
Hey my dude, I suggest playing LISA the painful.
you sir have my respect for all these research and time spent on a single game..
and.. is this on steam ?
I bought the game after watching your analysis!
Could you make a video about Age of Decadence?
Wonderfull video, one of my favorite RPGs in a very long time
Jarrod Anderson
Someone has invested in some sound proofing.
Just recently found this channel. Quality videos, sir!
Say, have you ever played the Metro (2033 & 34) games? It seems to me like they would be a natural fit for your channel.
Mr House was not evil he was correct.
holy damn man, this is probably your best essay yet. you may be a college dropout, but this is some truly fantastic, high level shit. kudos.
excellent description of "evil playthrough" type playthroughs and what makes them poignant..
Derrick Harms
Wow. The game, and your analysis of it, seem powerful. Thank you.
Jason Cook
You make me proud to be a gamer. I adore your content.
David Nash
Really need to carry on with this game. I felt like it bombarded you with some much stuff upfront I was overwhelmed. I like sort of Roman/Greek era style setting.
And then there is Bastard's Wound where the game will nuke your moral compass into oblivion...
Михаил Филатов
You deserve waaaay more subs
Tömör Bataar
Damn, I forgot how good this game is. I don't think I've played something that gives you a feeling of power over life and death more than this game.

I think I have to play it again. And will I be someone who says he wants justice but only metes out arbitrariness again? Well that's kinda the point.
jfc Noah, this is excellent. Some of your finest work.
Matthijs de Rijk
I'm listening this essay for the 3th time, and I still get shivers the way you explain the messages of this game.
Marco Selmo
Damn this video was cool, informative and though-provoking. I need to check the game out.
Damn man, I love this vid. Personally I was not that troubled by the moral choices in the game. What troubled me is how far some factions would "resist" by being total fools and letting people suffer as a result (edict of storms, for example).

There is no point resisting even before the conquest, the map was already 99% Kyros. Therefore as strange at it may sound, resisting is a criminal act leading to death, Tunon was right.