Parents' Guide to

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Mature point-and-click tale focused on choice, consequences.

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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As commonplace as point-and-click games are, this adventure game stands out for its simplicity and tenacity in working through its plots and subplots. Whereas other games set you on your way to end a zombie apocalypse or win a war, Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth tasks you with keeping families together. Whether you choose to do that at all costs, and seek to employ trickery, chicanery, and straight-up deception, is up to you. Unlike in other adventure games, you're able to complete entire sections without coming across or solving certain puzzles. Your lack of curiosity or failure to spot these opportunities will always have ramifications -- if, as Phillip of Gwynedd, you don't help all the other monks in the priory with their problems, they won't speak up on your behalf at a pivotal moment. It makes for an adventure game where you're refreshingly less obsessed with inventory management and instead more focused on the people in your world.

But while the game gives you a lot more flexibility and chance to fully explore the world, there are still frustrating bottlenecks. For example, one puzzle requires you to spot not one but three ways that a castle is falling into disrepair to secure work for your new stepfather. There's a shortcut key to highlight context-sensitive items and areas, but you're more or less forced to click on everything and anything until you find the sections you need to target for repairs. That being said, die-hard adventure game fans will appreciate the challenge and the weight to their decisions that Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth allows. There are two more downloadable bigger chapters coming for the game in the future, and this prologue sets things up nicely for a more mature and consequence-filled gaming experience.

Game Details

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