The story is compelling and the chracters likable. Mors is more of a badass with a violent surface a soft core and most people will probably like him more then the other potagonist who tends to care more about status, family and his city. I won't go into spoilers but there are a bunch of twists throughout the whole game, a few expected ones but overall quite enjoyable. The pacing is often good, but some chapters seem a bit too long and tedious, especially if you want to see more of Mors this will be quite annoying at times but it is ok. There are still enough interesting things that keep it going.Combat
If you know games like Dragon Age you will be quite familiar with this. you can pause (here: slow down) the game and activate skills to kill or interrupt enemies while adding states like stun, bleed, poison etc. on them. There is a cast bar for any skill or action you take, so anticipating moves is often required. A random aggro system is there that depends on damage dealt and there are skills to provoke enemies, but apart from that they often seem to attack randomly. There is also an armor system with different types of weapons having a greater effect on certain type of armor, combined with the ability to switch weapons this makes for a very good combat system - on paper. Effectively this is pretty pointless, as the damage bonus is always the same (15%) and there is no penalty. In addition you would of course need another weapon and the skill to fill the second weapon slot, apart from that you have 3 weapon types but only 2 weapon slots (unless dual-wielding). Add the fact that light armor grants low health and heavy armor high health in general what makes it obviously more beneficial to invest into things that increase damage against heavy armor, the rest dies anyway. There are also criticals, deflection and dodge effects, but I will come to them in the next section. Basically everything your character can do, the enemy can do as well, except for instant interrupts (only the interrupting part is instant, those skills still activate like any other).Character Development
There are multiple things that have to be considered: attributes, abilities, skills and traits.
Attributes directly influence your characters stats, like damage or health. An important point is that upon creating your character you can already maximize 2 attributes and set one at 8 (of 10) considered you keep 2 stats at minimum. As you gain attributes very slowly (5 over the course of the game) this takes a lot of momentum from your progression, because you amost cap effectiveness (of attributes) upon creation. There is also some kind of discrepepancy between the (pretty much exclusive) resistance mechanics, deflection and dodge vs health and damage resistance. As abilities always hit once they activate deflection and dodge will not help anything against them, to counter those you would need abilities to interrupt (some ability trees have little to offer there) and enough energy to cast them, so you will probably need to invest a lot into intelligence. After deflecting you still take damage and you can only dodge after a deflection (there is one ability that changes that slightly) so you will still die unless you have someone to take all aggro from you.
Abilities are aquired by investing points in a chosen tree. There are at most 2 trees that can be acquired, the second can be either another weapon stlye tree or a specialization of the first. Some are more useful than others but the majority is balanced. There are some serious issues with trees failing horribly in certain situations, like Mors' Magnar tree only having one costly interrupt that can be dodged unless the enemy has low health, while the defense tree offers way more for way less. It should also be noted that ablities seem use weapon damage, NOT dps, thus slow high damage weapons seems to be the better choice here.
Skills are the ability to use a certain weapon or armor. Skilling anything where you don't get a bonus is pretty useless as you waste too many points. You will have enough to max a weapon of choice and your armor of choice, depending on intelligence even two weapons/armors may be possible.
Traits can be choosen and acquired through the game giving small bonuses to the character. most of them are pretty balanced, but there are some issues here and there where it would seem unfair (if you knew the other bonus at least).
Your progression will be pretty slow at the start and only picks up when your are about lvl 7-8 because you get another tree and level up more quickly after that. you are able to (iirc) pick all specialized abilities and all but 2 standard abilities upon reaching max level, so you should choose which skills you do not need.Diffculty
The easier difficulties will be underwhelming. You don't need to think much there, often enabling buffs and just letting them kill everything works. Lord is challenging but I see certain builds that don't stand a chance here. There is also a "cookie cutter" strategy where you just focus the enemy with the lowest health, kill him and move on, as most enemies do the same amount of damage (unless they use an ability that has to be interrupted ofc). This gets a bit tedious later on, as you essentially always do the same. another option is having both charcters pick up AoE skills and nuke the group until only the big ones are left standing. Buying weapons early will make this even easier.Fairness
As stated above some builds won't stand a chance in certain situations, this only holds for Lord diffculty however and you can just tone it down for a short time, but that itself is not a good design choice. Some dialogue choices are also unfair, offering certain quests or similar things where you really can't expect it. There are no major issues here but some small things that may annoy you if you ever find out about it. Another bad thing is that at three points where you can decide to undertake a more difficult approach, be it attacking without killing sentries first, not taking an escort or clearing the more dangerous part of the castle. Seriously, if they don't want you to do this, then they shouldn't add that option, as these things are very frustrating on the highest diffculty.Items
Not much to say here, loot is pretty balanced, you get a ton of gold though and can buy anything without problems once the more valuable stuff drops. Every drop is scripted so no surprises there. One issue is the high drop rate of two handed weapons, that seems wasted, as there is only one tree that can use them at all. Quests
Very interesting quests, at times a bit linear but the conversations are what this game is about. The side quest are really great. Good characters and you almost always have some kind of choice that changes the outcome (mostly kill someone or not or whom to side with but sometimes there are other benefits).Design
The atmosphere and design of the locations are very well made. There was one door in King's Landing that couldn't be opened at all so you always had to run around (often running into a deadend) so that pissed me off severely.
Apart from that, they did a good job.Style, Interface
Inventory, character screen etc. are pretty basic. It is very easy to get used to it, and everything is easily accessible. But the minimap designer should have been sent to the wall. It can't be called "map", because you do not see any layout only relative distance to points of interest and it's not even locked. Very bad choice here. Another thing is the sheath/unsheath animations at the start/end of battle, staying in battle mode (adding a key to enable/disable it) would haven been way better.
Overall decent game, but way too many minor flaws to be anything more. They should have taken more time.