Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Book Three (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 14.04.2018

Review for Ken Follett

As with all reviews of this episodic nature, there will be spoilers for previous episodes throughout the review, so it is not recommended to continue reading without playing the previous episodes first.

Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Book Three is the final part in this epic 1000-page novel. With the challenge of trying to find a way to pace the novel out into a three-part visual novel series, Daedalic Entertainment has done a phenomenal job in bringing the story to life. The story kicks off with Aliena and her newborn baby boarding a ship to France to search for the father of her child, Jack Jackson. Prior Philip continues to raise Jonathan at Kingsbridge, while the cathedral rebuilding programme is placed on what is seemingly a permanent end. In the meantime, the war for the throne involving King Stephen throws a wrench into the works for Earlscastle as William Hamleigh tries to hold onto his title and lands. Following the PC review, Cubed3 now looks at the game on PlayStation 4.

This final episode brings about an end to the saga, as Jack travels across France in a bid to uncover the truth about his father. Playing from the point-of-view of Aliena as she disembarks in Normandy, she follows a series of clues to discover Jack's whereabouts. With the baby in tow, she struggles for many months moving around France, with a 'Choose-Your-Own-Adventure' mini-game of sorts with the different locations in France. Selecting where Aliena travels gives a minor illusion of story divergence, but they all end up pointing in the same direction in the end.

The main issue with the opening portion of this third act is that Aliena's search for Jack across France seems to drag on a little too long. Many of the towns she seeks out leave minor trails that lead to Jack's whereabouts, but the entire chapter seems like 'filler' that could have easily been cut down to half the content. While the pilgrimage is important to understand the fight within Aliena to search the ends of the Earth to find the father of her child, it drastically affects the pace of the story by having a slow and mundane beginning.

Fortunately, the story does pick up the pace once Aliena and the reunited Jack make their way back to Kingsbridge to set things right and tie up the remaining story threads - from the Hamleigh's evil rule over Earlscastle, to Prior Philip trying to do all that he can to repel the manipulations of Waleran Bigod. The big story thread of all, though, is the discovery of Jack Jackson's mysterious father, and what his role is in the whole story, which is the most enticing of all thanks to the brilliant build-up in the closing portions.

Screenshot for Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Book Three on PlayStation 4

Philip's side of the story takes a bit of a stall right up until the closing moments, as he does not have much to do apart from raising Jonathan and helping him to plant trees. This is mainly since his story has run its course and is waiting for the rest of the cast to catch up with their stories. Of course, it is Jack and Aliena's story that carries the real intrigue in finalising this climax. The remaining cast members in Robert and Martha barely have anything to do, while Alfred is all but forgotten, without getting a mention about his whereabouts.

Like the previous two games, Book Three is a visual novel that plays out the story from the actual novel. This does not have branching story paths, and it lacks choices that change pivotal key moments of the tale, but including those would change the type of game that The Pillars of the Earth is trying to be. This is an interactive movie that does a lot of justice to the source material. However, the real lack of choices and branching story threads, especially made from previous parts, has a minimal effect in this final chapter, which is unfortunate.

The art style is excellent, as always, while the animations are crisp and clean. The voice acting from the main cast is as top-notch as the previous two books, with emotional performances that build to an epic conclusion. The story reaches a compelling conclusion thanks to the performances of the voice actors, who breathe life into the characters, while doing well to reflect their situations. While the acting isn't award-winning, it still does a good job to keep the story grounded and realistic.

Screenshot for Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth: Book Three on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The ending brings about a satisfying conclusion to what is an epic saga, and one that hopes to launch Daedalic Entertainment into adapting other stories into visual novels. While the third part of this saga gets off to a bit of a slow and boring start, it then picks up speed when Jack and Aliena return to Kingsbridge. The story then feels rushed up until the ending, where the final chapter is at a nice and methodical pace to the end. Fortunately, there is a satisfying end that ties up all the story threads, while some of the lesser characters are left behind and pushed to the back. While the second half of The Pillars of the Earth: Book Three seems to rush to the ending, this is probably due to the slowness of the first half, and how much 'filler' it seems to have. With better balancing, the story could have been cleaner and more consistent.

Developer

Daedalic

Publisher

Daedalic

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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