When the first episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones came out I was very curious about how the game would play out over the six episodes. The television series, and the novels they are based on well known for their parade of morally grey characters. The series has had their noble heroes, but they usually don’t live long. How would Telltale’s decision-making structure fit such a nuanced story? How would a story you can control fit into a larger narrative that has already been written? With the final episode, The Ice Dragon, the answer has come and while we didn’t get there without our share of issues, the result, overall, is a successful game worth playing for anybody looking for a deep and involved story, or a Game of Thrones fix before the new season next year.
Game of Thrones is not a story the deals much in happy endings and the game is no exception. By the time you make it to episode six, it’s not so much a question of if, people die, but more a question of which ones. Often it’s made clear to the player when those sorts of major decisions are at hand, but not always. At various points in the previous five episodes, there were moments where characters are boxed into corners and make decisions they feel they must, rather than the ones they would choose. I was curious if the final episode would give any sort of relief to this pressure. Not really. Much like the story it is based on, the tough decisions never stop, the only change.
Also, like the series, there are no firm conclusions either. This is almost certainly Season 1, for this game. Most interestingly depending on what decisions are made here, it could set up a very different opening for Season 2.
The game is not without its issues, however. While the story, characters, and voice acting are exemplary the game is once again undercut to some degree by technical problems. The primary issues is in the audio where numerous sound effects simply weren’t where they were supposed to be. A polar bear opens its mouth to roar but nothing comes out. Two swords clash together and make no sound. There was also a video problem near the end that turned one character’s face into a fairly terrible abomination that was completely distracting from the game. The problems do not negate the game’s positives, but they do hinder them.
Game of Thrones was an intriguing choice to run side by side with Tales From the Borderlands. While the later was full of entertaining laughs the former was a deep and engrossing drama, more in line with Telltale’s ground-breaking The Walking Dead series. While Thrones method of running multiple character arcs prevents them all from being as endearing as many from that series, it does give you a story you’ll likely want to see through to the end. If only to find out if anybody survives.