Game of Thrones, developed by Telltale Games, reveals a world in constant conflict, where every action has a reaction, and politics is just as important as a sword and shield.
Winter is Coming
The game mainly takes places in Westeros, following the adventures of squire Gared Tuttle, as well as members of the Forrester family. These include Mira Forrester, who serves Lady Margaery in King’s Landing, Ethan Forrester, the new lord after his father is betrayed at the Red Wedding, and Asher Forrester, who, after being banished from his home, fights in the Eastern lands of Essos.
Each episode is downloaded separately and even has opening credits to match the TV show. Each of the character’s actions determine what can happen to House Forrester later down the line in a multitude of ways. For instance showing defiance can lead to other Houses plotting against you, however, this could also work given the situation.
As these individual branching stories progress so too does the importance of the players’ decisions, which can determine whether someone lives or dies. The story continues; Gared is sent to the wall to serve alongside The Night’s Watch and search for ‘The North Grove’, Mira finds herself in over her head in King’s Landing, the Forresters suffer great losses, and Asher returns home.
A Nest of Vipers
Although this is an original story, Telltale take great care not to stray from the show, allowing actual events to be told through the perspective of the Forresters. Characters from the TV show make it in, and are voiced by the cast members themselves. Tyrion Lannister, John Snow, Margaery Tyrell, Queen Cersei , Ramsey Bolton, and Daenerys Targaryen are all included alongside the new characters. This makes for a very interesting tale told about a fractured House trying desperately to rebuild itself, all the while being at war with its neighbors.
Games of Thrones produces some of the best villains, and they shine through here. Ramsey Bolton tops the list, of course, although Lord Ludd and his fourth-born son Gryff of House Whitehill are a formidable pair. This is due to their hatred of the Forresters and their success at producing Ironwood (their allegiance to the Boltons after the Starks are all but wiped out makes them a dangerous power too). This results in the home of the Forrester clan, Ironwrath, being under constant threat of sieges and even simple business arrangements.
The main downside to Game of Thrones is that no matter the choice, the game seems to lead you down the same path. There needs to be more in terms of dialogue, actions, and then the subsequent consequences of those actions. Season Two would benefit from this, as many players have complained about the fact that they were unable to save a character no mater what they tried, however, this does mirror the show somewhat as deaths in Game of Thrones can be unpredictable and unavoidable.
Iron from Ice
Telltales’ spin-off of the Game of Thrones series mixes gameplay with crucial, time sensitive decisions that have made the studio famous. This style of having ‘interactive cutscenes’ as the majority of the game is genre defining, and is also a perfect fit for how the show unfolds. Game of Thrones just feels like it was destined to have a Telltale game made from it, as the studios previous projects; The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, follow a similarly successful formula.
The story gripped me to the point I couldn’t stop playing, yet I feel that changes need to be made for the sequel. The game was let down by a poor final couple of episodes, as some of the endings seemed rushed, and could’ve been fleshed out more to give players a greater sense of satisfaction upon completion.
Season Two could improve on the first by including a more diverse story, with differing consequences that actually shape the rest of the game. The bittersweet way in which it is handled here though does accurately represent Game of Thrones, a series about tragedy, betrayal, war, and death.