Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series

As usual when it comes to Telltale games their focus is on the narrative with a minimum of gameplay besides quick-time-events. Their Game of Throne take is no different, and I think, as long as you know what you get into, this lack of gameplay shouldn’t really bother as long as the story is entertaining. So, does Telltale do justice to the grim world of a Song of Ice and Fire?

You play as House Forrester, an ally to the Snows, and the story starts with the infamous “red wedding”. If you watched the TV-series, you will know what is to come. You, together with the family of Snow, gets betrayed. Lots of people die, including the Lord of the house. Luckily, some manage to escape the slaughter, and these brave souls later on turns to the protagonists of the story. You get to play as several characters of House Forrester, taking you all over Westeros and Essos.

As you can imagine, you start out in a rather bad place for your house. With the Lord dead, alliance and protecting gone – vultures have come to take their pickings of the corpse. From here on you take control, guiding the family out of this mess with a lot of decisions to be made. The first 3 chapters of the story I enjoyed, because even if things looked grim for the Forresters, it felt like things eventually must pick up, but the thing is, it never does. I understand that the setting of Game of Thrones are bloody and brutal, with honorable characters dying off to the left and right, yet, as a game, it gets a bit much getting kicked in the face constantly without any decisions ever paying out. It’s like the game is setting you up to fail at every turn, having loyalty and foresight providing zero rewards. When the 4th chapter started, I felt emotionally drained, it was just set back after set back.

Ordering fast food with the family

Another huge problem for Game of Thrones is that Telltale had to cram as many characters as possible they could from the TV-series into the game. Like for an example, Ramsay. Ramsay is one of the villains, but if you have watched the show, you know that you will never get your revenge – he is reserved to die to another. Throughout the story, I felt this was a frustration part of it, having these personas repeatedly out of reach. This, in combination of decisions not really mattering, and the general bleakness of the story, makes for a depressing gaming session. There is also one part of the game that I felt was a bit out there, even for the setting. It’s fantasy, so anything goes I guess, I mean it already have zombies, dragons and what not, but this thing, that takes part in the northern cold felt very hasty, and it didn’t fit the general theme of the game at all. It’s like the setting went full D&D all of a sudden. The biggest sin, though, is that the game ends on a huge cliffhanger, which made playing it pointless in the end. It ends on such a bad note, too, with basically every plot thread unresolved without any satisfaction of revenge played out. While I think the dialogue was well-written, the story at large was an exercise in emotional suffering, especially with the abysmal ending that we will never see a conclusion to.

Dracarys?

Technically, the game seems a bit glitchy, with animations freaking out at times, lip-syncing not always syncing up, audio randomly disappearing etc. It doesn’t drag down the presentation too much, but it gives a vibe of being unfinished. I do otherwise think the visuals are fine, sound and voice-acting too, except maybe that one guy that played several characters. It was hard not to notice the same voice. For some reason, though, Telltale made one of the worst decisions ever for a game with heavy focus on narrative – it spoils the next chapter after finishing one! You can’t click past it or anything, I had to leave the computer every time the preview video came up.

Do I recommend the game? I’m sorry to say, no, I don’t. While the writing was of typical Telltale quality from a dialogue standpoint, the constant beat-downs of the player, and having the story lacking a true ending, makes playing it utterly pointless. It doesn’t show anything new of the world either, so there isn’t a reason to play for any lore reasons. It’s just a sad tale of an honorable noble House getting destroyed, with having the bad guys winning at the end. I guess, you could call that true to Game of Thrones, but I’m not sure that it works that well in a game format, especially when it cheats on the decision-making.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas


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