Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Release Dates: November 17th, 2015 (NA) / November 20th, 2015 (EU)
Price: 27.99€ (Steam)
Based on the already popular series "A Song of Ice and Fire" created by George R.R. Martin, Telltale managed to add its own unique twist on the Game of Thrones formula, presenting the story of House Forrester during their battle against the Whitehills. The story kicks off after Lord Gregor Forrester's death, leaving the position as Lord of Ironwrath open for his sons. In the absence of Rodrick and Ahser, Ethan, the youngest of Lord Gregor's sons takes over as Lord of Ironwrath and that marks the start of an incredible journey for the Forresters, as the Whitehills have the support of the Boltons, so each remaining member of House Forrester takes a different path to find support for the family.
As limited in scope as this story might seem compared to the main plot from the books and the show, the action takes place in various locations, as Gared Tuttle, squire to Lord Gregor is being sent to the Wall, while Mira Forrester is gathering support in King's Landing and Asher is looking for an army across the Narrow Sea to bring back home once he gets word of his family's situation. You will take control of each one of those characters as you meet already known characters such as Tyrion Lannister, Queen Regent Cersei or Daenerys Targaryen, as well as completely new characters, each one with its own unique personality and role to play in the story.
It wouldn't be a Game of Thrones experience without the heart-breaking moments, which Telltale's adaptation does not lack, but what makes this stand out as a one-of-a-kind experience is how you have a direct involvement in those moments, similar to other Telltale titles before, as you will often have to take difficult and heart-breaking decisions, deciding who lives and who dies. Unfortunately, regardless of the promises Telltale has made before and fail to fully accomplish them, those decisions rarely have an impact on how the story unfolds further, and when they do it's even more disappointing once you realize the only thing your decision has done was to open up a new line of dialogue.
If you have played a Telltale game before, you're probably familiar with how those games work, and Game of Thrones is no different, using quick time events, point and click environment interaction and dialogue as the mechanics used to play the game. It all depends on the moment here, while the first chapter takes a smoother and more introductory approach to get you acquainted with the characters, focusing mainly on the dialogue and paying attention to what each individual character has to say, the fifth and sixth chapters are the more action-focused ones, relying more on quick time events and your reflexes to add tension in the heat of the battle or in desperate moments.
Unlike other Telltale games that came before it, it's quite surprising how absent the moments of exploration are; if you have played something made by Telltale before you probably remember those scenes where you go around clicking every dot, just to see what happens or what your character has to say about that item. That is something you rarely see in Game of Thrones, as what's happening on the screen will always keep you focused and excited to see what's coming next, but in that same manner, not adding enough variety makes those quick time events feel overused and it eventually becomes repetitive.
Even when that happens what's going on story-wise will still keep you entertained, but on the gameplay side, there isn't anything new to the Telltale formula we've already experienced before, and even the things that were there before are not organized well enough to make it feel fresh, leaving you with a sense of repetition as you will always keep your fingers on the same buttons waiting for that quick time event to trigger. On the brighter side of things, dialogue makes this Game of Thrones experience feel personalized, as you will get different responses depending on your answer, and even though the things you say or do throughout the game rarely have an impact on the outcome, it's nice to see how characters react to your own personality.
It won't take you long to realize this isn't the prettiest game you've seen this year, and as a matter of fact it's pretty far away from it, as the entire game feels outdated once you take a closer look at the animations and how bulky some of the items look; the art style Telltale has chosen for this game doesn't help much with that affirmation either. Leaving that aside, this does look and feel like Game of Thrones, from the memorable landmarks such as The Wall or King's Landing, to characters such as Daenerys or Margaery Tyrell and all the environments and locations surrounding them, it all feels legit and placed there with a purpose.
Of course that song we all sing every morning in the shower is here, among with some other catchy tunes that lighten up the mood in the game; combined with the great use of audio effects, Game of Thrones sounds amazing and it stays true to the book's roots. The voice acting on the Forrester side is great and the dialogue is well written, but the greatest part in all this is that the actors from the TV show are all here to voice their characters, so Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke have all recorded the dialogue for their characters in game, which makes this entire experience feel like you are an active part of the Game of Thrones story.
The entire season takes around 12 hours to complete, but since there are no collectibles or different endings depending on your choices there isn't much reason to replay it a second time, so a one time experience is all that you get. Even with the 28€ only price tag, you might wanna wait for a sale to grab this, especially if you haven't watched the show, which you totally should before even considering buying this.
If you haven't watched Game of Thrones, you should probably do that before getting into this, mainly because the game kicks off after Season 3 of the TV show so it's pretty much full of spoilers about what happened before, and secondly because you probably won't understand much unless you are familiar with the lore of Game of Thrones already. That being said, this is a must play for any Game of Thrones fan as it offers a unique story in the GoT universe which truly makes you feel like you are a part of.