Platform: Android, iOS, PC, OS X, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: 17 November 2015
Developer: Telltale Games
Telltale: everybody’s favourite developer who continually challenge the boundaries between video games and “Choose Your Own Adventure” story books. In a world where games with nearly no plot (I’m looking at you, Call of Duty) seem to be in a complete abundance, it is truly a refreshing experience to sit back with a Telltale game and let yourself get completely immersed. Just like with their previous games based around The Walking Dead comic book and television series, what Telltale has done with Game of Thrones combines the viewing experience of television with the pleasure of having an impact on the story that we get from video games.
Now that the final chapter of the game has been released, we get to see many of the choices that we have made previously come to fruition. With Game of Thrones, even small decisions, such as talking to somebody with a certain tone or being in a certain place at a certain time, can have a large impact upon the direction that the narrative takes. The game handily shows you how your decisions compare with other players around the world and this adds an exciting element to the otherwise isolated experience of playing the game. The sheer amount of possibilities for narrative direction is what makes it capable of being continually revisited. Not only do you have to decide which one of the playable characters you want to die and which one you want to survive for the final chapter, you can also impact which of your family members survive the ending of this first series. It will be interesting to see what they do with these wildly varying stories if the games does come back for another series and how they manage to make everything coherent once again.
Speaking of the non-playable characters in the game, what is so great about Game of Thrones in comparison to other Telltale games is the sheer number of figures from the source material that you come into contact with during the course of your gameplay. This was really brought home in the closing character where the actors and actresses of these characters discuss the members of the Forrester family according to how you interacted with them. Where The Walking Dead game series only had Glenn and Herschel appear, Game of Thrones has an abundance of fan favourites, including: Ramsay Bolton, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen and Margaery Tyrell. These aren’t just cameos either, they are in fact key players in the storyline – a clear example of this is how Margaery’s relationship with Mira Forrester plays into the character’s fate towards the end. I was very impressed with the fact that they managed to get the real actors and actresses involved in the game, and at what great lengths they went to in making the character models look just like them.
With the show in mind, it is important to realise that the game takes place alongside events from the fourth series of the show and therefore do contain spoilers. Since the show has not long since finished its fifth series, it is interesting to come to the game at this stage knowing what direction the larger storylines will take. The events at the Wall with Jon Snow, for example, are yet to come and it is often hard not to feel a sense of dramatic irony whilst playing the game series. With a knowledge of who is who’s favour at certain points, one would imagine that you could easily choreograph the Forresters’ story in accordance with that, but, thankfully, things aren’t that simple.
Overall, Telltale’s Game of Thrones series is a must play for fans of the show and the books. Not only is it a brilliant experience in its own sense, with some moments that are arguably even more emotive than some of the ones we have seen on the television series, but is also a great way to kill the time waiting for series six to come out. You legitimately get attached to the Forrester family and their struggles really create an impact. Iron from ice, my brothers and sisters. Iron from ice!