Developers: Telltale Games
Publishers: Telltale Games
Plot: As the North falls into the hands of the Bolton family, House Forrester finds their livelihood threatened by Ramsey Snow, especially when their new liege lord, Ethan, is too young to deal with war time.
It wouldn’t be an unfair assessment to call Game of Thrones Telltale’s first mainstream game. Early days showed Telltale remake Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, forgettable yet amusing, something for the fans of those franchises. The Walking Dead became big and put Telltale on the map. Afterwards, we had Wolf Among Us and Borderlands which came across as a pet project for the company, playfully exploring art styles and limits to their genre. However, you cannot make a Game of Thrones game and not attract full attention. Gone is the comic book style and in come the heavyweight actors, Natalie Dormer, Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage all voice-acting their on-screen personas to help the game integrate more smoothly. We expect to be thrown into the universe and fully embrace that Game of Thrones feel. Yes, Telltale Games might be drowning in success right now, but this is easily their biggest challenge to date.
Thankfully, the first episode seems to hit all the correct spots. It is the small attention to details that count. The art style is less comic book, so when Cersei and Margaery show up, they actually look like they would on the television show. When the opening scene comes to a dramatic end, we fade into the actual credits sequence from the show, which instantly puts you in the mood for some Game of Thrones action. Best of all, Telltale Games try their hand at something new and split the narrative into sections. Not only do we play as Gared Tuttle, squire to Lord Forrester and loyal friend to the Forrester family, but we jump to the heir to the Forrester family, Ethan, and later to Mira, the Forrester ward, trapped in King’s Landing with a deadly game of politics. It really does feel like a Game of Thrones universe. This not only helps the writers deal out some twists here and there, but it also gives you the full Game of Thrones experience. Before I realised I had more than one character to play, I was worried that I was going to be stuck with this Forrester squire, travelling across Westeros, shoe-horning in every side of the map. However, because we have several characters at hand, we get to witness the North, King’s Landing and the Twins at a leisurely pace, making the story feel more natural. Yes, I loved seeing some of the book’s lead characters, but I don’t want them to be too important to the plot. I want my own characters with an occasional nod to the wider universe. Telltale achieve this, without breaking a sweat.
It also helps shake the gameplay up a bit. Game of Thrones feels like a ‘Telltales Best of’. With the frantic fighting, we get that split-section decision making that Walking Dead gives us. I can only save one person! Who is more useful to my mission? With Ethan making the decisions for House Forrester in his father’s absence, we get that Wolf Among Us hunt for true justice. You need to choose what the right thing to do is versus the thing that might upset your loved ones. Not one decision is easy and that is what makes playing this so gripping. But, also just like the show, the best scenes are always in Kings Landing. Telltale’s gaming style is all about reading faces and predicting how best to go about your mission upsetting the least amount of people. Game of Thrones ups the ante considerably. You will be trapped between Cersei and Margaery, wanting to appease both. You will say one thing and the two characters will flinch. It is impossible to read their faces. Was that a good flinch or a bad flinch? What have I just done? Leaving that throne room scene is a tricky moment, as you are painfully aware in a few episodes time, things you just said will drastically change how the game will later play out. I want more of this, because I genuinely feel like a character in the Game of Thrones universe, which is exactly what I wanted from this game.
Final Verdict: We are off to a great start. True to the story yet with that fresh Telltale Games style. Will this be better than the Walking Dead?