Developers: Telltale Games
Publishers: Telltale Games
Plot: The Forresters plan to finish off the Whitehills during talks of surrender, Mira is left scrambling for safety after the reveal of a traitor and Gared finds the North Grove.
The final episode can be a bit of a tricky one for a choice based game like Telltale’s. A lot of the thrill of this style of game is making these choices and wondering exactly how they are going to bite you in the ass in a few episode’s time. By the time, the ending comes up, we have run out of time to play the long game and therefore demand more immediate thrills. Suddenly Telltale have to survive off of the consequences of the choices rather than the choices themselves. They got by on Wolf Among Us, as the choices painted a clear character arc you could lean back and admire, but other choice based games have found themselves unstuck. Life is Strange is the clear example, whose ending was a little shaky due to uncertainty about how to bring their game to a fulfilling close. It doesn’t inspire confidence that the entire series has felt like Telltale on half steam. Game of Thrones is just too slow-burning a saga to get that gaming rush of adrenaline. Whole episodes connect dots, rather than give you anything meaty to dive into. We start up this episode with eagerness, but not holding out too much hope.
And it delivers. OK, Game of Thrones probably won’t come anywhere close to the other Telltale Games series. Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us were master-classes in adapting franchises to their gaming vehicle and even Minecraft might be ranked higher when you consider its target audience is aimed in a separate direction. But Game of Thrones, while only probably being recommendable to fans of Telltale or Game of Thrones, still finds time to astound when it needs to. The main chunk of storyline is everything we could have hoped for, a bloody showdown between the Forresters and the Whitehills with gripping set-pieces and heart-breaking shocks. The last cliff-hanger made the gamer chose who lives through to the finale, Rodrik or Asher, so this episode is mainly depicting revenge. The surviving Lord of the Forresters launches an attack (you chose between ambush or assassination), and the episode tracks the fallout of your choice. Of course, it doesn’t go to plan as smoothly as you want it to, and the set-piece that follows puts you in the middle of a bloody mess of a struggle. All your favourite supporting characters put their lives on the line: Beshka, Talia, Duncan… any one of them could be the next character to find an untimely Game of Thrones death waiting for them. On the plus side, it also acts as a chance to finally strike one back at the Whitehills you have been holding grudges on for quite some time. It doesn’t act as the clean revenge mission you want it to be. After all this is Game of Thrones and the good sensations are always followed by a healthy dose of heartbreak. Meanwhile, Mira and Gared’s story focus more on the story. The show cleverly keeps them to the side-lines. Gared, for example, does drag the episode down this time around, his side of the finale more a mystery than a set-piece. Mira is more character based, but the ending packs a punch of its own.
Therefore the choices become more of a case of how you bear these crosses. A lot of this episode sees you realising it is too late to change the course of action that is unfolding before your eyes. Mira has already made her enemies, the Whitehills already have an opinion of the Forresters. It is your job to minimise damage as it unfolds. A lot of the time you might find yourself hopelessly cornered. There is no victory for certain characters (hell, we could argue no one here gets a victory). It is the player’s decision to decide how they take their punishment. Do they sink to a lower stature or give into a horrible blackmail offer to gain a tiny portion of success? Or perhaps you simply accept your situation and bow out with a character you can be proud in? And there are certain moments in the game, where you totally understand some of the character decisions made in the show. This series, for all of its flaws, does put you in the shoes of the TV’s characters amazingly well. There is even a nice treat in the closing credits, where the characters from the show you encountered throughout the game, Jon Snow, Cersei, Margaery, share their personal thoughts on what they thought of you throughout the game, reflecting how your choices reflected on those around you. There is admirable pleasure in knowing that you ended this game making Ramsay Bolton hate your guts.
Final Verdict: The finale delivers on thrills, so even if it isn’t a holistically great episode, it impresses enough to satisfy.