Telltale’s Game of Thrones isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an avid fan of the fantasy books or the TV series, this episodic graphic adventure will not disappoint.
Not only does Game of Thrones represent a massive success for HBO, but the fantasy-themed political intrigue quickly became a cultural milestone that everyone’s aware of. At first glance, developer Telltale Games seems like a great fit to create a video game adaptation, since they’ve worked on games based on popular TV shows before (mainly The Walking Dead.) That said, Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones is certainly not for everyone, but if you’re an avid fan of the fantasy books or the TV series, this episodic graphic adventure will not disappoint.
Before moving on, a word of advice for those of you who aren’t up to date with the HBO series and intend to watch it at some point: the game’s set between seasons four and five, so if you want to watch the show make sure you at least make it to the fourth season before playing the game. Otherwise, be prepared for some massive spoilers. Also, while Game of Thrones is famous for its sex scenes, the game keeps those to a minimum, though you can expect a lot of violence in this adaptation.
If you haven’t played other Telltale Games, here’s what you should know: as you progress through the game, you select different dialogue lines in a limited amount of time and your actions tailor the story which means that other characters react to the options you’ve selected, creating the illusion of choice. From time to time, there are quick time events that you need to complete successfully to avoid death. Needless to say, the gameplay is secondary here, since the story is what makes Telltale Games what they are.
In Game of Thrones, you play as different characters. One of the stories, for instance, is about Gared, a squire who serves the king of the North and you’ll also meet Ethan lord of house Forrester, among other characters. The story jumps between different characters which makes it hard to explain without making reference to specifics. Like the TV show, character development is paramount and none of those characters is ever safe. As it’s usually the case with both Game of Thrones and Telltale games, some of them won’t make it to end of the season (in fact, some of them might not even make it to the end of the episode) and when their untimely deaths finally take place, they usually occur in an impactful and surprising manner.
The game looks good enough and fans will certainly recognize both characters and locales from the show. Unfortunately, while the game looks good enough most of the times, the backgrounds (which try to emulate hand paintings) are rough around the edges and if you pay attention, you’ll notice some awkward pixelation. Apart from the muddy backgrounds, there are visual glitches and missing lines of dialogues. It’s worth mentioning that I played the Xbox 360 version of the game, but from what I’ve heard, these problems are prevalent across different platforms.
Seeing these technical issues is a shame because the level of authenticity and attention to detail is amazing all around. Every time you start a new episode, a recreated version of the opening plays and some of the most memorable settings and moments are beautifully recreated. Also, some of the characters from the show make an appearance and they are voiced by the same actors and they do a terrific job of bringing those characters to life.
Technical blemishes aside, Telltale Games’ interpretation of Game of Thrones is a violent, brutal and fascinating title that no fan of the universe created by George R. R. Martin should miss. In other words, fans of Game of Thrones and Telltale Games are in for a treat.