Telltale Games give us the chance to return to Westeros as we all await Season 5 of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. The game is a point and click adventure spread across six episodes, so the usual Telltale fare. The story follows that of House Forrester’s (y’know that one house that was mentioned once in the show? Yeah… anyway) loyal bannermen to House Stark in Ironrath to the north, where they tend to the invaluable ironwood. Unlike their previous Walking Dead series, players control a cast of characters from Lord Forrester’s Squire to the eldest daughter as she tends to Lady Margaery in King’s Landing. Each character follows a unique storyline that throws players into the deadly politics of Westeros.
I feel it goes without saying, but this game is undoubtedly one for fans of the show. Those who are unfamiliar with the HBO show will be out of their depth at the first scene, which happens in tandem with the Red Wedding. But as it is for fans of the series, players are treated to great set pieces and appearances from loved (and hated) characters, all of whom are voiced by their respective actors.
Despite this being only the first of six episodes that Telltale will release, it leaves a strong impression and great anticipation for the next episode. An aspect that players will pick up on immediately is the unique graphics detail. Everything is beautifully and stylistically painted, giving the game a definite aesthetic.
As sure as the graphics are impressive, so too is the atmosphere as everything is turned to eleven within the first five minutes and there are only brief reprieves from tension that might or might not have you wiping the sweat from your palms. Whether it’s up against enemy soldiers or a rival lord, any misstep could damn you and Cersei Lannister stating that “In the game of thrones you win or you die” brings a whole new meaning.
However, in spite of the game giving the player options to choose from, few of them give largely different experiences through the first episode. A key element of the game is choice and the repercussions of your actions throughout Westeros, but so far these are few and only on a small scale (such as deciding a thief’s fate). It is not a point that I judge the game too harshly on, it’s the first episode and is tasked with setting the stage for the storm that is to come. As an introduction, it establishes the characters and where you are in relation to the show rather well.
So far the point and click aspects of the game seem to serve as an interlude to the dialogue scenes. In them, you can explore certain areas and learn more of the Forresters as well as engage in more amicable discussions with characters. Enjoyable as this is, the true meat of the game is in the conversations and decision making with other characters.
An aspect of the game that I’m really enjoying is seeing George R R Martin’s world through even more perspectives and the variations on that. Seeing the massacre of The Stark Bannermen up close and fighting for your life in the thick of the melee not only compliments the show but makes for a great experience for any GoT fan. Thankfully the narrative of the game doesn’t rely heavily on the events of the TV shows, despite them being intertwined. Overlap occasionally takes place but so far it’s from a perspective we haven’t seen and the story hints at some pretty tantalising moments from the show to be a fly on the wall to (Find your seat for the wedding)
Episode One has set the scene and shown us in all its gory detail what to expect from the next five. Telltale have done well in crafting a tale of betrayal and political intrigue to match that of the TV show and leave us just as shaken and eager for more.
A must have for any fan of HBO’s hit show and well worth the price. 8/10