Game of Thrones is one of the biggest franchises in the world. People love it or they hate it. Its bloody, its political, it makes you think. Spanning over many different regions with a whole host of strange, wonderful, deadly, traitorous characters at the heart of it.
Telltale games not only brought that to a game but it didn’t bother with the already stuffed cast of characters. It created its own House, its own war within a war, its own politics and pain.
It took me 11 hours over 6 different episodes to finish the game. Trust me that play time could triple in the future.
In the beginning of my blog reviewing Episode 6 I said I figured out why I didn’t want to play the last game (and then gave it probably the best review of all the games) so what was that reason?
Game of Thrones is the one place you are assured a painful experience as a fan. You like that character? Its pretty much guaranteed that they are going to die a painful death at some point. You’d think that all that wouldn’t translate to a game very well, after all its the strength of the writing and the characters that make you like them and a game has limited time to do that in. Even if you stick them in danger, make them likeable and so on you are looking at two different types of people. People who don’t know Game of Thrones and people who do. Inside the space of People Who Do you’ll have fans with House alliances, favourite characters, a belief in one way or the other to do business.
What I’m trying to say is Telltale Games had a extremely hard job to bring the world of Game of Thrones to a game. It isn’t like The Walking Dead where the fear of being killed by zombies automatically will draw you in. People love GoT for 100s of different reasons. If they don’t know it at all (trust me there are people who don’t yet would and probably have or will play the game) then there is a whole world intricately balanced to explain.
What they did was smart. They didn’t give you the plot of GoT they gave you a story in the backgrounds. It happens during big events (Red Wedding, Joffery dying etc) and you meet big players in the game (where to start? Margaery, Cersei, Tyrion, Daenerys…) but you don’t have to know the world to really enjoy the game because Telltale created a House of their own who you could really fall in love with, who you could get behind. You got to decide whether they stood tall, whether they bowed to pressure, whether they were kind, just, loyal… They basically made you Lord Forrester and made you decide who lives and who dies.
It wasn’t always that simple of course and sometimes people die whether you wanted them to or not.
That is why I didn’t want to play Episode 6. I was left in tears and devastated at the end of Episode 5 where I had to choose between Lord Rodrik and Asher and I knew that in true Game of Thrones fashion I wasn’t suddenly going to be made happy in Episode 6.
But I was.
Because at the end of the day happy endings don’t really go hand in hand with GoT and I might have wanted Asher to chop the heads off of the Whitehills, I might have wanted to see Mira stand tall and escape off home, I might have wanted to turn back time and force the stupid game to make me save Ethan, but would that have truly been Game of Thrones?
It was a beautifully put together game with a great story, a top class cast of voice actors, great and rounded characters, lots of pain and anguish and by the final Episode it felt like actually maybe I COULD have made a difference.
The problem was it took to Episode 5 and 6 to do this.
Before then the game was OK, it glitched quite a bit and it had its problems with sound and loading, I didn’t like that I didn’t feel in control at all which was strange because everyone else felt the opposite. In Episode 5 and 6 I felt different but that was a little too late.
I loved House Forrester but I felt like I was also always on the back foot. Not because we were on the back foot story wise but because so many of the options seemed like the same thing. I also felt like some things just never followed through, I was a bitch and ran away leaving Tom to defend himself yet he’d give up his life for me still!? I also didn’t protect Beskha from the Dragon AND I stopped her killing her former master but here she is saving Ryon and sad that she didn’t get to spend time with Rodrik?
I guess that is one of the biggest problems with these games, there are only a certain amount of branches they can possibly branch off too, yet it always felt like this game had one story with one set of rules that they wanted you to play by and the most smallest of changes here and there didn’t really make me that happy.
Then I realised that the choices said more about me and what I get out of the game then it did about anything else and I was kind of satisfied. Everything I did was basically to gear up for a war I was constantly being told I was going to lose. Royland was my sentinel, I decided never to go for peace or bowing the knee, I looked people in the eyes and spat in the faces (well other then the one time I was asked whether I’d hold my head high or spit at someone…)
By the way I bet you can’t guess who my favourite House is in GoT? Go on guess?
By the time Episode 6 ended I wanted more. I wanted to replay the whole damn thing and do it again. I wanted to see if the ending changed depending on what I did. I wanted to know if Margaery would save me if I got Sera in trouble.
The other episodic game I played this year (Life is Strange) only had one thing I wanted to go back and change and I did that easily (one big decision at the end of the game you can read about in the review) but this one I’ll have to go back at least to about Episode 2 if not just right back to the beginning. Make some characters more submissive, others more bloodthirsty, give more mercy, kill more, disagree, be a bitch, be a asshole, save Rodrik (I can’t ever see poor Asher die so that might never happen) ambush Ludd, let my mum die at the table through the poison…. I didn’t have that with Life is Strange.
Then again I also didn’t have graphic problems, sound problems or reaction time problems with Life is Strange. Still even if I pounded on the right button there was either no point as I was going to be beaten up anyway or it didn’t register, though by the end I couldn’t tell the difference between the two. I said in the episode 6 blog that I’d rather have a cut scene take me to a dialogue tree then making me walk three paces then cut back to a cut scene. I liked the open world setting of Life is Strange better, being able to explore a little more and interact with more then just the important stuff.
GoT got me because it made me love the characters, it made me want to spend time in the world. It made me want to win a war that I had help create. Heck the game made me want to watch the TV series which I hadn’t done since Season 1 finished! But it also made me want more.
So in the end how did it end up on our table of games?
I actually feel like I completely overmarked Life of Strange now after playing this episode and might have to review that. For everything I marked highly for Life is Strange I’d mark low for GoT but for everything I marked high for GoT it wasn’t until now I realised that it was lacking from LiS. That is for another time though.
The story started off OK and progressively got better, the characters A+, the game play was neither here nor there at times and there was a lot of talking.
Therefore honestly even though with the adrenaline still pumping through my body over everything that has happened to House Forrester I’ll have to give it a 6/10.
1. Final Fantasy VII – 8
= Sam & Max Season 1 – 8
2. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 – 7.5
= Life is Strange – 7.5 (REVISED SCORE)
3. Sam & Max Season 2 – 7
4. Sam & Max Season 3 – 6
= Game of Thrones : A Telltale Game – 6
5. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 – 5
= Secret of Monkey Island – 5
6. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep – 4
= Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! – 4
7. Monkey Island 2 : LeChucks Revenge – 3
Game of Thrones is a great game. Its fun to play but it was hard to get into. Better now that its one whole. There are plenty of bits that will make you cry, make you angry, make you hate Ramsay Bolton (or in my case want to wrap him tighter in cotton wool and tell people to get away from him) and leave you hyped and angry until Season 2 arrives.
It has a wonderful story, brilliant actors and is lovely to watch.
There is a bit too much watching though, and some rather bad glitches in each game that make you angrier for the wrong reasons.
Also because of this game I actually HAVE decided to revise LiS to 7.5 knocking off a whole point. Even though I haven’t reviewed why I gave it a 8.5 I’m pretty sure one reason was its replayability value and on finishing GoT I know for sure that it doesn’t even live up a tiny bit to GoT.