At long last we come to it: the final episode of Telltale’s epic Game of Thrones saga. It’s been the longest series Telltale have ever done (joint with their first ever episodic season, Sam & Max: Season 1), and in that time there have been deaths, betrayal, dragons, wights, queens, and Minecraft, and I don’t know which one is the more horrible. There’s been ups and downs too, so let’s hope that Telltale pull out all the stops to make the ending mostly an upper. Just don’t expect it to be a pleasant one. It’s Game of Thrones after all.
Oh great, now what?
The story, if you remember any of it by now since the last episode was in… JULY?!? Holy crap! Wow, that’s a new record for tardiness Telltale! Ahem, anyway, let’s just say I needed the ‘Previously On’. After a very predictable ambush leaves yet another of the Forrester clan dead (the choice was yours) the scene is set for war between the Forresters and the Whitehills. With the crown, Lannisters and Boltons staying out of it, it comes down to your choices whether the Game of Thrones is won or lost.
Cutting straight to the chase, I believe The Ice Dragon to be the season’s strongest episode. Probably due to it taking five months longer than every other episode. This is mostly down to the fact that this is where everything happens, and all your choices collide. While I’m not going to play the entire season again to find out if the consequences create a completely different story (it’s too heartrending, and I haven’t finished Tales From The Borderlands yet) Telltale at least pull off the same trick they did in The Walking Dead: Season 1 where they make it feel like you’re the one steering the story. That character death in Episode 5 will definitely create some wildly different conversations, and in Episode 6 there is more than one utterly devastating decision to make.
Where's a Wizard when you need one?
Even choices aside the story is great, with some satisfying moments no matter what and some shocking moments even by George RR Martin standards. Oh, and you’ll finally find out what’s going on at the North Grove. The tale fits neatly in to the TV show and while exciting it never treads on the main Song of Ice and Fire story threads but does weave excellently between them. However if you’re expecting the Forrester tale to wrap up by the end credits you’ll be sorely disappointed, and it’s a large part of the reason why I’m not giving this episode a 9.0. Every side of the story ends on a cliffhanger and with Telltale there’s never any guarantee that we’ll get them resolved (I’m still aghast over Tales of Monkey Island). The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us felt like complete stories, but Game of Thrones doesn’t. And would it be heresy to say I prefer the plot of the (otherwise terrible) RPG?
Other than that you get the usual suspects from the rest of the series. The QTEs are some of Telltale’s weakest in Game of Thrones, as for the most part they appear too randomly and occasionally blend into the background. They’re a little better in The Ice Dragon admittedly, as for the most part you’ll know when QTE scenes are going to start. Fortunately there isn’t anything like the silly bow shooting this time around, and the one time you use a bow it’s a simple point and click. Hooray. There’s no puzzles of course, despite an inventory occasionally appearing in the few moments you can walk around for some reason.
The voice acting and sound in general remains great, and while the lacklustre graphics have been a constant irritation over the season Telltale at least try to make the big action scenes work and mostly succeed. It still would’ve looked better in any game engine made after 2004, but by Episode 6 you should be used to it by now. I still hate the static concept art representing locations however, and character models still look too stiff - but then I said that about Fallout 4 too so bigger developers than Telltale fall victim to the next-gen curse.
Spoiler - that's human blood!
While Episode 6 is a fine conclusion to the season now we’re at the end I do want to talk briefly about Telltale’s Game of Thrones as a whole and why it left me generally unsatisfied. Part of this is the padding, as the story really dragged its heels between episodes 2-5 and I’m not sure it warranted 6 episodes. Mainly though I feel Telltale didn’t actually get what people like about Game of Thrones. It’s not all about nasty twists, abject misery and good people getting st on. People stick with Game of Thrones because of the interesting characters, the witty banter and the clashes of personalities. I don’t think Telltale’s season had any of these, with the possible exception of Asher and Beskha but they weren’t in it enough (and in my playthrough at least one of them are dead, which I’m still regretting). Consequently it made playing through each episode something of a slog as there was never anything to look forward to other than more horrible things happening. At least there’s a little hope in the TV series, or at least some amusing repartee about wine and f*ing.
GAME OF THRONES: EPISODE 6 - THE ICE DRAGON VERDICT
The final episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones story is the strongest since the first, with everything coming to a head, all your terrible choices coming back to haunt you, and a few major excruciating ones left to finish things off. However the lack of any real resolution robs the season of feeling like a complete game. Moreover it still shares a lot of the weaknesses of the season as a whole, including the now decidedly unimpressive game engine and the absence of any witty character conversations (that are the hallmark of the show and books). Telltale still tell a good tale, but I think Game of Thrones will go down as the moment they bit off more than they can chew - or at least a licence they can’t quite replicate. Still, cracking final episode chums.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Probably the quote unquote ending.
Choices truly have consequences, and it's hugely satisfying (and heartbreaking) to see them play out.
A lot of shocking moments, acted wonderfully by the cast.
No real ending to speak of, meaning that the season doesn't feel like a complete tale.