Game of Thrones by TellTale is interactive novel that starts off in one of the most memorable moments of GoT called the Red Wedding. If you haven’t watched season 3 of the show or read the third book called Storm of Swords I would highly suggest you don’t read this review or play this game. With that out of the way, we start off as a lowly squire for House Forrester named Gared Tuttle. He is out fetching wine for the soldiers in celebration of The North’s plan to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters. Things do not stay cheerful for long as Fray soldiers cut down the army of The North in a vicious sneak attack and your lord is slain before your eyes. In his final words he gives Gared a sword and asks him to return it to its rightful place in the Forrester keep called Ironwrath. He also mysteriously asks of him to tell his uncle “The North Grove must not be lost” which will kick start the main goal of that character. That is a lot of names to take in, which is why those with new to GoT will likely be very lost throughout since they are entering the world near the half way mark of the overall narrative.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the graphics now have this painting like look to them instead of the comic book style of Telltales last two games. It looks alright, not really anything remotely cool looking here but it does the job. The reason I mention the graphics so early on is that you will do a lot of sitting back and just watching in this title. Even compared to Telltales last two games, you can count on a single hand just how many times you will have control of your character and there are no puzzles either which is why I called this an interactive novel in the first sentence. That may be a bad thing to some but in my eyes those were the worst parts of Telltale’s games and I’m glad I no longer have to move an extremely slow character around tiny closed off environments all that often. It makes the story move along with far better flow and is much easier to get invested in. Considering you will be controlling four characters in very different situations the better pacing benefits this title a lot. Like other Telltale games they will occasionally throw in a QTE to make sure you are paying attention.
The characters you play as will be the previously mentioned squire Gared, Ethan Forrester who is the new young lord after his father’s demise, Asher the black sheep of the Forrester family and Mira Forrester who resides in King’s Landing as a handmaiden for the soon to be queen Margery Tyrell. All characters want what is best for House Forrester which makes switching around to another characters perspective feel natural since they are all fighting for the same thing, though in different ways. Their House’s situation is extremely dire from the get go and Telltale really captured the dark feel of the GoT universe. You never feel safe and being a small barely known House that fought on the defeated side of the war you will constantly get harassed. Most of the time the wiser choice is to just accept it and stay silent but the humiliation you go through is just so much that more likely than not you will not be able to just put up with it even if you know it can cost you everything. Not that you have much left as whenever you think things are bad they somehow get much worse. From start to finish it feels like you are drowning and there is very little hope to be found anywhere.
It is a very dark game but unlike the show or books this has zero humor in it. That ties in with the biggest flaw in this game which are the choices you make. Telltale has always offered the illusion of choice but in this title there is no illusion. Your choices are meaningless and are foiled by the dumbest reasons just to keep the story the way they are trying to tell it. For instance in one scene you are going to get murdered by a Lannister guard but a small boy defends you and is being drowned for it. You have the choice to kill the guard or run away. If you run away you later meet the boy again who is now angry with you for leaving him to his fate and said he found a nearby rock while being drowned to kill the guard with. There is just no believable way such a small skinny lad could have pulled that off against a rather high ranking guard while being drowned in the position he was. It just feels like cheap and lazy story writing to pin that murder on you either way that you choose to handle things. That insultingly improbable way of negating your choices carries on toward the whole game and some are far more unbelievable than what I choose as an example.
With the lack of humor and the already dire situation with convenient plot armor keeping you from doing anything about it, it feels like the game is screwing the player instead of a dark, dangerous world where your plans don’t always work out. It’s a shame too as there are quite a few important characters of the GoT universe like Ramsay Bolton, Cerci Lannister and Jon Snow all with their original actors from the show. It would have been awesome to see if you could outwit the more dangerous of characters by using what we know from the show but instead we get the choice of picking the bad choice and getting shafted by the character for it or picking the sensible choice and getting shafted by the game itself for it. If Telltale were spread thin due to all of the games they are working on I feel it would have been far better to have a few actual choices rather than a ton of poorly veiled meaningless ones. From all this criticism you may be guessing that the story is garbage but the sad part is that it is not. It is a rather interesting tale with that spans from Westeros to quite a bit of Essos. You can’t help but root for the Forresters and hope they get back on their feet.
They did an excellent job with getting you to despise the villains even if they are the typical absurdly evil type. All the new characters are pretty interesting, well voiced and quite likable. None feel like they are out of place in the GoT universe and are just as likely to die as anyone else. Well other than the show’s cameo characters featured here who are too important to the plot of the show to kill off in a video game. Strangely enough for the GoT universe there is no nudity anywhere in this game, though I guess in the situations are characters are in they don’t feel like baby making. All in all this is a game that will only appeal to fans of the Game of Thrones looking to see their favorite characters and see some famous locations like Castle Black, King’s Landing and Mareen. There is a good story here but the pretentiousness of the frequent, useless choices did negatively impact the narrative. And the ending is a very unsatisfying set up for another season that had no closure at all. This is a title you can safely skip even if you are a fan of the source material. It’s not a bad game but it does feel like a rushed plothole filled mess that only the biggest of fans that can’t get enough of Game of Thrones will likely enjoy.