Game of Thrones is an episodic, point and click, graphical adventure game based on the George R. R. Martin novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which have also adopted into a TV series. The game contains a new story that is intertwined with the main story of the Game of Thrones series. The story telling follows the same format as the TV series, where there are multiple events taking place in different regions. Rather than play as the same character for the entire duration of the game, you will play as multiple different characters as you play through the events in different regions. In Kings Landing you play as Mira Forrester who serves as handmaiden to Margaery Tyrell, which is the story that ties most strongly with the series. In the north, you play as Ethan Forrester who is a currently in control of house Forrester. The format of story telling will be very familiar to fans of the TV series and complements the game very well.
Based on past experiences, games like this tend to lack the a lot of the things that made the Movie, Tv series etc a success. Being able to successfully capture the theme and mood of the subject matter, especially something like Game of Thrones, is quite challenging. To my surprise Telltale were able to pull through and provide a story that was not only enjoyable, but it felt like it was something from the TV series. The episode got off to a bit of a slow start for me. The game was ticking the negative boxes and it felt as though this was another, badly made Lord of The Rings style spin off. Thankfully things picked up after the first chapter and I really started to enjoy it.
The point and click controls for the game will be immediately familiar to those who have played any Telltale games in the past. You move a cursor around the screen using a thumb stick, the accuracy is aided slightly which makes it very easy to use. The in game prompts provide more than enough help for you to quickly get the hang of how to play the game.
The visual style for Game of Thrones, is a heavily graphical type, with emphasis on making the game look like a hand drawn picture. Unfortunately it looks as though the developers have experimented with some new background blurring effects, that I found incredibly unpleasant. For a static image the effect looks quite pleasing and makes the image look like a painting. While playing this live the “ice” style blurring in the background is very jittery and looks terrible. When the camera pans the effect seems to vibrate which is worse than a game with bad jaggies. The effect worsens in the more detailed scenes as the system has difficulty determining what is foreground and what is background. This results in some objects jumping back and forth between being blurred and being sharp. This took a lot away from the visuals for me, especially after seeing how nice The Walking Dead Games looked.
The script and conversation decisions are by far the best I have seen in Telltale games. Usually There are several scenes where you are put into a situation where you need to make an important decision. There are no options to wiggle away from the decisions. This results in a lot of pressure and really absorbs you into the game. Often in the past you would make a decision and it would result in a notification that a character would “remember this”, but it rarely had an effect in the long run. Based on the decisions you are faced with in this game it is very clear to see that this is no longer the case. Decisions you make really impact events later on and I found myself regretting my decisions a few times. This was brilliant and it really gives you the incentive to play the episode again to make different decisions to see if you can make events play out better.
This is only the first episode out of 6 to be released and already I’m dying for more. The conversations, the story, the setting, all of these things combined to make a really strong first episode and has set the bar really high for the rest of the series. After the amazing job Telltale did with the Walking Dead series, I have no doubt that the rest of these episodes will be fantastic. It’s just a matter of surviving the time it takes for each episode to be released.