Also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS, OSX, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 09/17/2018 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Let me preface this by saying that I’ve neither read nor seen any of Game of Thrones. Aside from the internet’s saturation of “Winter is coming” memes, I had no exposure to the series whatsoever before this game. With that said, it’s important to note that my impression of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series comes from a total newcomer to Game of Thrones rather than established fans who are familiar with the source material.
If you’ve played any of TellTale’s series, then you know how Game of Thrones goes from a gameplay perspective. You make some choices, talk to a bunch of people, realize that your choices were stupid and kick yourself mentally for the next four hours, do some quick-time events, and repeat. Game of Thrones is entirely keeping with the established norm for TellTale’s narrative series, and that’s what makes it so damn good. Like their other series (at least the ones I’ve played), the character development is so incredibly well done that you really do grow attached to them, and because it’s Game of Thrones, their inevitable gruesome deaths hurt all the more because of it.
You play as some random soldier dude – I don’t remember his name, so we’ll call him Greg – on the eve of some big event (I think maybe the apparently infamous Red Wedding?) when you’re attacked out of nowhere by ninjas or something. Well, it was just another regular army attacking your army, but it was a cripplingly effective surprise attack, so I’m going with ninjas. Anyway, after you escape from the ninjas, you make your way back home just to be told “Hey, you’re our scapegoat. Off to the certain-death exile place with you!” to serve on a suicide mission. From there, the story revolves around the noble family that Greg was serving and the lord’s children through their various exploits. At one point or another, you play as all of the kids except for the adorable younger daughter. You learn about the world, the politics, the places, and the characters that inhabit that world. Then you scream, cry, and sometimes throw your controller in rage when they meet their inescapable and tortuously well voice acted demise.
As is the case with the Game of Thrones novel and TV series from what I’ve been led to believe, this game plays with your emotions and revels in putting your heart through an orange juicer. Good luck putting the controller down, though, because the characters and story are just too damn engrossing to stop playing no matter how much psychological turmoil the game causes you. I have absolutely no attachment to Game of Thrones, and I was still ensnared from the first half-hour. It was begrudgingly that I turned off my Playstation after episode four to go to bed. I can’t speak for how much long-time Game of Thrones fans would feel about the game, but for a total newcomer who loves a good story and well-written characters, this game is a near-masterpiece.
TellTale’s Game of Thrones is perhaps their best work yet. At the very least, it’s second only to their Walking Dead series. It’s masterfully written and pulls the player in with or without any previous exposure to the IP. My only complaints with the game (only one of which is a legitimate gripe about this particular game) is that there were some performance issues – I had several instances of crashing – and the fact that season 2 has been delayed multiple times although TellTale insists that it’s still happening. Eventually. I cannot recommend this game highly enough. It’s worth noting, though, that my friend, Jerome, took exceptional umbrage to the game’s toying with his emotions.