Telltale's take on the Game of Thrones universe has begun, and Adam has ventured into Westeros to let you know how it plays.
I love Game of Thrones, and I love Telltale Games, so throwing the two of them together is like a match made in heaven for me. I've played through the first episode of Telltale Game's brand new Game of Thrones (GoT) series, and it's just as brutal as the HBO TV show.
The first episode is called 'Iron From Ice', and the first series looks at House Forrester, a house briefly mentioned in George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books the TV show, and this game, is based upon.
Here's where we get into the lore a little, so if you've not read the books, or watched the TV show, go and do that now. Seriously, spoiler alerts and everything right here.
House Forrester is a minor house that was once loyal to House Stark, until, well, you know what happened to that lot don't you. In the game you take on the role of five members of the Forrester family who all have their own challenges to face in the midst of the war going on.
The game opens at the Red Wedding, and it's safe to say the cheerfulness doesn't really pick up from that moment. Choosing this point to kick off the season really does show that the game is intended for those who've read the books or watched the TV show. Beginning at the end of season 3 of the HBO show, the rest of the episodes will work through season four and lead onto just before season five.
With Telltale's games each conversation you have and choice you make is likely to have consequences, and with the added element of a rather short time limit in which to make your choices, the pressure is amped up. Do you save this person, or that person? Do you plead fealty, or show strength? These choices and more must be made, inbetween some minor 'exploration' sequences in certain scenes, and quick time events.
This is, first and foremost, an adventure-style game, akin to Broken Sword, Monkey Island, or Gabriel Knight, so don't expect to be dishing out 74-hit combos and shooting fireballs from your wizard staff. The quick time events are fun enough and quicken the pace between the slower, but nontheless impactful, conversations. And they seem to be quite forgiving too, as I missed a couple of my cues here and there.
Music-wise you'll be hit with the TV show's main theme near the beginning, and it keeps the same tone throughout, which is nothing short of fan-service, and it's brilliant.
The game isn't the most grandiose in terms of graphics, I mean it doesn't push your system, at least it didn't with my PS4, to its limit, but that's not the main intention. It certainly has its own style, which is somewhat in keeping with Telltale's other major story-driven games, and all the characters - familiar and otherwise - all fit well into the GoT universe. And the backgrounds can look almost like beautiful oil painting in places. The story, interactions with characters, and seeing the consequences of your choices are the stars of the show here.
Considering Telltale Games are pretty much at the forefront of storytelling in games, with their Walking Dead series, and now The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands, I was fairly confident they would deliver when it came to tackling the Game of Thrones universe. And so far, with episode one, they have - there's plenty of fan service, plus a whole bunch of new, diverse, and complex characters that intertwine with the main story you know and love.
This game is for fans of the show, if you're thinking you can jump straight in and play Game of Thrones without seeing any of the series, well... you can. It does try to cater to those with little to no knowledge of the books or TV show, by being direct about how King's Landing isn't exactly a relaxing weekend for two in some romantic getaway retreat, for example. But, I'd highly, highly recommend watching the show first, as you'll get much more out of your experience.
Appearances from popular, and equally unpopular, Game of Thrones characters either gave me a smile on my face, or caused me to shout profanity at the screen. I was seriously invested in this story as it dropped names, hinted at other events seen in the TV show, or made me converse with characters like Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, voiced by actors Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey from the HBO series.
It's not all fan-service however, but I don't really want to say too much about House Forrester's involvement as it's much more fun to go head first into it without prior knowledge. All I will say is that you won't be disappointed, there's plenty of the gritty and foreboding tone you'd expect throughout.
If, like me, you prefer to binge on your TV series three or four episodes at a time, you may find it best to wait for all six of Game of Thrones' episodes to be released, because right now I'm itching to play the next episode to find out how everything pans out. The second episode's release date is yet to be announced, but I'm hoping it's sooner, rather than later. Yeah, what I'm trying to say is, this is definitely something you want to play, albeit when you have some more Game of Thrones knowledge.
Score - 8/10