It’s not every day that you see a game review on HBO Watch, but it’s not every day that a game comes out based on a HBO show. Telltale Games just released the first episode of their six episode series based off Game of Thrones. Don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen, this review is spoiler-free.
Telltale Games develops adventure games in a market dominated by First Person Shooters and Massive Multiplayer Online games so if anyone can figure out a way to adapt the HBO franchise to a video game, they stand the best shot. They are best known for titles like Monkey Island and Sam and Max. Fans of AMC’s Walking Dead have claimed that they treated the show well with their adaptation.
The newest Game of Thrones game starts with episode one, titled “Iron from Ice” and takes place in the middle of the War of the Five Kings. For those that are not up-to-date with the show or the books and want to play with it revealing too much, I recommend not trying it until you’ve either finished season 3 of the show or most of the way through Storm of Swords. The game assumes that you’re aware of the events that took place during War of the Five Kings and makes no attempt to explain them to you.
Adaptations to video games can go horrible wrong. Thankfully, Telltale did right with this one. Don’t expect to play as your favourite characters in this one. You can get their stories from the show without nearly as much time invested into it. Instead, you’ll play as different member of the northern House of Forrester. Perspective changes much as it does in the show and the books so that you’ll get more of the full story.
They did this really well as it is its own story that happens to interweave with the main cast. Characters like Cersei, Tyrion, and Margaery are featured. The great thing about this is that you’re not just playing out Jon Snow’s story or Arya Stark’s story with someone else’s face. The characters are placed with similar decisions but it makes sense the way they play into the story.
Decisions make up a majority of the gameplay. After all, you don’t play the Game of Thrones by senselessly hacking away at your enemies. In fact, navigating through dialogue seemed more intense than the action scenes at some points. Most of the time when you choose a line to say in a conversation, the time quickly slips away and the choices aren’t always easy. Don’t choose anything and you’re response is silence.
The decisions you make, according to the message at the start, will affect the rest of the game. While, I’m skeptical that it will affect the main story, I do see how it can affect smaller events that may happen. With an unforgiving clock, you could be left wondering “If I didn’t spare that innocent life, would it have made things easier for me later on?”
If you or someone you know is a Game of Thrones fan, this is a good companion to the cruel universe that we somehow love. You don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy it and it is fairly easy to adjust to once you get over the feeling of being thrown right into the heat of things. This is not, however, for gamers that are looking for an introduction into Game of Thrones. The game relies on the assumption that the player is already familiar with the show.
If you’re looking for a gift for that Game of Thrones fan that has everything and this somehow slipped their radar, this is a must-have for any fan that thought that they could handle themselves in Westeros.