So after the brilliant success of Telltale’s ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Wolf Among Us’ series, they have returned with what is probably one of the biggest TV shows of the year but this time it is of course in game form, yes Telltale are tackling the behemoth that is ‘Game of Thrones’. It’s safe to say that after completing the first episode in the six part story Telltale have once again brought the quality and decisive gameplay that I, and many others know and love.
Episode 1 sees you in the shoes of three different characters (Gared Tuttle, Ethan Forrester and Mira Forrester) all whose journeys revolve around making sure that house Forrester does not fall to those who would like to see nothing more than it disappear into the history books. What stood out to me straight away in the episode is it opens with the backdrop of ‘Walder Freys’ castle in the background and you a lowly squire serving men loyal to the Starks. This setting will be familiar to anyone who has seen the TV show or read the books and for the game to so quickly drop you into such familiar surroundings and to have you playing the game within these infamous locations certainly gives the game an exciting beginning for anyone who loves this world.
This series is the first that I have played that has you jumping between multiple different characters. Before you have only been in control of the one character but now with three it does give the opportunity for you to explore and interact with many of the different locations and characters made famous by the show and it is also helped by the fact that the actors from the show are voicing their own characters in the game, to have had it any other way would have only been a distraction.
The characters that you play as are all very interesting and enjoyably to play and these are helped by the supporting cast of characters who either help or hinder you along the way. I only hope that the same level of interest for each character can continue throughout the other episodes and we don’t have a situation where some become an irritant to play while others are clearly more enjoyable.
Unlike when playing the Walking Dead games, in Game of Thrones you truly do feel like you are a part of the TV show, whether it is being there for some of the most famous moments within the show or having the opportunity to interact with some of the most beloved/feared characters, Telltale does a brilliant job of immersing you in this expansive world and making you feel like the story that you’re are a part of is actually one with consequence and impact with in the narrative of Game of Thrones.
The classic gameplay that anyone who has played a Telltale game before will be familiar is back. Once again the game has its dialogue trees that demand timely responses, tough decisions that you almost don’t want to decide upon because the consequences just seem to dire, everything that I have loved about previous Telltale games is here and is once again elevated by utilising the world of Game of Thrones and there is nothing more exciting than getting to have a battle of words and wits with characters like Cersei Lannister or Ramsay Snow. The quick time action portions are back and seem to have had a little more fine tuning since they were redone for ‘The Wolf Amoung Us’ and these improvements are welcomed. Before it felt that the games reaction to my movements were not being registered and that would result in either restarting from the previous checkpoint or being stuck with an outcome that should have been avoided in the first place.
Game of Thrones Episode 1 is also helped by being on the new consoles. Having previously played ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Wolf Amoung Us’ on the Xbox 360 I saw a marked improvement in loading times and performance on the PS4. Gone were stuttering animations or loading screens that would overlap cut-scenes. It was nice to be able to enjoy a Telltale game and not at any point be taken out of the experience by technical hiccups.
One thing that did continually distract me during my time playing the game was the painted art style that was utilised in this game. A lot of the time it didn’t blend in with other attributes on screen, nor did it look right when a character was standing in front of scenery that almost looked to be moving, this was only a slight distraction but it did become a little annoying the more it kept happening.
Episode 1 of Game of Thrones is a must play for anyone who is a fan of the TV Show or the books. It perfectly captures the tone and atmosphere of the world and does a great job of making you feel a part of it with the help of an interesting array of characters. Telltale is certainly continuing their level of quality that has come to be known with previous games and I am very excited to play more episodes when they are released.