The season finale of Game of Thrones will bring things to a climax for House Forrester, though Telltale Games’ first season hasn’t always been a smooth ride.
It’s been a long wait, but Telltale Games has finally released the season finale for Game of Thrones. The first season has brought gamers all across Westeros and Essos, with players getting to witness several authentic Game of Thrones experiences: the trademark Bolton brutality, the highborn cunning of King’s Landing, and the dangers of a bloodfeud between two Northern Houses have helped paint a vivid picture of what life is like in a war-torn realm. Things finally come to a climax for House Forrester in the sixth and final episode of the season, which has proven to be Telltale’s bloodiest episode yet.
Entitled The Ice Dragon, the sixth episode aims to bring most plotlines to a close, whilst still setting things in place for a potential second season. Each of the HBO voice cast make an appearance in the end-of-episode season recap, which lets players examine their choices against what other players have done. In a game where such large emphasis is placed on choice, however, we couldn’t help but feel that Game of Thrones could have done more to create a satisfying conclusion.
The season finale opens to the most loyal squire in all of Westeros, Gared Tuttle. His storyline has brought him far beyond the wall, and the chapters of The Ice Dragon involving him will be a mix of familiar quicktime action, tough choices, and a somewhat murky plotline that begins to lay down the first steps of an inevitable sequel season. Telltale Games has done a great job growing Gared as a character, and the contrast between his actions during the Red Wedding and how he acts in the season finale is a fine example of well-written character growth. Though his chapters in the finale are interesting from start to finish, the mystery of why the North Grove is so important gets all but ignored, and we feel Telltale Games really dropped the ball for that portion of the storyline.
Conversely, Telltale handled the story of Ironwrath (with varying Lords depending on how the fifth episode went) very well, and it was great to see well-written situations unique to either Asher or Rodrik, who both bring completely different emotions to the table. The scenes that play out at Ironwrath and the surrounding area will give gamers their biggest portions of Telltale’s trademark quicktime combat scenes, which invariably end up either being Q and E button mashes, directional cues, or mouse-click runs. From a gameplay aspect, things can grow stale pretty quickly, but each fight has so much on the line that the combat still feels exciting and satisfying. By the end of the game, however, Game of Thrones seems to suffer from Mass Effect 3 syndrome, and many fans will feel that regardless of what choices they made, all paths for House Forrester will have led to the same ending.
The most disappointing chapters of the season finale certainly belong to Mira, House Forrester’s answer to Sansa Stark. It was disappointing to find out that virtually all of the tough choices her character made earlier in the season essentially didn’t carry any weight within the game, meaning her wins and losses were mostly just a red herring for the player. Mira’s moral choices brought some of the most thrilling moments throughout the earlier parts of the season, and we feel her closing story arc doesn’t give her plotline the justice it deserves. That said, The Ice Dragon still forces players to think on their feet when her chapters do come up, and players likely be forced to betray several promises she had made to her friends before.
The game’s engine continued to raise some eyebrows as Game of Thrones chugged from scene to scene, and seemed to be at its worst as the season finale neared its climax. The oil painting style befits the series as a whole, but as soon as it goes beyond just being a backdrop, it begins to have massive problems rendering characters in a pleasing fashion. We ran into some strange lipsyncing issues with the audio as well, which can really detract from dramatic scenes when characters are delivering important lines.
As Ramsay Bolton famously says, “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention”. Those words have rung true for each episode of Telltale’s first Game of Thrones season, which runs parallel to HBO’s own universe. Despite what players attempt to do to save House Forrester, the finale is almost entirely inconclusive in regards to several key characters, and some gamers may be disappointed that their choices throughout the first season didn’t ultimately culminate into unique individual plot paths.
For the most part, the storyline does the series justice and stays true to the lore, but we can’t shake the feeling that the finale could have been something bigger. With the closing scenes of The Ice Dragon setting things up for a second season, we’re sure the tale of House Forrester isn’t over yet, and we’re left looking forward to more – though Telltale Games evidently still has some kinks to work out.
As far as season finales go, The Ice Dragon brings no shortage of excitement to the table, but fans looking for confirmation that their choices really mattered will be left disappointed. For the rest of the crowd, there’s ample amount of action and plot developments to keep things moving at a staggering pace, and Game of Thrones fans should be left satisfied – though perhaps not ecstatic – with the end result.
Game of Thrones Episode 6 is out now for all major platforms.