Game of Thrones – A Telltale Game Series: The Ice Dragon
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Price: $4.99 – Available Here
After waiting for nearly four months fans of Game of Thrones have finally been able to see how the story of House Forrester will come to a head in the final episode of the season. With five episodes already under our belts and with Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Ice Dragon now available has Telltale Games managed to find a proper conclusion for this episodic series?
Now before reading further I will note that there will be spoilers discussed in this review for events that took place during the previous episode, A Nest of Vipers, since a certain decision does play a major role in the way events unfold in The Ice Dragon. That and since this is the final episode of the series means that only those who are caught up with the series at this point should continue to read on.
For the entire season players have been following the members of House Forrester as they’ve struggled to stay alive after the turbulent events that saw the previous lord of Ironrath fall during the Red Wedding. We’ve seen many deaths and now only three playable characters have been left standing in The Ice Dragon. Gared who has seen his journey take him to The Wall and beyond it in order to find the mythical North Grove, Mira who is stuck in the capital of political backstabbing Kings Landing, and either Rodrick or Asher depending on your decision in A Nest of Vipers who now must face off against Ludd and the rest of the Whitehills in order to defend Ironrath and protect House Forrester from falling to ruin.
Though these story segments are broken up over the course of the episode in true Game of Thrones fashion, I’ll be going through them by most satisfactory to least and starting off we have the events that take place at Ironrath. Telltale Games dropped a major choice on player’s last episode that saw either Asher or Rodrick fall to an ambush and the surviving character escaping from Whitehill clutches to continue home. While this choice could have been something that only resulted in cosmetic changes, there are a number of sequences and events that are exclusive to each of these two characters.
Certain combat sequences and plans of attack are locked to either Asher or Rodrick which helps encourage players to experience the story more than once for, if nothing else, to see these differences. Of course, since the battles with the Whitehills serve as the biggest highlight of the season it also means that the climactic battle sequence plays out the same way regardless of who was actually chosen as it serves as a way to get player’s back on track for the Forrester storyline.
North of the Wall we find Gared’s journey for the North Grove come to an end as he finally manages to arrive. Unfortunately players are given barely any explanation as to why the North Grove is important nor are any of the actual decisions made during his sequence carry any weight for this season. There is only a small reveal about the North Grove and the hint that it is indeed powerful, but other than an “emotional” choice to be made about a comrade and the fate of the North Grove, none of it has any weight since players are given no closure or are even shown the outcome of their choices here.
Unfortunately Mira’s storyline isn’t handled any better in The Ice Dragon. While her storyline has seen players having to politically maneuver and outtalk certain main characters in the series while playing politics to stay alive, it all eventually turns out pointless, though not before players are given the option to betray or assist a close friend. Mira’s story does culminate in the reveal of yet another enemy of House Forrester but depending on player’s choices here it also serves as a method that will either bring her story to an end or leave it to continue on in a potential second season. In fact, Mira’s influence on the aforementioned battle at Ironrath is only mentioned briefly in passing, making her part of the Telltale’s Game of Thrones feel miniscule at best.
Of course in the end players are treated to one hell of a climactic scene that features the most violence and gore that Telltale Games has ever used in a series. Players will witness many characters falling in battle one after another in true Game of Thrones fashion but in the end practically every storyline is left open for a continuation, again depending on player choice, in another season which only ends up hurting The Ice Dragon’s impact due to Gared’s story lacking any solid pay off and Mira’s sputtering out at the end.
The gameplay throughout The Ice Dragon remains the same as what fans can expect from Telltale Games as they make various dialogue choices while talking with characters and then partaking in intense combat sequences that make use of quick time events to either dodge or attack an enemy. As mentioned before some fight sequences are locked to certain characters which is a nice touch to encourage replay value.
Visuals & Audio
It is interesting to note that The Ice Dragon is perhaps the most brutal episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones so far. Not only are certain player actions rather gross looking but the battle sequences result in some very gory deaths for those involved. The entire oil painting aesthetic remains a key point in this episode though this time around it is more hit and miss as some environments turn out rather gorgeously here while others are either blurred or look terrible thanks to the art style choice.
The voice work and soundtrack continues to be fairly impressive as the voice actors handle their roles perfectly at this point and the numerous dramatic moments are portrayed well.
It has been a fairly long wait and now that the wait is over, Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Ice Dragon closes out the series with an impressive action sequence that unfortunately puts too much stake into hoping that the series will continue into a second season resulting in many story elements lacking impact. The developers have really nailed the universe of Game of Thrones quite well with this series and we can just hope that if a second season does come about, that these hanging threads can be wrapped up then.
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