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Game of Thrones – Episode 6: The Ice Dragons

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If there is one thing we know about HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show, nothing ever goes as expected. Just when we thought it was a story about Robb Stark getting revenge for the death of his father, the story turned on its side and our “hero” was killed as well. As the HBO series goes so does Telltale’s addition to the Game of Thrones “universe”. The Forrester family is a group of nobles from the north that are just as honorable as the Starks. Thus far in Telltale’s Game of Thrones, the Forresters are getting the same treatment as the “protagonists” of the television series. The unfortunate part of this is that having the heroes in a constant state of suffering is less than ideal for a video game.

Episode 6, titled “The Ice Dragons,” continues the combined story of Gared as he searches beyond the wall for the North Grove, Mira as she plays politics in King’s Landing, and one other family member depending on the choices players made in the previous episode. Without spoiling the episode’s story, it is important to the review to mention that this episode feels like the season finale in Game of Thrones, if you are a fan of the show or a follower of the books, the events in “The Ice Dragons” will feel familiar and could possibly be to your liking. This is mentioned to explain that the quality of the writing in this game meets and exceeds expectations. Characters, particularly those who are featured in the television series, perform very well in this episode. The last few moments of “The Ice Dragons” includes these characters discussing members of the Forrester family, and is a very nice touch.

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Graphically, the character models are very well done. The visuals have been impressive throughout this initial season and episode 6 is no exception. The aesthetics make this game feel immersive. The North Grove feels as cold and dangerous as it looks, while Kings Landing’s beauty serves to mask the corruption housed within. The only visual negatives are within the fights that take place. Skirmishes with weapons look particularly flawed, with blood spewing over points of impact in a delayed manner and looking like red paint.

The graphics are solid, the voice acting is well done, and the story is loyal to the source material. However, the concept of having a video game set in the world of Game of Thrones, but also being limited to Telltale’s choice-driven game play is stifling. Episode 6 presents the player with no opportunity to emerge victorious. This is made apparent after multiple play-throughs and making different decisions in each of them. For Telltale, this type of story arc is not an oddity. Despite the popularity of their games, players always end up at the same part of the story. However, in the developer’s other games, there is a reward for being along for the ride. In this game you are rewarded with pain and loss, and there is nothing – not the players skill, ability to solve problems, or even button mashing can do to change that.

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All things considered. The overall experience is less than satisfying, at their core, video games reward those that master the mechanics with victory. Telltale simply fails to do so with this episode of Game of Thrones, and to a greater point with the game as a whole. There is little benefit of making choices that affect dialog if the outcome predetermines that you’re going to lose in the end. It’s like playing a game of dodgeball and being called out even though you were never hit. The result is just not fun.Telltale’s Game of Thrones had so much potential in its first releases, but with the first season at its end, I consider this to be their worst game in years.

Game of Thrones - Episode 6: The Ice Dragons
  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Story - 7/10
  • 4/10
    Gameplay - 4/10
6.3/10

Summary

Pros:

+ Environmental graphics are very appealing

+ Voice acting is superb

+ Loyal to source material

Cons:

There is no way to win
Graphics during fights disappoint
No fun-factor

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User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Julius Council (59 Articles)
A native of Newport News, Virginia, Julius fell in love with video games the first time he laid eyes on Ms. Pac-Man. His all-time favorite game is River City Ransom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. He is a big fan of RPGs, Sports Games, Real Time Strategy Games, and all things Retro. Julius currently owns a working version of every game console ever released except Neo Geo AES and Turbo Grafx-16, both of which he plans to add to his collection soon.

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