| Game of Thrones - PS3 |
Set in the same universe as the hit HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's famous fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire this brutal and compelling game has recently concluded its first season, but is it worth waiting for the second? The game is in many ways vastly different from the tv show, but fits within the world well, especially for a video game adaptation. One of the biggest and most divisive changes from the television show is the slightly cartoony art style that invokes the look of comic books and graphic novels more than it does realism. For people who have played other Telltale games this is likely to be a non-issue, though purists from the television show may dislike it.
Graphics aside, both the story and atmosphere of this six episode series is extremely well done and tightly woven into the timeline surrounding the infamous "Red Wedding" event. Naturally, you can expect spoilers if you're way behind on episodes, but I'm pleased to announce that Telltale's Game of Thrones is just as good as a stand alone. I'm somewhat regretful to admit that I haven't yet gotten around to watching the show myself and I still had a blast playing this game.
Like other Telltale series Game of Thrones has a heavy focus on player choice and the consequences of what actions they take over the course of the story. (Major events such as certain character deaths or battles cannot be avoided, though the context surrounding them may change and impact the player in a positive or negative way.) The first character you will control is a humble yet skilled squire named Garret, though you will take on the role of several others as the game progresses. Each of these characters have different strengths and weaknesses and thus feel unique from one another. One minute you will be controlling a powerful lord or warrior and the next you be a simple handmaiden who must use her wits and cunning to survive.
One thing you should definitely be prepared for is lots of death and tragedy, both of which are common themes in this story. Happy endings are rare and hard won, sad or bittersweet endings much less so. The body count stays high from beginning to end and includes both major and minor characters. That said, it is possible to minimize your losses and win over many potential allies so be careful how you treat the situations presented before you.
When it comes to sexism I feel that Game of Thrones is a fairly progressive world compared to most. Many men suffer brutal deaths and agony, but so do the women. What impresses me is the realistic way the series portrays the genders without turning to stereotypes. Not every woman is a distressed damsel or bad-ass warrior woman. Not every man is a violent barbarian or a snivelling weakling. These people have depth to them, some fight their battles with words, some fight with with swords and some prefer not to fight at all. Misery and accountability is handed out pretty evenly to everyone.
My final verdict is that while I personally think GoT is a fantastic addition to the Telltale library there will be many fans who dislike it for the drastic chance in art style or the shift of focus to a mostly original cast of characters. My advice would be to give it a shot and drop five bucks on an episode to try it out. If you enjoy it you can always buy the remaining five episodes and even if you don't I doubt you will regret spending the money to see how it compares to the show.
- Reviewed by MidnightUndead
Rating: M (Blood and Gore, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language)