Game Of Thrones: A Telltales Series Episode 6 The Ice Dragon Review

Disclaimer: *We would usually break up our reviews into gameplay, mechanics, and graphics but since this is an episodic game, we will base this review on a Pros and Cons list to more easily break down each episode. Also there will be some minor spoilers from this episode and previous episodes. You've been warned*


IT'S TIME TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR DECISIONS...

In true Game of Thrones fashion, this episode displays plenty of bloodshed, tragedy and the tears of the players who lost their most beloved characters. With the end of this episode comes the end of the first season of the series with tons of cliffhangers and loose ends all ready to be tied up in the next season. This episode left more questions than it answered but it's done enough for me to be excited for the next season. 

"The Ice Dragon" Summary: 

The episode begins with a summary of pretty much the entire series. We left off in episode 5 with Gared being driven off towards the North Grove as a group of White Walkers attack their little encampment. Episode 6 starts off with Gared pretty much at the North Grove (yes we skip most of the journey) and the meeting of a new group of people. These two very important individuals claim to be the guardians of the North Grove and question your every decision and action until this point. Tuttle learns the background of these people and how they came to be which reveals some decently important information. Soon after, we're taken to Mira's story where she's pretty much interrogated by Lady Margery because of the incidents taking place in the previous episode. This brings forth one of the most important decisions of the episode and probably the rest of the series. During the conversations, you decide your fate or Sera's but it all seems like a lose - lose situation. During this episode, Mira is being pursued for the murder of the Lannister guard which leads to one of the biggest and honestly most surprising reveals in the series. Regardless of your actions, Mira will be caught but what you do with that situation is completely up to you. Depending on whether you picked Rodrik or Asher to survive, the sequence of events differ pretty drastically. Regardless of your path, Ironrath is attacked and King Ludd dies. Who dies and how they die is completely up to your decision in previous episodes and in this episode. Never have I felt so conflicted picking the fate of my protagonists in a Telltale series before. (I would like to go into more detail but there are too many MAJOR spoilers if I go into detail) 

Pros: 

+Faithful to the source material: 
   The Ice Dragon gives the player an opportunity to experience one of the more defining features of the series. Death. Until Game of Thrones, people were not accustomed to losing protagonists in the manner the show displayed but The Ice Dragon captures the spirit of the Game of Thrones Universe and fascinates it's players with gut-wrenching decisions and major turn of events. Telltale truly nailed the universe. 


+Asher and Rodrik's major path difference: 
  Someone has to die. In episode 5, either you left Rodrik behind or Asher but one of them was going to meet their end at that point. The drastic difference in the story that plays out with each character is probably one of the most amazing aspects of the series. Telltale goes all the way for both characters and makes each story line as interesting, interactive, and entertaining as the other. Both story lines have major scenes that the other doesn't get to see and both include emotional moments and mourning and it is well worth the extra play-through to see how each brother handles the climactic moments of the series. 


+Most important decisions in the series: 
   Never have my decisions felt so impactful. Although I do not feel like my previous decisions in other episodes mattered as much as I thought they would, this episode perfectly culminates the entire series. There is a lot of options of dialogue that can be missed if you select one option over the other and I can appreciate it the different outcomes. I held the future of all my protagonist in this episode and I felt like everything I did was significant to someone's future. It was scary but exciting all at the same time. 



+Oil painting Art-style: 
   The art direction of the series displays a sort of "living" oil painting. The textures and backgrounds look detailed but thick and freshly painted. The lighting always seemed to be a darker tone which played perfectly into the Game of Thrones theme. Throughout my play through, I would notice a few imperfection here and there and I can appreciate the fact that these artist tried to stay to true to the series while emphasizing the technique required behind their art style. Overall, the art style of the game sets the mood and excellently compliments the game. I couldn't imagine seeing nor would I want to see this game any other manner. 


+Ending Cutscene: 
   It's the little things that matter you know! After the final chapter in the series ends, the players a brought to a "summary" cut scene. In this cut scene, players go through all of the decisions they have made until that point and compares them to everyone else who has played the game. The most interesting part of the cut scene is how the family member are described from other perspectives. For example, Lady Margery talks about Mira and how she maintained her integrity throughout her stay at King's Landing or the way the Mother of Dragons compliments Asher for following her orders faithfully. I really enjoyed this part of the game immensely. 


Cons: 

+Bugs: 
   The mechanics of the game are some of the most annoying parts of any Telltale game. I'm speaking through experience because this has happened to me with every single Telltale game I have owned till this point. I have bought most of the games digitally which could be one of the reasons I experience something like but every time something rather action heavy happens in the game, it stutters or loads which completely brings me out of the experience. I always felt a second behind and I never felt in control of the combat in Game of Thrones. This little stutter doesn't sound like much but if it happen every other time you clash swords, then you can see why this could start to get a bit annoying. It broke the immersion more times than I would like to count and in the end severely hurt my experience with the game. 


+Mira's story ending: 
   Being one of my favorite characters in the series, Mira Forrester's ending severely disappointed me. After all the trouble she went through in King's Landing to help her family, you never really see a direct result of her efforts in the story. Throughout most episodes of the series, The Forrester Family almost seem uninterested with Mira's efforts and she was barely mentioned as a major contributor to their battle. The decisions we made throughout her story which seemed immensely important to the family's survival and her own well-being, ended up being fruitless. Her story's highest point was the reveal of the villain who had been after her pretty much the entire series and even then, it was a bittersweet encounter after you realize none of the decisions you made really mattered. Her ending, whether good or bad leaves you in an unsatisfied state. Well developed character and story but underwhelming end. 


+North Grove unexplained: 
   The name of the episode is called "The Ice Dragon" which I assume references the North Grove since it's pretty much the first three words Gared says when the episode starts as he looks at a map of the North Grove. To begin, one of the more frustrating segments of this episode is the fact that we pretty much miss the entire journey leading to the North Grove. To top things off, we never really learn why it's so important. We spend hours worrying about how to get there blinding leading our protagonist into no where for what? I feel that we never really had a compelling motive to go to the North Grove and once we were there, the game doesn't give us a compelling reason to stay. Our arrival to the North Grove felt severely underwhelming but I'm sure it will play a vital part in the second season. I do wish we understood the significance of the area a bit more though. 


+Feeling of Incompleteness:
   Although the story feels dramatic and important as you play through it, there is never a feeling of resolution to major parts of the plot. 



For the most part, the game did the series justice and stays true to the content but it always felt like it could've been something more. Major plot points felt inconclusive throughout this episode but at least we know the tale of House Forrester lives on. This episode is exciting and adds to the season nicely but it never felt...big enough. 


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3 comments:

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