Queen Cersei could see through all my tricks as if I were made of paper.
As I stared down the ice-eyed ruler of Westeros, I knew I wasn't answering any of her questions correctly. Swearing fealty to her son King Joffrey made her accuse me of saying whatever she wanted to hear. Dodging a question — a move I thought was clever — made her immediately call out my feint. Her suspicions of Mira Forrester, my current character with a Northern background, couldn't be simply eluded.
Interactions like these, where every dialogue choice could have quickly turned the game on me, cemented how well Telltale managed to capture the spirit of Game of Thrones in its game adaptation. The tone of the season's first episode perfectly mirror's Cersei's epic words from both book and show, "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
Dark wings, dark words
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series is an episodic adventure into the land of Westeros, and is backed by HBO. While you will encounter show-based likenesses of the world's most famous characters, in the game you inhabit a brand new family, the House Forrester. The battle for the Iron Throne and the instability it brings to the Seven Kingdoms is putting the esteemed house in turmoil. You must guide House Forrester members to help save their livelihood — the precious ironwood trees that surround their home — but also their lives.
While it may seem like characters fleshed out from a minor house just for intentions of a licensed game wouldn't have the same depth as our beloved Game of Thrones heroes and villains, the truth is they are just as nuanced. We meet the Forresters during the Red Wedding massacre at The Twins, and their perilous position as House Stark bannermen can only mean danger.
Game of Thrones starts with a several-part action sequence, and it mirrors the style of many other Telltale games. Instead of moving the character themselves, players will have to respond to prompts to hit buttons or swipe their analog stick, or home in on an object to use it in a fight. It's Telltale's tried-and-true action formula, and it still manages to keep the tension high.
But the real tension in the game comes from interacting with characters. Most conversations will give you the option of three different dialog paths (and a fourth option of remaining silent) to pick from. Characters will react based on your choices, and sometimes the game will tell you that you've made a significant decision that they'll remember. There are also some action-based decisions, like sparing someone's life or helping another person in trouble. And, much like in real life, you don't really have a clue of the consequences of your choices until much later, until that niggling worm of doubt makes you wonder if you could have selected the "right" choice.
But Game of Thrones offers a dangerous atmosphere where there are rarely are right choices. Usually it's just the best decision you can make in that period of time. Only as the chapter ends do you see the effects of your handiwork. I wanted to immediately play the two-plus hour experience again as soon as I'd completed it, just to see how much I could alter the results. I've pussyfooted around much of the details of the first episode — there will be six in total — just because its worth experiencing, untainted, for yourself.
While it's hard to judge a whole series based upon its premiere, just like the show and books, I already want more. Not only will gamers and fans of Telltale enjoy this dip into Westeros, but the approachable style is likely to bring in fans of the show who play very few games. Considering the Forresters are now official canon, it's easy to see how fans will eat this up.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series' first episode will premiere on Tuesday on PC, Mac and PlayStation 4. The episode will be available on Wednesday on Xbox One and Xbox 360. It will also come iOS on Thursday, and to Android later this month. Finally, it will premiere on PlayStation 3 on Dec. 9.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, GAMING, TELLTALE GAMES