"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."
The quote above summarizes this game in a nutshell.
I love Telltale Games, I truly do but I'm rather irritated by the fact this ends on a cliffhanger. The Walking Dead video game got two sequels but both of them were self-contained stories in their own right. I see no reason why Game of Thrones couldn't have been the same way. So, if you want the biggest strike against The Ice Dragon then you should definitely know the story is really just the first part in what will undoubtedly be a much longer epic.
|Beshka and Rodrik are an odd friendship I'd like to have seen more of.|
`The premise of this episode is the Whitehills have finally decided to march on Ironrath, having gotten well and truly sick of Forrester defiance. The Forresters have the sellsword army recruited by Asher but it is unhappy and untested against real soldiers.
Furthermore, the Forresters have suffered a previous loss in a previous episode and this casts a pall over the resulting events. Mira Forrester, meanwhile, struggles with the fact she is now the primary suspect in the murder of a Lannister guard. Finally, Gared Tuttle manages to get to reach the North Grove and discover exactly what Lord Forrester wanted him to protect.
I give credit to Telltale games for actually making the ending of Season One very determental. Whichever way you choose for Episode 5's climax results in an entirely different version of Episode 6. I actually hope they manage to avoid the usual "cutting off the branches" in Season Two as I think it would terrible for the final choice to be rendered meaningless by the survivor being killed.
|The bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.|
Unfortunately, it's a value of diminishing returns as killing so many interesting characters only means the relationships developed in previous episodes don't get to be followed up on. There's a TV trope for this called, "They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character" and you'd need two hands to count the number they waste. So did I hate it? Not really. Did I like it? Mostly! Did I love it? Eh, no.
Aside from the fact it's a cliffhanger with no real ending to the story, the biggest problem of the game is there's really just too damn much going on. It's not so much an emotional roller-coaster as one long dip because it never bothers to go up again. By the time the game is done, I was just numb from the experience and not in the same way I was from the best parts of The Walking Dead's first season. More like the worst parts of Season Two of The Walking Dead where things start at grimdark and move to a kind of darkness event horizon.
|I will say the Whitehills finally graduate from stupid flunkies to villains I want to kill as much as Ramsay Bolton.|
And it was oh so satisfying.
Of all the plotlines, I think the one between Rodrik/Asher and the Whitehills was the most entertaining. I think it was a suitably epic battle between them and if not for the number of named characters prematurely ended, I would have said it was a fitting finale. Sadly, it feels more like it should have been Episode 5 rather than Episode 6 and if they're going to end the season there, they should have extended the season however many episodes they needed to get it done.
|I wonder if Telltale realized the implications here.|
When they do Season Two, I really hope they work on the pacing for this story. I'm a fan of grimdark and love it when stories are gritty as well as troubled. Despite this, I also expect events to flow to a certain order and things seem to constantly reverse themselves the favor of the villains. A proper grimdark story doesn't care about the heroes but it doesn't care about the villains either. It is an amoral uncaring place where there's no safety net for anyone. Here, Ramsay Bolton and the Whitehills seem to be operating with a particularly sturdy one.
Despite this, I'm going to be picking up Season Two first day. The Game of Thrones universe is one I love and while I wish it would dial it down a bit, I was still entertained by the story. I came to care about House Forrester despite the constant ass-kicking they got and hope they manage to get some measure of revenge on their tormentors.
Call me an addict.