Game of Thrones – Episode 6 (Finale): “The Ice Dragon” Review
Developed by: Telltale Games
Published by: Telltale Games
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3 (Also available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and iOS and Android)
The Ice Dragon is the season finale of Telltale’s Game of Thrones. Everything has been leading up to the final showdown between the Forresters and the Whitehills and it’s up to the current Forrester leader to defend his land from the invaders. You’re constantly met with tough choices in order to make the best of the desperate situation. Yet in traditional Game of Thrones fashion, it feels like things go from bad to worse to horrendous, despite what you may try to do to fix it. The game continues of the heels of Episode Five and quickly becomes the blood soaked kind of story that Game of Thrones fans know and love.
Back when the first episode came out, I imagined it ending with things going badly for the lovable characters. Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed in my playthrough, but there’s was a shocking amount of people that made it out with only minimal harm at the end of my game. Without giving too spoilers, the ending of this episode, regardless of your situation based on your decisions, sets up the pieces for a probable second season.
Gameplay was about the same as before with the quick time events at opportune moments whenever you weren’t making choices in the dialogue options. Unfortunately I noticed several points where those quick time events were either automatically completed for you or pushing nothing yielded the same result. This was accidentally discovered when I was taking down some notes about the game during a long cutscene and I didn’t have enough time to react to the prompts on the screen. So I tried it a few more times in different areas found that only a few moments actually ended with a game over.
The PS3 version of this game is riddled with problems graphically and mechanically like in previous episodes, particularly with loading issues, audio drops, and de-synching. With the extra time between Episodes Five and Episode Six there was hope that the extra time taken would’ve made a difference. Unfortunately, not only did the break not help at all but this episode ran the worst out of all of the episodes released. Loading times just between scenes and different camera angles to took horrendously long. From the moment the game began the audio problems returned and got progressively worse as the game went on. The sound got to the point where the ambiance noise from one scene would continue into the following scene and all of the dialogue stopped, turning the game essentially into a silent movie until I restarted the game. After restarting, the graphics wouldn’t load some of the character models completely. One character’s arm was completely separated from the rest of his body. Another scene had a knife presented in a sheath to another character. For the entirety of the scene the knife was stirring in the sheath, while the sheath itself was spinning in the character’s hand. Glitching and displacement of characters have happened in Telltale games before, especially in previous episodes in this series, but it’s at an all time low in this episode.
However, despite the problems that tend to be present in the games they release, probably the coolest thing that Telltale Games does whenever a season comes to an end is that they give you a more in depth look at your stats throughout all the episodes. Stats like who you made better friends with as opposed to other characters and your overall play style. Here this is done through some awesome water color paintings of key scenes while having key characters from the main series such as Jon Snow and Daenerys Targarian give their impressions about the Forrester Family. In the end, it even sort of grades how you played the Game of Thrones, going from playing with “Instincts and Nobility” to “Unwavering Conviction”.
While this episode had a mostly satisfying conclusion, the overall send off for season one was by far the worst if you play on the PlayStation 3. Playing on PC or even possibly on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One could yield better results as far as gameplay and graphics. Still, glaring technical issues aside, this is a pretty good episode to play. The whole series itself is still worth playing, but maybe not worth a full price purchase unless a sale is available or if you just love Game of Thrones and want something to fuel your addiction between seasons of the show. However, sale or no, playing this game on the PlayStation 3 cannot be recommended.