Game of Thrones – A Telltale Game Series Episode Six: The Ice Dragon Review

A disappointing end to a promising series.

01

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Format: PC (reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: November 17, 2015
Copy supplied by publisher

Telltale’s Game of Thrones has had its problems – for the most part it’s been a well told adventure, but its consistent hopelessness and desperate need for some satisfying moments have kept it from being one of the studio’s best. With so many plot threads still up in the air, I was curious how exactly Telltale would resolve everything in order to give The Ice Dragon the conclusion it deserves.

I now have my answer.

Telltale didn’t.

The sixth and final episode of Game of Thrones is an unfortunate disappointment that ends with the resolution of nothing. It’s merely a continuation of the humiliation conga that is House Forrester’s biography, one that ends with a cliffhanger rather than anything of substance.

Naturally, there are choices that can affect the outcome, with different roads to reach, but the ultimate consequences equate to roughly the same message – Game of Thrones was never going to wrap itself up this season, and the ultimate tease for a second set of episodes is utterly exasperating.

I should have seen it coming, really, but this hindsight does little to satisfy me. After a decent series, the ending is a damp affair.

02

We’ve had five episodes of drawn out embarrassment, punishment, and destruction – players needed something to feel jubilant about. Episode Six gave me one chance for revenge, one opportunity to take some joy in an action, and even that was swiftly taken away to be replaced with yet more misery for the family of Ironrath.

Even George R.R. Martin knows you need to change the tune a little bit to stop your audience getting bored. It can’t all be depression.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of these people who crave a happy ending – I wouldn’t be a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire if I was – but you can only maintain an atmosphere of depressing failure for so long before it invokes apathy in the audience. Had there been more hope spots throughout this season, more opportunities to score some meaningful wins, then an ending this dismal would have worked.

As it is, it’s just more despair piled upon despair, and as such, I’ve all but lost interest in the story. Telltale went in entirely the wrong direction for this “concluding” episode, merely continuing the exact same note it’s doggedly maintained for five episodes now before promising another season to see where things really end up.

Hell, at this point, the Forresters are pathetic. Following this episode, I’ve all but lost any investment I may have had in them as protagonists. It’s hard to have respect for characters who are so repeatedly shoved into the dirt and made to look like desperate failures. I don’t care about House Forrester anymore. Not after this episode.

03

I’d rather root for the Boltons – at least they can achieve something.

Structurally, the episode is sound. It’s as well paced as any other, and its action scenes are pretty solid. As objectively as possible, I can say it’s as good as any episode in the series to date.

This had to be more than that, however. After all the time spent in this game, all the intrigue and the wondering exactly how House Forrester would prevail, an episode that’s just “more of the same” is exactly not what needed to happen.

As a big fan of Telltale’s work, and a Game of Thrones aficionado, I found this to be a dismal letdown. I expected better – hell, I at least expected to feel something at the end of this chapter. Instead, I feel nothing. I’m just completely apathetic to the whole thing, and I feel no reason to be excited about a second season because, well… it’ll just be more of the same, if past experience is any indicator.

At least the little ending narrative is nice, even if you’ll be spending most of it saying, “Wait, is that it?”

Yes.

Yes that’s really it.

5/10
Mediocre

InAFreeCountry
Guest
InAFreeCountry

House Forrester is secretly House Charlie Brown.

Seth Vandenburg
Guest
Seth Vandenburg

Well that does sound disappointing. And now I have to wait on a sequel to see if things will get better… which I doubt now.

Well, on the plus side, at least Minecraft: Story Mode is a bit brighter. Speaking of which, had the opportunity to play it yet, Jim?

Norman Osborn
Guest
Norman Osborn

A disappointing assessment Jim, given your supposed love of the grim tale. I myself love a good Greek tragedy, and tragedian stories are bleak from start to finish. As life is for some.

A shame you couldn’t appreciate what it was going for. Particularly as we never get a story told from the losing side. And it’s a most interesting affair.

ian
Guest
ian

You’re so right. It was literally just trying to be edgy and depressing, but fell so flat.

dyscode
Guest
dyscode

Even if TellTale feel like giants, to beat an storytelling genius like R.R. Martin is way too big for them.

Forrest Kayssen
Guest
Forrest Kayssen

“You can only maintain an atmosphere of depressing failure for so long before it invokes apathy in the audience.”

If only the writers of the GOT television series had had that nugget of information before they put out the last series. I’ve read the books, and was not expecting the show to get so morbidly unpleasant, all at once.

Sai
Guest
Sai

So is it impossible to get a good ending? I’m honestly kind of hoping so. I made so many bad decisions and have very little desire to go back and replay for a different outcome.

Vinnie Vincent's Dead Dog
Guest
Vinnie Vincent's Dead Dog

The only Telltale games i really like are The Walking Dead games. Though i heard the Borderlands game is quite amazing. So i might give that a go.

Matthew Castillo
Guest
Matthew Castillo
The basic mistake they made was wanting to have a single continuous plotline for their GOT licence. This should have been like Wolf Among Us, a self contained story that works whether or not you know the source material. I get wanting to get multiple seasons out of a license like GoT, but they would have been better served making each a standalone with this one bringing a conclusion to the Forrester story with maybe a cameo from them in the next one. For one, having this story as mostly self-contained could have let them make your choices in the… Read more »
Northreyar
Guest
Northreyar
This is the same reason why i stopped giving a shit for the TV show after season 3. Too much doom and gloom, too goddamn often. With so few uplifting moments that it just became boring. Even though logic would say that, the fewer the happy moments the more precious they are, they don’t come out like this at all, because they last so little that they’re not memorable. The same whenever they introduce a new interesting character he dies before doing anything of note, so apathy sets in. Its hard to care about anyone when you know almost for… Read more »
Logan Graham
Guest
Logan Graham

A red flag did come up for me when I saw the trophy list read as “Complete Season 1 of Game of Thrones.”

Sam
Guest
Sam

I’m really getting tired of the Telltale formula.
We’ve got Don’tnod now. Maybe one more company to complete the Triforce, then I’d like to see what they make when they have to compete with one another.

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

I forgot that the Telltale Game Of Thrones games even existed ._.

Nitrium Oxide
Guest
Nitrium Oxide
With these episodic things, I’m not entirely convinced they should be “rated” individually in the first place. I think in some ways it’s a slightly devious ploy on part of the publisher to get 6 separate reviews for what is imo literally a SINGLE game and thereby massively boosting exposure over a prolonged period – after all, no one plays just episode 2 because that’s apparently the best one, do they? My question to Jim: how would you rate Telltale’s Game of Thrones Season 1, in its entirety (i.e. as a single game, which imo it factually is since none… Read more »
Andrew Siribohdi
Guest
Andrew Siribohdi

Well said, Jim.

Kalle Johansson
Guest
Kalle Johansson
Yeah, just played through this episode, and while I liked it I do agree that the ending is a slap in the face. It’s all “there’s your lot, see you next season!” And the lack of closure is really the biggest problem of the episode, the whole season, and that’s not a problem I’ve had with any other Telltale game. Walking Dead Season 1 didn’t end on a cliffhanger. Tales from the Borderlands didn’t end on a cliffhanger (though it did leave we wondering if they’re planning on making another one). This game did. Why? There’s no reason for it!… Read more »
Billy Bissette
Guest
Billy Bissette

Ends with the resolution of nothing, humiliation conga, ends with a cliffhanger rather than anything of substance, continuing the exact same note it’s doggedly maintained…

Sounds like they nailed the more annoying side of George R.R. Martin’s writing.

I’m guessing that Telltale had already decided on going for at least two “seasons” before they even started the story, and decided to go both futilely gloomy and “epic”, which means lots of not accomplishing stuff.

Logan Graham
Guest
Logan Graham

I do wonder why Jim didn’t review Minecraft: Story Mode, though.

Iouri Kornienko
Guest
Iouri Kornienko
So After feeling kinda awesome at the start with the squire character (I honestly can’t remember their names…) and the other okish bits of episode one, something that started kinda light. The game ends with… more of the dull, depressing atmosphere that plagues the entire game? Great guess I know not to get it because for fucks sakes at least let us have A victory. Give us something to be happy about, give us something to bloody accomplish. It’s like watching DSPGaming play MGS3. It’s the same bullshit from start to finish and is just incredibly hard to watch due… Read more »
Craig the War Boy
Guest
I find myself struggling to enjoy any Telltale game from time to time, for despite being well-written, and well-paced, their entire hook for this or any of their games seems to be “look how much shit we can put this character through.” You can argue that Clementine or Rhys are amazing characters, and they are, but it’s clear that with enough time devoted to them, Telltale is going to eventually break them. Season Two of The Walking Dead suggests that, depending on your choices, Clementine is going to become a very hard, cold individual despite her earlier virtues. Frankly, I… Read more »
HaveSomeOatmeal
Guest
HaveSomeOatmeal

“Hell, at this point, the Forresters are pathetic.”

This.

Seriously. When the most satisfying things you can do as a Forrester in this game are slap Gryff Whitehill around a bit and call Ludd on his bluff (both in Episode 5), that’s saying something. Of course, others will have different moments they enjoyed I’m sure. But for me, those were the only moments where I felt any sense of retribution, which ultimately wasn’t all that satisfying anyway.

Stephen Mc Devitt
Guest
Stephen Mc Devitt

And here I was thinking of buying this game. Oh well. One less game to worry with the amount I’m getting for the PS4.

Zanda
Guest
Zanda

Yeah, it seems this series was plagued by all the problems that come with episodic releases.

jimfk
Guest
jimfk

I think I am done with Telltale, thanks for the warning Jim, at least I know what is coming.

James White
Guest
James White

I couldn’t bring myself to finish the fifth one. I really lost interest around halfway through and, to be honest, I don’t care all that much what happens to the characters, especially now that I can see it doesn’t seem particularly worthwhile. It feels like a lot more of Telltale’s effort and enthusiasm went into Tales from the Borderlands, which is my favourite Telltale game ever. This just started feeling like an obligatory series tie-in game after a while.