Following the success of their previous episodic adventures, Telltale Games hits a home run by securing the rights to apply their interactive storytelling talents to what is arguably the most popular fantasy franchise of all time (sorry Mr. Tolkien).
This magnificent, epic adventure follows the fortunes of House Forrester, a noble family from Ironrath in the Ironwood forest in Westeroth. House Forrester is mentioned only fleetingly in George RR Martin’s novels and this has enabled Telltale Games to create their family tree and weave their unique and original storyline into that of the TV series without upsetting key events. So there’s no rehashing of the TV show’s script. This is an entirely new episode in the Game of Thrones canon, albeit touching on recognizable events from the show from another House’s perspective.
The cast of characters in Game of Thrones HD is what lends the game its powerful emotional punch. On the one hand, the initial thrill is getting to meet and talk to many of your favorite characters from the TV series. Encounters with the likes of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow are exciting enough but when you have to negotiate with the big hitters like Cersei Lannister, the gameplay becomes nail-bitingly tense as you are forced to measure every response you make and anticipate the effects any of your decisions may have on House Forrester’s fortunes. It helps a great deal that the characters you meet over the course of the adventure are voiced by the actors from the TV show.
If meeting the big names from the TV series is what provides easy thrills for GoT fans, it’s the members of House Forrester that enable the player to fully buy into the world of Westeros. Over the course of the adventure the lives of Lord and Lady Forrester, their children and household are all painted in exquisite detail allowing us to become emotionally connected with them. As a result we feel a genuine fear of failure and are genuinely and deeply concerned for the welfare of the family.
It could be argued that Telltale’s adventures are more interactive stories than they are true games but whichever way you view it the experience is quite compelling. This is down to Telltale’s branching dialogue system that served them so well in The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us episodic adventures. When in conversation with a key character you are required to tread a very delicate line in order to achieve the outcome you desire. Approaching a negotiation or pivotal encounter with the wrong responses or an inappropriate attitude can result in anything from a minor inconvenience to the downfall of House Forrester or even death. What you say, and how you treat people will affect the outcome of subsequent events and this lends many of the exchanges a palpable sense of peril.
It’s not all political wrangling and thinking three steps ahead. There is also the odd thing here and there to collect and, given this is Game of Thrones after all, there’s a bit of violent action. Whether it’s a sword fight or a bloody barroom brawl, combat takes the form of reaction-testing quicktime events and while they may be a little simplistic they are nonetheless extremely enjoyable.
There is of course a good reason to get the game on Shield and that is because Game of Thrones HD has been specifically enhanced for Shield Android TV, running smoothly in full 1080p HD. You can download the game now from Google Play for $4.99. If you own this game already on Android, it will also be available for your Shield console, so there should be no need to re-buy it.