GAME REVIEW – Game of Thrones: Episode 6 – The Ice Dragon (PlayStation 4)

Game of Thrones: Episode 6 - The Ice Dragon

Game of Thrones: Episode 6 – The Ice Dragon is the final episode of a six-part episodic adventure game series from Telltale Games, creators of The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands. In Episode 6, the remaining members of House Forrester must fight against House Whitehill, which continues to tighten its grip on Ironrath at the behest of Ramsay Bolton. Will the Lord of Ironrath stand victorious at the end of season finale? Or will House Forrester end up in ruins? The outcome is up to you… to an extent.

It’s a huge relief after Episode 5: A Nest of Vipers, which often felt like “the extra episode in a series that didn’t really need one”, that the final episode of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series is such an involved, weighty affair. It really does feel like the culmination of all the events that transpired before it – the unusually large delay between the penultimate and final episodes certainly didn’t help with keeping investment levels high, but the breakneck pace and exciting action sequences from the outset of the finale (there’s a polar bear!) go a long way towards pulling players back into the desperate plight of House Forrester.

Of course, dependent on the excruciating decision made at the end of Episode 5, the Lord of Ironwrath may look very different indeed from player to player. It’s highly probable, with this being the final episode of the series, that The Ice Dragon had more room to breathe during the creation process and this has allowed Telltale Games to implement decision points that are tougher and, as a result, more enjoyable for the player. In a world as dangerous as this, it feels much more authentic when no decision seems like the right one to choose – happy endings are few and far between…

GoT_Finale_Gared_bear

However, not every plot thread will be satisfactorily tied up by the end of the episode. Gared Tuttle continues on his quest to find The North Grove, but he always feels very far away – and far removed – from the action back home. It’s an enjoyable side story that ends up feeling unresolved. Mira Forrester also feels like she has been somewhat shepherded to the sidelines – her ultimate fate is most definitely in the hands of the player, but her decisions in previous episodes have little impact at all on the overall fate of her house once the dust has settled.

The main culmination of the story unfolds at Ironwrath then – and thankfully these moments are,  without question, the best parts of the final episode. Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series has done a really great job of creating its own heroes and villains, rather than simply relying on pre-established characters from the television show. No matter which Forrester you’re taking control of at the time, you’ll always feel a burning desire for revenge against the despicable monsters you face. It certainly helps that the simple-yet-beautiful watercolour-esque graphics, voice acting and music are all top-notch.

GoT_Finale_Whitehill_army

In truth, Game of Thrones: Episode 6 – The Ice Dragon feels more like a comma than a full stop. It’s a huge step up from the previous episode in terms of story progression and payoff, but some players may be left feeling disappointed that it unfolds more like the end of a chapter in an ongoing story than the final page. The source material is both a blessing and a curse – the television show is well known for ending its seasons with more questions than it provides answers and The Ice Dragon is no different. Hopefully there will be a second season to address these issues and provide further payoff further down the line, rather than this truly being the end. Regardless, this is an exciting season finale that drives home the point: When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

8 OUT OF 10

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