I will try to not mention anything that could spoil both the TV show and episodic game series of Game of Thrones, but to cover my arse, I will say there are spoilers in this article. Spoilers relating to that thing that happened to that guy and then that person who died, not forgetting that other thing that happened with the thingy thing, unless you decided to do the other thing, even if you didn’t realise it was a thing at the time. Sorry for ruining it for everybody. My Bad. So, disclaimer added.
Basically, I hate the Telltale Game of Thrones games. I hate them so much yet I can’t stop playing them. They infuriate me – to the level that I’m worried that I might be making my PS4 deaf. It now has the ability to listen to voice commands, and if it was slightly more advanced, it might right now be trying to shove itself up its own USB port. Yes, Telltale are great. Yes, they create a narrative that you actually care about – but to make you care about it, they emotional manipulate you at every turn. The bastards…
The problem I have with the Game of Thrones game… of thrones… is that you just can’t do anything right. Even if you think you are trying to be a good citizen of Westeros or please the people you want as allies you will always screw yourself over. Or screw over the person that you have really gotten to like as a character. Or screw over Tyrion Lannister. How emotionally manipulative does a game have to be to make me purposefully turn my back on little Dinkers, ol’ Dinky Dinklage? Too manipulative.
This is where the game frustrates me. As I am playing through the three episodes that are currently out, I am obviously drawn to being nice to the characters that I love in the books/TV show. But it’s as if that Telltale know this is what would probably happen, so the game does everything is its old godly power to destroy any positive relationships between you and the various characters that show up in the game.
There are quite a few major characters in the game. Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and Jon Snow to name but a few. Every time I am in a conversation with Cersei, I am panicking as if I were really stood in front of her. Basically, I assume the character interacting with her is about to die horribly, or whatever conversation branch I choose will cause the character to die horribly and if I try and appease her with positive comments about the Lannisters and the family in general, the character I am currently playing is going to die horribly. What if she reads this blog? That’s it, I am done for.
It just doesn’t matter what I do, or how I try to play the game, the game will always wrench at your heart strings, your brain strings and your exposed-innards strings.
It’s not to say that I don’t like Telltale games, I thoroughly enjoyed Fables: The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands is one of the funniest and most enjoyable games that I have ever played. Yes, you have your Sophie’s Choice (Wikipedia it and educate yourself if you don’t get it), but it never seems that you are doing anything irrevocable. I wrote a blog about how manipulative BioWare were when they made you choose between Hawke and Alistair (for me) in Dragon Age: Inquisition. This game makes you make a decision like that every three minutes. I hate it, and I hate it because I care. I really care about this bloody game and what’s going to happen to the characters based on the decisions I make – almost like I’m playing a great game of Dungeons and Dragons with an awesome dungeon master in one of my favourite fictional worlds. OK, it’s amazing, but with three episodes to go I’m not sure how much more my emotions – and the microphone on my PS4 camera – can take.