Telltale’s Game Of Thrones: Episode Six – The Ice Dragon Review

If Telltale does one thing best it’s wrapping up the stories they’ve spun out over a number of months. Thankfully they’re still yet to fall when approaching that all-important last hurdle, even when weighed down with the narrative baggage scooped up during prior episodes. Needless to say, The Ice Dragon marks a powerful, albeit harrowing, end to Games of Thrones’ debut series.

Naturally, chapter six picks up from where we last left the Forrester family. However, instead of kicking off with a bang, we’re gently eased into The Ice Dragon with a revelation as Gared and his companions beyond the wall finally reach The North Grove.

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We won’t give away any major details but here they’ll encounter a new scenario that plays out over the course of the episode before tying back into the over-arching plot. Although tangential, it’s a satisfying subplot that sheds light on some lesser-known lore aspects that fans of the show and novels will come to appreciate.

Once again, the weakest segment is that which takes place in King’s Landing. Although slightly more action-orientated than previous visits, most of our time with Mira is spent sifting between conversations, trying to figure out which dialogue options will benefit her cause. If you’ve enjoyed all the back-stabbing and scheming up to this point then, chances are, you’ll be satisfied in how Telltale ties up her story. With Queen Margaery transfixed on her wedding to Prince Tomyn, all the cards have been laid on the table. Again, no spoilers, but from here your honesty – or lack thereof – will have more serious ramifications than ever.

The main event, as foretold in the previous episode, is the inevitable clash between House Forrester and Whitehills. From bickering to bloodshed, it’s a rivalry that has continued to ramp up with each passing scene, having hit its climax in A Nest Of Viper’s closing moments. With Rodrik or Asher having been slain, the surviving brother flees to Ironrath with a ragtag army in tow. Upon their return, the player is presented with several options as to how they handle the impending Whitehill attack.

It’s here where The Ice Dragon exceeded our expectations. Far too often we’ve watched the same results play out regardless of the choices we make. There’s been a lack of agency, yet one that’s been tolerated due to the scope of the game in comparison to the AAA power sellers. However, that all changes as players approach the final chapter, with several courses of action to choose from. These are bestowed an even higher degree of uniquity given that some characters will be substituted for others depending on earlier choices.

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That said, no matter how you play the hand you’re dealt, these narrative branches twist back on one another to form a standardised ending. It’s a brutal finale and one that perfectly captures that Game of Thrones vibe, although, if it wasn’t made clear enough in previous episodes, here Telltale lay the foundation for a second season.

Before the credits start to roll, there’s an intriguing post-game sequence using Game of Thrones actors that recaps your choices in comparison to others. It’s a clever bonus and one that encourages players to reflect on what might’ve happened if they acted aggressively in some scenarios while handling others with composed dignity.

What’s Good:

  • A strong close overall.
  • Brilliant voice acting and delivery.
  • Choices have much more consequence.

What’s Bad:

  • Game engine still has its hiccups.
  • Mira’s sections continue to feel like an interactive personality test.

Out of the six episodes, The Ice Dragon stands head and shoulders above the rest. Although this was to be expected, as with most story-driven games, this final instalment does a grand job in showing just how cinematic Telltale’s adventure series have grown while passionately adhering to source material.

Score: 8/10

Version Tested: PS4

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8 Comments

  1. My other half (Hannypoppie) is currently playing through the season now. Enjoying it so far and it was nice to tell her how well the final episode is being received. Lovely timing, Jim. :-)

    • Thanks! It’s been a great series despite some occasional lulls and I’m glad to hear that other fans are enjoying it.

  2. The review is spot on. Best episode of the series, but I found this one plagued with more audio/video glitches than any of the others. It ruined the immersion a little, but overall it’s a great ending.

    Will definitely be replaying to see some how some of the other choices play out – there were so many in this episode!

  3. Good review, 8/10 is about right. Definitely more choices to make in this game than Telltales others. I finished it on ps4, but bought it in a sale on ps3 and made the other choice at the end of episode 5. I read there’s multiple different endings, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

    • There are multiple ways to approach the final conflict, yes. I’ve been watching through some of the alternate endings and was quite surprised to see how differently things play out.

  4. To be honest, this episode completely disappointed me.

    Storylines still feel cut off from each other. Neither Mira and Gared have an effect on the main story and don’t really do much narratively at all. Season one does not feel resolved.

    As for the final scene, it plays out differently but with the same result each time. The same number of characters die, with one of two differences as to who (and given Telltale’s record, they’ll all die in the season two opener). The game doesn’t let you do some things which feel obvious to secure the Forrester’s safety.

    There were loads of bugs too, from missing audio to a prompt telling me to press B to skip a cutscene (on PS4). At one point half of my character’s hair turned white because the game decided his hair wasn’t an important texture.

    The biggest drawback was gameplay though. Every single scene was a cutscene with dialogue choices or easy quick time events. Previous episodes allowed us to walk around and control the characters.

    The first episode surprised me and excited me for the rest of the series. Unfortunately after that I just felt useless and even bored. Meanwhile, Life Is Strange has utterly blown away the Telltale games and taken ownership of the genre. Telltale need to stop spreading themselves so thin, focus on quality games over quantity and for the love of God, build a new engine.

    • The lack of control over characters is definitely an issue and has been so throughout the entire season.

      The Gared and Mira foreshadowing is also a little annoying but, at the same time, it wouldn’t have made sense (in terms of the timeline) for them to return to Ironrath from King’s Land and from beyond the wall.

      • Even more than them not returning, they had no effect at all.

        Mira made no difference to anyone not in King’s Landing, and we still don’t know anything about the North Grove. Those storylines seem pointless now that it’s over, there was no payoff at all. Really disappointing.

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