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.
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.
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.
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.
Version Tested: PS4