“Passing Seasons”

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: November 17, 2015
Copy purchased

The Ice Dragon concludes Telltale Games’ six-part, episodic venture into the narrative-rich world of Game of Thrones with a sigh. Telltale’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy masterpiece encompasses all of the necessities you would come to expect from a classic Thrones’ story, but struggles severely with execution. The unjust tragedies and grotesque bloodshed of The Ice Dragon, as well as the first season as a whole, aren’t sold by the direction of the weak writing and inconsistent pacing. Until this point, each of the previous five episodes were able to hold on to a level of passable quality, maintaining just enough tension and mystery to keep things interesting. However, the finale leaves too many stones unturned and plot threads deserving of resolve, in the air. The season closes without fulfilling the promise to deliver a highbrow Game of Thrones story, leaving a lasting impression of dissatisfaction. The Ice Dragon 1 Through and through, Telltale Games’ adaptation has kept up with the level of bleakness and despair that coats the land of Westeros in its source material, with small victories throughout the episodes keeping things somewhat hopeful. The Ice Dragon quickly shoots down the chances of bringing the season to a sanguine close, in turn, overlaying the rather lengthy two-hour episode with a glaze of somberness. It’s no new emotionally draining feat for Thrones, but the slow and jumbled pace of the episode takes more than it gives. Depending on the final choice you made in episode four, Asher or Rodrik Forrester’s plot thread is the strongest part of the season finale. House Forrester has had it rough over the course of the season, and The Ice Dragon is no exception. Mourning and misery envelops the family as they stand against the Whitehills in one last attempt to protect their home, with some novel scenes showcasing just how broken they are. It’s rather heartbreaking, following closely on the heels of the show and books, despairingly portraying a lineage at their lowest. Having said that, The Ice Dragon reads too much into gearing its focus towards depression, resulting in a constantly drab series of transitions between characters that never shift the story in a meaningful, stimulating direction.

This rings true with Mira and Garred’s sections above all else, both of which take a disappointingly slow and seemingly insignificant step in shaping the narrative. Garred’s quest to uncover the North Grove sees its most substantial stride of the season, yet the outcome is underwhelming and underdeveloped. The season is brought to a close before anything of importance comes together, resulting in a large majority of the episode coming across as pandering. Worse yet, is the culmination of Mira Forrester’s storyline. It’s here where The Ice Dragon is most uneven, suffering from frail writing and pacing. Mira’s value to the fate of her family with the position she’s in, is untapped and disregarded for a more direct character analysis. In previous episodes Mira played an integral part in pulling crucial political strings, but her efforts in the seedy capital of King’s Landing lay untouched in the season finale. Mira’s strengths as a character are ignored for the most part, and decisions from past episodes release all the weight they initially presented. It’s a series of disappointing letdowns and retractions for a choice-driven title that prides itself on being proficient in weaving together drastically branching paths.The Ice Dragon 3Conclusion: Game of Thrones: Episode 6 – The Ice Dragon fails in bringing rightful resolution to the first season of Telltale’s narrative escapade into Westeros. What began as a promising introduction to an interesting family with compelling stories, gradually descended into the destruction of valid protagonists and plot lines. The season as a whole put too much in the hands of the finale, subliminally leaving it to topple over in a last attempt to seek resolve. Once having waded through the fallout of desperation, there’s just simply not enough left to keep things going. Naturally, what remains is a disjointed and hesitant finish, one that finally succumbs to the mediocrity that has been nipping away at the toes of the series since its debut.

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