Last December, Telltale Games kicked off their Game of Thrones story with Iron from Ice, the series’ debut episode. In my review of Iron from Ice, I stated I was disappointed that the game released with a number of quality-impairing bugs on mobile. Audio stuttering, frame-rate issues, and more hampered the highly anticipated release.
Now, two months later, the second Game of Thrones episode has released with the same exact issues.
I wasn’t even through the “Previously On…” recap before the audio started skipping, lagging nearly a full second behind where it should have been. The audio eventually leveled out, but bouts of stuttering audio persisted throughout the entirety of the game. Nearly every time the scene shifted perspectives, the audio hiccuped.
As of this writing, Telltale Games states on the game’s App Store page that Game of Thrones is, “recommended for iPhone 5 and up, and iPad 3 and up – also requires iOS 7 and up,” and that iPhone 4 users shouldn’t even bother trying. The iPad 3 was released in 2012, my iPad Mini 2 was released at the tail-end of 2013, safely within Telltale’s suggested hardware range. So why were the game’s framrates tolerable at best and atrocious at worst? I’m baffled…especially considering Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands ran flawlessly on this exact same device.
Low framerates were a particular problem during combat situations; the bustle of characters caused the game to chug, and combined with the fast-paced quicktime events, I died unnecessarily in nearly every fight. The arrow telling me to swipe would pop up, I’d swipe, and by the time the game registered my gesture my character was choking on their own blood and “Valar Morghulis” tauntingly faded onto the screen like a big middle finger.
What really stinks is that behind the bugs is a really solid adventure game that contains all the excitement, danger, and intrigue that the Game of Thrones books and show are known for. Beyond the top-notch voice acting, there were some great scenes in “The Lost Lords” that add depth to characters like Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. Not to mention that the ending of Episode Two was just as moving as the best endings that fans have seen in the television show.
Even as the final scenes lagged and stuttered, I was still caught up in the moment by the combination of scenery and the amazing song sung by a crying character. I’m not going to lie, I almost teared up a bit.
For those of you who can’t get enough Westeros, I urge you to avoid the mobile version and look into the PC or console ones for a more stable experience. From my personal experience, I watched a friend play through the Xbox One version without flaw. For those of you looking for a good mobile adventure game, look elsewhere…at least until Telltale patches these issues up.