I gave “Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series” another shot and watched the first episode. I leave it at “watched” rather than “played” because I do not feel like my interactions were especially meaningful, and the gameplay remains a visual novel with quicktime events. Extra points lost for having sections with player control of movement where the only option is to walk forward. I am not sure how much the choices a player makes matter (by reviews: not much), but it seems true to the source material in that all options lead to death. Embracing “I am playing a role a tragedy” enhanced the experience. (There are several takes on “Guardians of the Galaxy as The Avengers playing an RPG,” and one of my favorite has Thor as Drax. After being told that calling up the Big Bad at level 2 will get them all killed, he revels in what a glorious tragedy it shall be.)
I found the writing poor. There were several rounds of direct characterization, with characters remarking on how wise, brave, etc. the other characters are. There are at least two times in the first episode when you are put in control so you can click on pictures or objects to have the POV character say a series of, “Alice, she is so strong. Bob, I hope is still as playful as when I left,” etc. If the whole thing lasts about 12 hours, watching the game takes about as long as watching a season of Game of Thrones. The show sounds more entertaining.
I went on to try Doki Doki Literature Club, which has a lot of buzz. It is another visual novel. The fact that I can’t tell you the buzz about Doki Doki Literature Club without giving you a spoiler is itself a spoiler … as are the content warnings and “horror” tags. Checking a couple of reviews, it looks like I made it about a quarter of the way to the twist. Maybe I could try again, but the whole thing clocks in at 4-5 hours of visual novel. Maybe the full text is posted somewhere, and I could read an actual novel instead?
Folks have advocated Tales from the Borderlands as the best Telltale Games game, and Fate/Stay Night remains that one visual novel piece of gaming literature on the “someday” list. So I have some more to try sometime, but I am about at the point of accepting that this format is not for me. Walking simulators are borderline.