If you’re like me, you’re missing Game of Thrones already, even just a few days after its finale. Suffice to say, waiting all the way until next spring for it to return for season seven is a disappointing thought, so you’ll need something to keep your mind occupied until then.
I have about eight zillion great fantasy books I could recommend (The Way of Kings, The Name of the Wind, etc. etc.), but my beat here is video games, so I’m going to try and stick with that for now. I have bemoaned for ages that there is not a truly good Game of Thrones RPG yet, so there is no direct equivalent to the show (we’ll talk about the Telltale game later). There are, however, a number of games that contain some of the aspects of Game of Thrones that you may like. What do I mean? Read on:
If you miss the political intrigue…
Crusader Kings 2
Game of Thrones is less of a pure fantasy show than it is about politics. Politics that usually end with a lot of dead people, but politics all the same, which is what “A Game of Thrones” ultimately refers to. If that wheeling, dealing, backstabbing aspect of that appeals to you, then look no further than Crusader Kings 2, the strategy game where you want to amass allies and crush your enemies through plotting and scheming. Create the ultimate dynasty and ensure your name lives forever. Be a Lannister, not a Casterly, in other words. And as an added bonus, there is actually a full-on Game of Thrones mod for the game, if you want a direct parallel to the series.
If you miss the gruesome revenge killings…
I’m not exactly sure how many games use “revenge” as a driving motivator (a lot), but I know that one uses it more effectively than most, and that would be Bethesda’s Dishonored. After the murder of an empress (which you’re framed for) you’re tasked with protecting her heir. This involves you killing a large number of people in a variety of entertaining and grotesque ways. There are few other assassination games that blend fantasy, technology and freedom of movement/choice quite like Dishonored. With the sequel on the way this summer, you can sink a whole lot of time into this series until GoT returns.
If you miss the trials by combat…
Dark Souls 1-3
Game of Thrones is famous for a few epic fights, the Viper vs. the Mountain, Brienne vs. The Hound, but Dark Souls is a series where practically every fight you find yourself in is an epic struggle to stay alive. The Dark Souls series combines medieval gloom with a healthy dose of twisted fantasy, and working your way through these games is a feeling of accomplishment like few other things in the industry. The combat is hard to pick up, hard to master and just all around…hard. But that isn’t a bad thing, and if you want a challenge, there is no better series to test what you’re made of than Dark Souls.
If you miss the impossible ethical traps….
Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Here’s where I’m supposed to plug Telltale’s Game of Thrones game, which actually takes place inside the universe of the show, but I honestly don’t really like it that much. If you’re going to play a Telltale game full of gripping moral choices, you would be better off with the original, their two season Walking Dead series, which remains their best. Also pretty good are The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands, but Game of Thrones, weirdly, remains their weakest game to date.
If you miss the sprawling worldbuilding…
The Witcher 3
If I had to pick a single game on this list that contained the most similarities to Game of Thrones, it would probably be The Witcher 3, the cream of the crop of all fantasy RPGs, with an enormously likable lead, and a massive, detailed world full of gripping, disturbing, engaging stories. I spent a hundred hours with the base game and forty more with the DLC, and I may do it all over again with New Game+ soon enough. You don’t need to play the others to dive right into this third game, and it will take you so long to get through it, it could very well fill the entire gap between now and Game of Thrones season seven.
If you miss the character shipping…
Mass Effect/Dragon Age
There aren’t all that many actual romances in Game of Thrones, but there is a hell of a lot of character shipping among fans. Jaime/Brienne, Tormund/Brienne, Jon/Daenerys, Jorah/Daenerys, Tyrion/Daenerys, Sansa/Podrick, Arya/Gendry, Littlefinger/The Night’s King, etc. If romance is your thing, BioWare’s games are where you probably want to be. Dragon Age has the fantasy aspect you might be looking for, but Mass Effect has the more compelling relationships if you ask me. And outside of the romance, they’re just damn good at storytelling too.
If you miss the dragons…
Before The Witcher 3, I would have said Elder Scrolls was the best GoT equivalent, but even if it’s been unseated as my favorite, it’s still a really damn good option here. It has the added bonus of having a “the dragons are coming back to life” plotline that mirrors the show, and the dragons are pretty essential to both the gameplay and plot throughout. Eventually you can summon dragons to help you, but admittedly, you’re usually just killing them. Skyrim is a game you can essentially get lost in forever, and with a remastered version of the game coming out this fall, there’s never been a better time to play.
If you miss Jon Snow…
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Alright this is a game that isn’t even out yet, but if you miss everyone’s new favorite King in the North, Kit Harrington will be starring in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, switching things up by playing the villain role for a change. We know little about his character, other than that he’s sort of or resistance, space terrorist leader, and he’s doing a lot of mo-cap for the project. Given that this is Call of Duty, I might expect some plot turn to reveal he’s actually the good guy, but who knows. Anyway, Call of Duty and Game of Thrones probably couldn’t have less in common, but now they at least have one thing.
Any other suggestions? I’m all ears.
Why does The Walking Dead have such lasting appeal? Find out below: