Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice Review
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Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice Box Art
System: PC*, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
Dev: Telltale Games
Pub: Telltale Games
Release: December 2, 2014
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language
Sitting Upon the Throne
by Angelo M. D'Argenio

Before I began my playthrough of Telltales Game of Thrones, I was warned that I would really need to have watched the show in order to appreciate it. Specifically, I needed to see at least up to the end of Season 3 so as to not avoid some major spoilers. “Huh?” I thought. “Well how bad can it really be?” So I booted up the game and in the very first scene a title flashed across the screen stating the time and place. It said “The Red Wedding.”

… Oh.

If you know what that is, then congratulations, you are pretty much caught up to where you need to be and this review won’t have a lot of spoilers in store for you. If you don’t know what it is and are still in the process of watching/reading Game of Thrones, then for the love of all that is good do not google it and turn away from this review now. In fact, I’ll give you a TL;DR version of the whole review right now: It’s good, don’t play it till you are current in the show. Now off with you! Off you go!

Telltale’s Game of Thrones puts you in the shoes of House Forrester, loyal bannermen to the Starks and protectors of the Ironwood groves, trees that grow wood that is near impervious to fire and are nearly as strong as steel. For those of you who knew what the Red Wedding was, you know that house Stark isn’t doing so hot. As a result, the Forresters lose their royal protection and now become wrapped in a tangle of political intrigue, as they try to prevent a rival house from taking their groves, and destroying their house as they know it.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice Screenshot

The tale of House Forrester takes place alongside the events of Game of Thrones. As a result, you will interact with a lot of your… er… I hesitate to say “favorite” characters, but at least very well known and infamous ones. Tyrion Lannister, Cercsei Lannister, Ramsay Snow, Margaery Tyrell, all of them show up and play integral parts in the plot of the game. Not only that, but they are voiced by the same actors that play them in the HBO series. If this doesn’t make you fall in love with Peter Dinklage’s acting talent even more, then you, sir, have no taste.

The game puts you in the shoes of several different characters, which is still kind of a first for Telltale’s more modern games. If you thought that Tales from the Borderlands was cool with its two protagonists, Game of Thrones gives you three and promises even more to come! This allows the narrative to jump back and forth between many different locales, from Ironrath, the home of the Forresters, to King’s Landing, and more. You get to see the plot from many different vantage points and influence the story in many different ways, with each character’s actions influencing the others.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice Screenshot

The three characters that you are introduced to in this episode are Gared Tuttle, a squire to the late Lord Forrester; Ethan Forrester, third born son of House Forrester, who must take control of the house after Lord Forrester’s passing during the Red Wedding (oops, more spoilers); and Mira Forrester, a daughter of House Forrester who acts as a handmaiden to Lady Tyrell. The tone and pace of the game changes as you jump from one character to the next.

Gared’s sequences are more action based, asking him to defend himself against invading troops, and reap the consequences of his actions on the battlefield. He is all about split second life or death decision-making.

Ethan’s sections are more strategic. He is faced with several options pertaining to how to manage his house. He can fight his enemies, try to make peace, offer bribes, and more. He even has to hold council meetings and appoint officers, all of which will influence events that happen later in the game. His actions are slow and calculated.

Finally, Mira’s sections are all political. They focus on talking over anything else. Whereas Gared and Ethan have some point and click “walk around” sections, Mira’s sections entirely take place through dialogue. It’s up to her to decide who she trusts, whose palms she greases, who she appeases, and more, as she lives her life as a handmaiden in King’s Landing. Through her you are attempting to protect House Forrester through more bureaucratic means, calling in favors and pulling political weight wherever you can.

This split between three different characters makes the game’s plot feel a lot more natural. When you played games like The Wolf Among Us or The Walking Dead, there was always one main character who always did a lot of talking, a lot of problem solving, and who just so happened to get into a physical fight as well. All three of these gameplay styles needed to be lumped onto one character, which kind of made you feel like the protagonists were always the victim of one really bad day where they never get to sleep or rest before the next quick time event came about. Splitting these up between different characters makes the action seem natural. You never see the lord of a house, or a handmaiden, tumbling over a flaming cart, for example.

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