From the recreation of the television series’ popular opening, to the use of actors such as Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage, Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones does a fantastic job of capturing the look and feel of its source material. While drawing more from the HBO series than the books, both are represented well. The first installment in the episodic video game adventure is titled “Iron from Ice” and the developer does a tremendous job of putting players into the fray.
“Iron from Ice” casts players in the roles of Ethan Forrester, Mira Forrester, and Gared Tuttle: all members of House Forrester, a lesser family which swore allegiance to the Starks in their war with the Lannisters. Without spoiling the game’s plot, this first episode takes place after an infamous event in the television series, and the characters are thrust into compromising situations as a result. It is important to note that Telltale’s Game of Thrones is best suited for fans of the book series or television show, as the game acts almost as a side story to the source material’s important events.
Despite not providing a great deal of introduction to the characters, Telltale does a superb job of ensuring each of them feel authentic; the absolute same goes for the music, which feels ripped directly from an episode. Characters from the television series, such as Cersei Lannister and Margery Tyrell, are major parts of the plot and are represented well. However, the same cannot be said for the environments. In “Iron from Ice”, the Game of Thrones castles and locales seem like cheap set pieces from a school play. It was the first time where I wondered if Telltale could properly depict something in their cell-shaded art style. While this issue is certainly noticeable, the plot is so engaging that focusing on the story versus the poorly implemented environments is an easy task.
Due to the aforementioned use of multiple characters, the gameplay in episode 1 – “Iron from Ice” bounces back and forth like in the television show, and the result is truly gripping. But what is far more gripping are the game’s decisions; players are required to make some very hard choices without knowing if making the wrong choice could result in the death or your character or another. This is the first time that I have experienced a Telltale game providing an endless amount of time to make a difficult choice. As the player, I was very grateful for this, because even some of the early decisions make you cringe because you are aware of the possible results. Death comes in Telltale’s Game of Thrones, just like Winter.
Overall, Telltale’s Game of Thrones is off to a great start with “Iron from Ice”. The developer does an outstanding job of making the player relate to these characters, while simultaneously making it difficult to make decisions for them. The fate of House Forrester is closely tied to major events in Westeros, and the player is along for the ride. Be careful to make smart decisions, because Cersei will remember them.
+ Characters look and feel like the TV show
+ Difficult decisions
+ Awesome ending
– Environments are not graphically appealing