Game of Thrones: Episode 1–Iron from Ice
Ps3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac
Since its introduction in 2011, HBO’s Game of Thrones has soared in popularity, even usurping the might Sopranos as the networks most successful and popular show ever created. Of course, one of the shows best joys has been discussing its various plot twists and shocking revelations with fellow watchers. Now, however, for the first time, players can actually have a direct effect on this world, and instead of examining and criticizing the choices of others, fans will have the chance to make their own.
And make no mistake, there are plenty of choices to make. In typical Telltale fashion, the idea of choice is at the very center of this new adventure, and in typical Game of Thrones fashion, those choices can often have dire consequences.
The first thing players will notice, though, is likely the drastically different graphical style of this title. Varying wildly from the other Telltale games, Game of Thrones abandons the cel-shaded look of its progenitors in favor of a light CG aesthetic, and while it may give the game a look which is closer to the show that inspired it, it lacks the clean presentation of Telltale’s previous efforts and is likely its biggest weakness.
More than once, I noticed the background retexturizing so that the characters could remain fluid, and there were a couple of instances of pop-up and disappearing character models during hi-res moments.
But let’s be honest, we know why Telltale chose the name they did, and we know that no one has come to this title to be wowed by the graphics. So lets get onto the meat of this game, shall we?
Iron from Ice has served the Game of Thrones saga very well in crafting its plot. Filled with unique and divisive new characters, and weaving in a few series favorites, Iron from Ice has given several new sides to the conflicts of the show.
Players are put into the shoes of three members of House Forrester. Formerly loyal to House Stark, the Forrester clan is left to strategize among its various options to help ensure its survival in the aftermath of the Red Wedding. Will you side with the domineering Cersei or the charming Margaery? Perhaps you will side only with yourself.
That it will do nothing new with any of the established characters should, of course, have been expected but it’s still a touch disappointing that for now they appear to be just fan service, at least to a certain extent. They clearly have a major effect on the outcomes of your story, but much of their dialogue serve simply as reiterations of their previously established characters. This may have seemed like a necessary evil, as Telltale cannot predict for certain that all players will be familiar with the core story but it will stand out and irk at times for those well versed in the Game of Thrones mythos.
All in all, Iron from Ice is precisely what fans should expect, both from Telltale and from Game of Thrones. In Telltale’s park, we have an established world, and new characters being introduced to influence it, and in the Game of Thrones stead, we have plenty of morally grey decisions to examine and their myriad of wide-ranging consequences to consider.
As the first chapter, Iron from Ice is a fine start, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be the weakest of the six planned episodes. After all, Game of Thrones premieres are generally just table dressing for what’s to come.