When it was first announced that Telltale Games would be tackling a video game adaptation of The Walking Dead, many were skeptical that they could translate that deep level of emotional connection from the comic book world into a game. As it turned out, The Walking Dead was a landmark for the company and for, arguably, for the gaming industry as a whole. It showed that Telltale, a company formerly known for primarily making “funny” games like Sam & Max and Puzzle Agent, could create deep, impactful stories. Now, Telltale has a new challenge in front of the in transitioning Game of Thrones from it’s HBO series to a video game. Episode One: Iron From Ice sets the tone well and feels like the new character fit right into the Game of Thrones world.
It’s important to note that if you don’t follow the television show, the Telltale Series will be incredibly difficult for you to follow, as it takes place between seasons three and four of the HBO show. Episode one of Game of Thrones follows House Forrester, who serve as the Bannermen for House Stark. Episode One, Iron From Ice, takes place at the very end of Season 3, immediately surrounding what is arguably the shows biggest moment yet. It’s at this moment when we’re put into the shoes of Garred Tuttle, one of the three main characters of episode one.
Garred Tuttle is serving as a squire when the notorious Red Wedding occurs. Fleeing from The Twins, he seeks to return to Ironrath, home to his uncle Duncan Tuttle, who is serving as the Castellan of House Forrester. On his way home, though, he ends up murdering a soldier of House Bolton, one of the main villainous Houses in Game of Thrones. This single action, like so many others in Game of Thrones, has a domino effect on almost everyone. However, this action plays a massive part to the second character in Game of Thrones Episode One: Lord Ethan Forrester.
Ethan Forrester is put in charge of House Forrester near the beginning of Episode One and it’s almost immediately clear that he’s not ready for the responsibility. He’s a child who’s expected to command over a group of soldiers, all the while helping to maintain the kingdoms supply of Ironwood. Yet, as the episode progresses, we get to see him evolve into a much more solid character as the looming threat of House Bolton bearing down on them becomes more and more real. There’s real solid character development in only a couple of hours for this character. However, as the episode progresses, it becomes clear that Ethan will need the help of his sister, Mira.
Mira is serving in King’s Landing as the handmaiden to the soon to be queen Margaery Tyrell. Realizing her family is in sever danger, she pleads with the future Queen for her help. However, before Margaery will help her, Mira is forced to stand before the current Queen Regent, Cerci Lannister and her brother Tyrion Lannister, as the Forresters stood with the Stark Family in their war against the Lannisters. This leads to a fairly intense showdown in the throne room between Mira and Cerci, as they are each trying to outwit each other without showing their true intentions.
From a gameplay perspective, Game of Thrones is pretty much what you’d expect from a more modern Telltale Game. There’s little in the way of free movement through environments. Rather, the game takes you from scene to scene with the player having to make some dialog decisions before making a larger moral choice. It’s pretty standard fair for Telltale, but in later scenes it works very well.
However, the strongest scenes in the whole game are the ones that feature the actors from the TV show in the game, namely the scenes with Cerci and Ramsay Snow. Both characters are captured nearly flawlessly. Cerci is clearly scheming and manipulating people while Ramsay Snow is a pure lunatic. These scenes are far more interesting than almost anything else in the rest of the game. It feels more like a crutch, however, when you realize that Telltale has created their own micro story in the massive world of Game of Thrones that doesn’t seem to stand as well as it could without the support of those cameo appearances.
Game of Thrones does show real potential. The story feels like it fits into the world of Game of Thrones. Yet, at the same time, if Telltale relies too much on “cameo” appearances from other characters from the Game of Thrones TV show, it feels like that story might get overshadowed. Hopefully, going into the next episode, Telltale will refocus their efforts to make their original characters in their Game of Thrones series stand out more.
SCORE: 7.0 out of 10
A code for Game of Thrones : Episode One: Iron From Ice was provided to Pixel Related for review.