Review: Game of Thrones - Iron from Ice
By Sean Booker
December 11, 2014 - 17:52
Studios: Telltale Games
Rating: M (Mature)
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Mobile
In Iron from Ice, the first episode in Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones series, we meet a new house separate from the core protagonists and learn how their legacy connects to the overall universe. There are numerous plot threads to follow along and each of them is interesting in its own right. Exciting characters and major decisions allow for this season premiere to feel purposeful the whole way through. This is a great start to a new series.
Iron from Ice has you following several characters from the Forrester clan. This house is separate from the events we have seen in the show/books but is connected to a number of those characters and plot threads. Things are not going well for the Forresters and Game of Thrones’ pattern of dread and manipulation is definitely relevant here. Each of the protagonists are in vastly different situations and this helps the story stay relevant and interesting. Like in Tales from the Borderlands, you will jump back and forth following the different characters. The pacing is always moving fast since you are constantly wondering how the others’ story will proceed. Along with the hard decisions, this game lines up quite nicely with the usual themes that fans of the other Game of Thrones media enjoy.
These decision making moments that Telltale Games is known for are a really great fit with the subject matter. There is never a good choice and I found myself hesitant to move forward at all. Every choice seemed bad and, of course, none ended up with the happiest of scenarios. The episode starts off grim and this tone holds for the entire episode’s length. The ending is quite shocking based on your previous actions and these types of unexpected ordeals are welcomed. The story keeps you on your toes as life expectancy in the Game of Thrones universe is low. It was great to see some real consequences for my actions and the choices I had made.
This is all driven by a good deal of interesting characters. People thrust into bad circumstances and children faced with some extremely mature conflicts. There are also characters from the main story line in Game of Thrones present throughout. Fans will appreciate these cameos as they feel more meaningful than just one off stunts. This is pushed further by the inclusion of the full voice cast from the show being present. The characters are unique and interesting from beginning to end.
The only real issue I had was one of a muddy user interface. There is a new aesthetic filter used in Iron from Ice than what we have previously seen from Telltale Games. It makes everything seem more painterly and almost water color-like. This is all nice and works well for the historic aspect of the setting. The issue comes up when dealing with the quicktime events. The world is already full of mainly brown and grey tones and the arrows that flash on screen are a similar dark shade. More than once I missed a cue simply from not noticing it had popped; it blended into the game too much. This interface issue is a minor grievance but one that became relevant numerous times to my annoyance.
This first episode has worked great to show off what we can expect from Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones series. Iron from Ice is full of hard choices and you never quite feel at ease. These are backed up by the depressing and dark scenarios that play out due to your actions. The episode’s pacing remains strong with the differing storylines to work through and jumping between them keeps your interest up. In the end, it’s the large and varied cast of characters that work so well in holding your attention and making Iron from Ice such a good time.
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