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Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice

Score: 93%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Telltale Games seems to have once again taken an existing property and found a new and exciting way to expand on the world, while still staying very close to the original source.

In the case of Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice, the world of Westeros comes to life with an interesting mix of realistic representation of the TV series' actors and an almost water-color style texture applied to everything, even those aforementioned characters.

The result is that known characters Cersei (Lena Headey), Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon) are all easily recognizable, but the edges of the character models almost bleed into the colors and textures of the world around them, giving them an interesting stylized look.

As for Iron From Ice's audio, the characters mentioned above from the show are all voiced by the same actors, and each one gives the kind of performance that we have come to expect from the show, but these characters aren't actually this game's primary cast. Instead, we are introduced to a new minor family, and it is their members that we will get to know. Thankfully, the acting behind the Forrester family seems to be as top-notch as the more well-known characters.


First off, Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice is tied very strongly to a major event in the TV series. If you haven't finished Season Three of the show, then I wouldn't recommend starting with this game. Get caught up at least to that point before seeing how this new family's story ties into the series.

Assuming that only those who are sufficiently caught up in the series are still reading, I'll get down to it. The game opens the night before the infamous Red Wedding. You start by playing Gared Tuttle, a squire to Lord Forrester. As bannermen for the Starks, you are following Robb Stark as he tries to claim the mantle of King of the North. It's just a shame that the ill-fated wedding means that most of the Forrester's men won't make it through the night. Gared is tasked with returning to the Forrester castle in order to pass the house sword onto the next lord and convey a cryptic message.

You won't play the whole level as Gared though. You will also take control of the young new lord, Ethan, as he struggles with the aftermath of the Red Wedding and having to convince the new Warden of the North that the Forresters are loyal to the crown. What's worse is that a rival family is already much closer to the new Family-in-charge and they are using that influence to try and take over the groves of Iron Wood that the Forresters harvest. Before this episode is over, young Ethan will have to make several tough decisions, among them is who to choose as his counselor and how to treat Ramsay Snow, an ambassador for the new Warden.

The other playable character in this episode is Ethan's older sister, Mira, who is one of Margaery Tyrell's handmaidens. When word of Ramsay's impending visit gets to her, she approaches Margaery in the hopes of gaining support from the crown. This section of the game leads to an interesting interview conducted by Cersei as the Queen tries to uncover the Forrester family's true allegiance.

In what is now a well established gameplay style, Telltale artfully weaves its story around forcing you to make various tough decisions. When Mira is talking to Cersei, does she show herself as obedient and loyal, or as a proud woman of the North? Does Ethan choose a military counselor or the good negotiator? How do you make Gared react to the horrors he sees the night of the Tulley/Frey wedding? Do you tell the cryptic message only to the person you are supposed to, or do you let the others that are probing for information in on the secret? While some of these choices have somewhat immediate consequences, it's obvious that several will have long-lasting effects that we might not see the final payoff for at least a few episodes.


As with games like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice isn't a particularly hard game. Everything is straightforward and what few puzzles you have to encounter are simple to resolve. Where the game gets hard is when it comes time to make choices. There were several times when none of the options given to me were good choices and I had to make a judgement call that I could tell would have lasting consequences that could all turn out bad. Given that indecision is often a possible option, even deciding not to do something will lead to other characters seeing you in a certain light, and knowing that those views can change how those characters will see you later means that the choices really feel like they matter.

Game Mechanics:

Game of Thrones: Episode 1 - Iron From Ice switches between several different gameplay styles. There are times when you will be in a conversation with someone and you will have to choose how to answer. For the most part, these conversation options follow a particular intended purpose. In the example above where Mira is talking to Cersei, you will see an option that leans more towards the cowing servant, an option that hints at defiance, and one that's middle of the road. There is also the option to say nothing. While the dialogue doesn't really branch all that much based on how you answer your questions, the characters will remember what they hear and will often shape their impression of your character based on these conversations.

The game will also go into a simplified battle scene where you will use the mouse to click targets or use a couple of keyboard keys to represent struggling with someone or something. This particular action often involves rapidly pressing one key to exert force and then quickly switching to another in order to finish off the move. These quicktime-like events aren't new in Telltale games, but there are a couple of fight scenes that took me more than a few tries to get through, so just like the Game of Thrones TV series, expect a lot of death.

If your character isn't actively involved in a conversation or a fight, then he/she is allowed to roam around a bit. These scenes are typically short and you don't have a lot of space to explore, but you do have some freedom and you are typically given this time to talk to other characters, typically in whatever order you want, in order to gather information you will need in order to make some decision.

So far, Game of Thrones is off to a great start. The Forresters are an interesting minor-family that mirrors the Starks in several ways, so while you won't be controlling any of the main characters from the show, the Forrester's story seems to be an interesting one that, so far at least, is worth exploring.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP Service Pack 3, Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent, 3 GB RAM, ATI or NVIDIA card w/512 MB RAM Video Card, DirectX 9.0, 3 GB available hard drive space, Direct X 9.0c sound device.

Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics


Test System:

Windows 8.1 64-bit, Intel i7-4770K 3.5GHz, 8 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 11

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