Posted on December 1, 2014, Phil Hornshaw Game of Thrones: Ep. 1 – ‘Iron From Ice’ Review: Summary Execution
In perfect “Game of Thrones” fashion, the first episode of Telltale Games’ new series opens with death.
That is, a lot of death. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a well-loved lord is slain, his family in thrown into turmoil, danger lurks at every turn, and it’s impossible to know who to trust.
As far as replicating a tone, Telltale’s latest series pretty much nails it.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series’ first episode, “Iron From Ice,” is another incredibly strong start for the studio that’s become known for creating “parallel stories” within established fictional universes. Telltale does a phenomenal job of turning interactive what makes “Game of Thrones” so compelling on TV, exploring war, diplomacy and politics while constantly forcing players to wonder if their last choice was the right one.
Spoiler alert: I don’t think there is a right one.
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series – Episode 1: Iron From Ice
Platform: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: Dec. 2, 2014
MSRP: $4.99 (per episode), $29.99 (six-episode season)
Telltale has certainly earned its reputation for adaptations in the last few years, with the resounding success and critical acclaim for its adaptations of comic series The Walking Dead and Fables. Adapting “Game of Thrones” is something different, however — the show itself has a well-known tone and style, and the series has storylines that are playing out even now. Telltales’ The Wolf Among Us got around Fables’ continuity by creating an untold storyline in its past; The Walking Dead only has cursory intersections with the comic stories of the same name.
Game of Thrones, however, is set at the same time and in the same continuity as the show itself. It’s a parallel storyline similar to The Walking Dead, in that it concerns original characters in the same universe (the family of the game only gets a passing mention in the novels “Game of Thrones” adapts), but the lives of these characters interact at least somewhat closely with major players from the show. Characters like Margaery Tyrell, Cersei and Tyrion Lannister and Ramsay Bolton figure heavily in Iron From Ice, and their presence makes this the most ambitious Telltale project yet.
The most important thing for Telltale to get right in making a “Game of Thrones” game is making it feel true to the show, and Iron From Ice is on remarkably good footing after its two-hour runtime. The game concerns House Forrester, a minor family of Northern bannerman for House Stark, some of the major protagonists in the show. Iron From Ice picks up during some of the events of the third season of “Game of Thrones,” when the Forresters are suddenly facing potential destruction in the War of the Five Kings.
Like the show, the game follows several characters, and players take control of them in various scenes. There’s Gared, a Forrester squire who suddenly finds himself in serious trouble; Ethan, the third-born Forrester son who is forced to quickly grow up and take on major responsibility; and Mira, a Forrester daughter who serves as Margaery’s handmaiden in King’s Landing and around whom dangerous machinations are starting to take shape.