Game of Thrones: Episode One - Iron from Ice (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 27.12.2014

Review for Game of Thrones: Episode One - Iron from Ice on PlayStation 4

The first episode of Telltale Game's series based on the ridiculously popular works of George R. R. Martin is here at last. With other game adaptations based on this source material being very disappointing and lacklustre, fans hoped this would be the one to turn it all around.

Telltale has received massive acclaim for its recent episodic games, and rightly so. The storytelling of both The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us was exceptional, and the same goes for the more recent Tales from the Borderlands first episode release. Now Telltale is taking on the phenomenon that is "The Song of Ice and Fire," or "Game of Thrones" series. How will the two brands do together? Will this Telltale episodic meet the standards set by both its predecessors and the source material or could it even surpass them?

The pairing of Telltale and George R. R. Martin's world seem sa fantastic fit. Both place a heavy focus on narratives centred on the interactions between their characters. Both also create characters that the audience cares about and can relate to, and it is this aspect of the storytelling that makes their stories so engaging.

Telltale abandons the storytelling method used in previous games of following a single protagonist (though often with a sidekick character) and instead has adopted Martin's style from the books and TV show of following multiple leads or "Point of View" (POV) characters. The style works well and is useful for setting up what's going on in the different areas of the world while still centring the story on a single plot.

For this first episode, the scene is set around three playable characters, all related to House Forester, Bannermen to the Starks. First up is Gared Tuttle; although his family are only pig farmers, he acts as squire to Lord Forrester and the player is introduced to him in the camps of the Red Wedding… fans of the series can guess how well that goes for Gared. Second is Lord Ethan Forrester; only a young boy, Ethan finds himself the new head of his house while his father is off at war and must learn not only to take command of his people but to also make some hard decisions. Finally there is Lady Mira Forrester; handmaiden to Margaery Tyrell, Mira is serving Margaery in Kings Landing and has to navigate the political viper's nest that is one of the most popular aspects of the series. The game is set to follow these characters and more alongside the events of Season Three and Four of the show.

Speaking of the show, this game relies on the player having some knowledge of the series and the world, so the uninitiated will find some things confusing and it's certainly not a good idea to think of this as a way to get into Game of Thrones. Reading at least up to the fourth book or watching up to the fourth season would be wise before playing.

Screenshot for Game of Thrones: Episode One - Iron from Ice on PlayStation 4

While the Foresters haven't appeared in the TV show, they aren't original characters - they are mentioned in the books but do not play much of a prominent role. By focusing the story on them in this way it allows for an original and fluid story that the player can influence while still having some characters from the show involved. This aspect is done very well; each of the characters head to very prominent locations, resulting in some familiar faces (and voices) in this first episode, with more promised in the upcoming releases.

Using three characters in drastically different locales is a bold and big idea, too, with each having to deal with the consequences of the others' actions. It's too early to see if this pays off but it will be very interesting to see how the choices of each character can affect the others. For example, Mira has the option to try and petition for aid for her family early or to build alliances instead. How this plays out for the troubles her family face with their angry neighbours, the Whitehills, will show just how much player choice can affect the overall narrative.

Much like the books and TV show, the game focuses on the grey area: rarely is there a right answer and it's hard to predict the outcome of the choices. The result of the decisions made aren't very apparent in this episode, so waiting until further episodes to see just how the ramifications have affected the world is necessary.

Although this is a solid game, there are some negatives. The graphics occasionally jitter and backgrounds take a strange watery shaking effect that can be jarring. There is also no innovation in the core engine, reusing the same gameplay as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a game done well and the wheel doesn't need to constantly be remade.

Screenshot for Game of Thrones: Episode One - Iron from Ice on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although Game of Thrones: Episode One - Iron from Ice is yet to test new waters with its gameplay, the difference of multiple lead characters and their impact on the bigger world is very promising and it's going to be interesting to see how it pays off in future releases. As a standalone chapter, whilst a little narrative heavy and gameplay light, it's a great start that fans of Telltale and Martin's series will adore, capturing the tone of the source material perfectly.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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