When Telltale Games released The Walking Dead game series in 2012, it was my favorite game of that year. The story was a side story from the popular graphic novel and TV series, and the story was brilliant. I really enjoyed the fact that whatever decision you make in the game it impacts the outcome of the overall story.
One of my favorite TV shows out there is the Game of Thrones on HBO, based on the A Song of Fire and Ice novel series by George R. R. Martin. Once again the storytelling in that series is top notch, and the characters are extremely diverse and well established. It was no surprise that when I had heard that Telltale Games was going to produce a game version of A Game of Thrones, I was beyond excited. Altus had released A Game of Thrones video games back in 2012, but it got mediocre reviews and didn’t live up to the franchise.
Telltale Games had approached HBO about the concept of creating their own series of A Game of Thrones, and after years of negotiations the first episode “Iron from Ice” (of six planned total episodes) was released on December 2nd, 2014.
The game is a side story that is placed concurrently with the HBO TV series, from the end of the third season to just prior to the fifth season. You control five members or servants of House Forrester; three which are playable in the first episode. House Forrester was briefly mentioned in the novel A Dance with Dragons, but not yet mentioned in the TV series, and is loyal to the House Stark. In total the game will feature thirteen new original characters including:
- Lord Gregor Forrester (Robin Atkin Downes), the head of House Forrester and loyal to the Starks.
- Lady Elissa Forrester (Lara Pulver), the matriarch of House Forrester that vows to prevent the destruction of her family as had fallen to her birth family, House Branfeld.
- Rodrik Forrester, the first-born son of the House and its heir, with a prominent military background.
- Mira Forrester (Martha Mackintosh), the eldest daughter of the House, who serves as a handmaiden to Margaery Tyrell. She is one of the five playable characters.
- Talia Forrester (Molly Stone), the second-eldest daughter, who is gifted with a talented voice.
- Ethan Forrester (Christopher Nelson), Talia’s twin, the third-born son, a scholarly boy. He is one of the five playable characters.
- Ryon Forrester (Louis Suc), the youngest son of the House.
- Asher Forrester, the second-born son of the House who has been exiled to Essos. He is one of the five playable characters.
- Maester Ortengryn (David Franklin), a Maester of the Citadel serving House Forrester.
- Ser Royland Degore (Brian George), an experienced military leader that serves as the master-at-arms for the House.
- Duncan Tuttle (Robin Atkin Downes), a good friend of Lord Forrester whom he now serves as castellan
- Gared Tuttle (Daniel Kendrick), squire to Lord Forrester and nephew to Duncan. He is one of the five playable characters.
- Malcolm Branfeld (J. B. Blanc), brother of Lady Forrester and, with her, the only surviving members of House Branfeld.
Similar to The Walking Dead game series, and other games by Telltale Games, A Game of Thrones’ story is affected by the choices you make in the game. When jumping between different characters, one choice by one character can impact the outcome of the other’s. The first episode takes about and hour in a half to complete, and I’ve played it three times using different choices. It’s really cool to see how some choices can heavy influence the story.
The new characters are great to see, and the game does feature characters seen in the TV series as well and voiced by the same actors. For example, the first episode features visits by Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Margery Tyrell and Ramsey Snow. There are also important moments in the game where your decision is key to the outcome of the story and future episodes. It’s really interesting going back and playing it again with different choices and seeing how it affects the story. The replay value for Episode 1 “Iron from Ic” is extremely high.
Unfortunately the game doesn’t leave much time to decide which choices to make, and there were moments that the timer ran out on me, leaving me a little frustrated. I was also surprised at the lack of exploration and fighting in the first episode. Unlike The Walking Dead or even The Wolf Among Us series where you can walk around and explore, and even have moments where you’re fighting someone, in the first Iron from Ice, those moments are few. The game is heavily based so far on your decisions, and it’s like watching an episode of A Game of Thrones where you choose your own path. There is some fighting at the beginning, but not much after that. The game is extremely story focused.
Overall the story for the first episode Iron from Ice well makes up for any of the lack of exploration and fighting so far. I give this first episode an 8/10, and I really look forward to the next five episodes that will come out with this series. The ending will certainly surprise you, and the stats at the end comparing the choices you made compared to others who have played is facinating. I recommend it and think the replay value is well worth the $5 that it cost.
Iron from Ice is currently available for Android, iOS/OS X, PSN, Steam/Windows and XBLA. For more information about A Game of Thrones by Telltale Games check out their website here.
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