Game of Thrones: Episode 1 – Iron From Ice Review

GOT IRON from Ice: Political intrigue in the Seven Kingdoms

Even if you have never watched “Game of Thrones”, you still roughly know that it is a series where intricate intrigues are being plotted and someone is constantly dying. Even if you have never encountered the works of Telltale Games, you are likely aware that these are games consisting entirely of impressive twists and nonlinear storytelling.

And you surely understand why Game of Thrones in their execution is inherently very cool.

Here we must emphasize the obvious: it is strongly recommended to familiarize yourself with the source material before playing. Telltale primarily appeals to the audience of the HBO series and assumes that you already have a minimum cultural baggage of having watched three seasons. Otherwise, playing the game will only give you a persistent feeling of confusion and a huge pile of spoilers for the main storyline. Believe me, there is no greater sin than finding out about the “Red Wedding” before its time.

Judge: Making crucial decisions in Westeros

Meanwhile, our story begins with her. The focus, however, shifts towards House Forrester, who, after losing the support of the long-suffering Starks, find themselves embroiled in conflicts of no lesser magnitude. After a brutal punishment of the head of the house and his eldest son, the enemies set their sights on the source of the strongest timber in the entire kingdom – the Ironwood groves, protected by the Forresters for generations. It seems that the very existence of the house is now under threat, so it’s time to fight back.

The story is told from the perspective of three characters, which is atypical for Telltale, but perfectly in line with the spirit of “Game of Thrones”. In this way, the authors skillfully balance between action scenes and measured dialogue, deftly switching from one hero to another. Faithful squire Gared, for example, wields his sword and hides in the woods more often than anyone else; young Ethan Forrester, forced to take on the responsibilities of lord, is making hasty preparations to meet the enemy; and Mira, his sister in King’s Landing, carefully uses her position as a handmaiden in Margaery Tyrell’s retinue to help her family.

Cersei: Navigating the dangerous court of Cersei Lannister

Of course, well-known faces regularly appear on screen. The characters actively interact with the participants of George Martin’s epic, whose appearance and voices are taken straight from the TV show. Moreover, the screen favorites in the game are not just walking landmarks – each of them takes an active part in the further development of the plot. Although many of us will be satisfied with the chance to excitedly squeal upon seeing a polygonal Peter Dinklage, right?

Moreover, there is no feeling that you are playing some convoluted fanfic. The Forresters, who were only briefly mentioned in the original universe, fit perfectly into the events and look worthy alongside familiar characters. The timeline also does not disrupt the natural course of events shown in the series, so the game deserves the title of a full-fledged spin-off to the last one.

The whole picture gives exactly the impression you expect from an interactive GoT. There is plenty of brutal killings, underground conspiracies, and personal experiences of the characters – in general, everything that has been fueling the interest of sensitive viewers and readers for many years. Passions boil, conversations are held, deaths occur. Often – as a result of our actions.

Where, without a classic revolution of the fate of defeated enemies

Where would we be without the classic retribution of defeated enemies?

But the far-reaching consequences of their decisions cannot be assessed yet – after all, this is only the first episode of the season. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how many alternative storylines there are, because the choices made throughout the episode seem quite significant.

The familiar serial foundation of Telltale projects, by the way, has shot up even more. “Game of Thrones” is already known for its ruthless treatment of the entire cast, and in this case, the excitement is off the charts. After all, the fate of your wards, it seems, is in your hands, and who knows how soon heads will roll for a careless remark. Oh, this Westeros.

It is also interesting that the visual part has changed to match the atmosphere. Despite the recognizable graphic style of the studio’s previous games, the image has lost its “comic” cel-shading in favor of realism – now dark tones and gloomy (almost always bearded) faces in gloomy interiors are in favor. For some reason, they are constantly distorted by strange blurring.

The characters strive to remember all your actions. Even those who will die the next instant

Your actions strive to remember absolutely all the characters. Even those who will die in the next moment.

The technical side of the issue often makes itself known here. If the game looks great in screenshots, then in motion you have to close your eyes, first of all, to the terrible animation. Brutal wars march with a wooden gait of extras from the very first episode of The Walking Dead, and secondary characters barely move their mouths, pretending to have intense emotions – you can still tolerate such things, but it’s time to change something.

An update to the gameplay wouldn’t hurt either. As always, the whole gameplay is built on a series of dialogues, QTEs of various variations, and short walks around the location, which gradually become less and less important. Although the authors introduce new amusements systematically, repeatedly pressing the Q button with the obligatory E at the end of the scene is starting to get a little annoying.

Fortunately, the captivating storytelling still prevails over any technical shortcomings. You want to protest at the sight of worn-out mechanics and relentlessly aging graphics, but it again comes down to the realization that you will sit through all six episodes with your mouth open anyway. Iron From Ice opens the way to another promising story, this time for a slightly narrower audience. Fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” should pay the closest attention. Fans of Telltale games should start by figuring out why Walder Frey throws bad banquets.

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series
PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Adventure, Quest
Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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