In recent years, developer Telltale Games has positioned itself at the forefront of AAA dilemma-based, narrative-driven video games. After taking their medicine via the less-than-successful Back to the Future and Jurassic Park episodic features, the studio learned from its mistakes and hit one out of the park with their Walking Dead series—a critical and commercial smash hit that focused on engaging characters, tough decisions, and a relentless story en route to becoming a critical and commercial smash hit.
With success came opportunity, and Telltale was given the reins to one of the hottest IPs in the market today—Game of Thrones. Prior gaming ventures into Westeros have generally been about as successful as Viserys Targaryen’s quest to reclaim the Iron Throne, but Telltale’s Walking Dead story-heavy formula seemed to be a tailor-made fit for ASOIAF. Does Game of Thrones finally have a worthy entry in the gaming-verse?
WARNING: here there be spoilers for those new to the show or books.
Episode 1, titled Iron From Ice, is set between seasons 3 and 4 of the TV show. The Red Wedding has just happened, and the Lannisters have effectively taken control of Westeros. The game puts the player in the shoes of three different characters from House Forrester, a minor House of the North that owes allegiance to the Starks. Lord Forrester and his eldest son have been slain in the Red Wedding fallout, leaving the House rudderless and vulnerable, and it’s up to you to determine its fate.
As is typical of Telltale games, gameplay consists of a series of conversation trees and quick time events, heavily sprinkled with difficult decisions, the consequences of which you will feel for the entirety of the game. You’ll meet familiar characters, verbally jousting with the likes of Tyrion, Cersei, and Margaery along the way, and bear witness to the Bastard of Bolton in his vicious, depraved element. Critical reception for the first episode has generally been positive, with reviewers praising the game’s smart storytelling, accurate world-building, and difficult choices. While short, the first episode is very much intended as an expository introduction for the remaining five, reviews indicate that the game succeeds in generating anticipation, excitement, and dismay in equal measures for future episodes to come.
Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice is available now on PC, Mac, PS3/4, and Xbox 360/One.
In other gaming news this week, Assassin’s Creed franchise heads to Victorian London, the Kingdom Hearts 2 remake hits consoles, and a new (sort of) Resident Evil nears. Read on!
- With the release of Kingdom Hearts 2.5: Remix this week, KH fans have a little something to tide themselves over with as the wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 continues.
- The next major entry in Ubisoft’s critically overextended Assassin’s Creed series, titled Victory, launches next year and will be set in Victorian London.
- Ubisoft put its foot in it again by witholding review copies of their newly-launched multiplayer racing game, The Crew, reportedly de to an effort to prefer the essence of the game.
- Batman: Arkham Knight is looking pretty damn good and makes me wish I could take the Batmobile out for a spin right this instant.
- Finally, Capcom has set a release date for their HD remake of Resident Evil. Raccoon City awaits…