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Game of Thrones: Episode One Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
December 2, 2014

Not being a huge “Game of Thrones” aficionado, I didn’t really know what to expect from the video game version. I did, however, know the following: Telltale Games has proven to be a premier developer in today’s industry, and an important one. Their focus on narrative and character development is precisely what this industry needs, beyond all else. I also know that Telltale strives to maintain the style and theme of any entertainment IP they choose to use for their next episodic series, which is why I’m convinced that what I’m seeing from Episode One – Iron From Ice is likely to satisfy fans of the show.

Because this developer’s emphasis is on the storytelling side, you might assume they sacrifice technical elements. After all, a budget only goes so far, right? But I’m always impressed with Telltale’s ability to deliver crisp, authentic, attractive visuals; the most recent example of their graphical expertise was Tales from the Borderlands: Episode One – Zer0 Sum . That proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Telltale knows what they’re doing. In Game of Thrones , we get excellent character detail, solid environmental design, and some nicely implemented special effects. No true bombastic set pieces but that’s okay.

The sound is a huge highlight primarily because we get the voices of many major characters. It’s much more effective to get the real actors, because it allows fans of the show to become easily immersed in the intense atmosphere. It’s the combination of these professional voice performances and the excellent soundtrack that makes the audio so damn invaluable. In truth, we’re telling a story here, and stories thrive on the sounds of the characters voices and the accompanying music. They add the right aura, a certain ambiance that enhances the experience. We get all of that here so I have very few complaints in this category.

Episode One begins with a bang: You’re faced with an absurdly difficult decision and it’s a decision you’ll remember throughout this opening adventure. At first, I thought the answer was obvious. But then, after sitting for a few moments and contemplating the possible repercussions of each choice, I considered and reconsidered at least three times. This sets the stage perfectly because it amps up the emotional and sentimental aspects right out of the gate, and it exemplifies the kinds of decisions you’ll have to make. House Forrester is in a dangerous political situation and it’s up to you to ensure your family’s legacy. This sounds stereotypical and even clichéd but really, there’s a lot more to the story.

The War of the Five Kings is beginning; five separate kings aspire to the Iron Throne and political tensions are through the roof. Just about everyone is at risk of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time, and losing status is almost as devastating as losing a life. When absolute power sits at the core, dark plots will inevitably arise. It’s like a Shakespearean tragedy with a dark fantasy twist, where loyalty and love are traded like playing cards. Throughout this compelling chapter, you’ll play as three members of House Forrester (these three will change in each episode) and you’ll be involved in all sorts of dramatic tête-à-têtes. Some of these will degrade into fights but of course, it’s only “fighting” in Telltale’s world.