Warning this review contains spoilers for the books and TV show, in-game spoilers however have been kept to a minimum.

It’s hard not to see the joining of Telltale’s well established formula of character driven point and click games, and the much loved Game of Thrones series as a match made in heaven. With great characters, political intrigue and plenty of violence, it was only a matter of time before Westeros got the Telltale treatment. Introducing a cast of new characters as they weave their way through a whole heap of trouble, we get to see how big events in the series affect those who aren’t main characters. Acting as a side story to the main events of the books and picking up the story from the events of the Red Wedding, Game of Thrones – A Telltale Series is high class fanfiction, letting you see the Westeros from a different perspective.

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The game follows the story of House Forrester, a minor house barely ever mentioned in the books and never shown in the show. Going from loyal banner men of Robb Stark, to traitors to King Joffrey after the treachery of the Red Wedding. The once proud northern house is forced to adapt to great change and tyrannical rulers. In the first episode you play as three different new characters, all with ties to house Forrester. Gared, a Forrester squire, Ethan Forrester, third son of the now dead Lord Forrester and successor to his title  and Mira Forrester, eldest daughter of the Forrester clan. Each character seems interesting enough, Gared is forever honour bound to do what is asked of him, Ethan is forced to grow up in a position he was never meant for, while Mira learns the ins and outs of political intrigue at Kings Landing. While each is likable in their own way  it’s hard to shake the feeling that they are facsimiles of other established characters. Mira’s story is similar to Sansa Stark’s, trapped in Kings Landing by the actions of her northern family. While Ethan is a young boy in a man’s world like Bran Stark but without the kick ass Dire Wolf. There are hints of more characters to join the roster, another Forrester who sounds like a badass and looks like Chris Pratt is one I am particularly looking forward to seeing. But the characters will need room to grow if they are to be at all distinguishable from other, better characters.

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The new cast is joined by Game of Thrones veterans such as Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, voice acted by their show counterparts. Peter Dinklage slightly redeems himself from his lackluster performance in Destiny but isn’t used to great effect, instead making one liners which amount to a sassy “Oh no she didn’t.” Iwan Rheon however is brilliant as the ever malevolent Ramsay Snow, who has already left his mark on my play through. Natalie Dormer as the cunning Margaery Tyrell is a constant presence in Mira’s story, and everything revolves around her decisions, leading me to feel you could have a lot more fun as Margaery and not one as her handmaiden.

The times when you do come across a recognizable character are enjoyable but seem to have taken all of the writers attention, leaving the rest of the unknown supporting cast as a assortment of bland and tired cliches. As Ethan you’re constantly asked questions by one of your father’s old advisers. One is a gruff soldier, eager for bloodshed and the other is a calm diplomat. The two are almost constantly bickering over what to do, giving you the inevitable choice of whose plan to go with. At times their conflict feels forced, with both acting as petulant children if they don’t get their own way. Anyone who is around Gared promptly dies so he’s left with no one to talk to, and Mira is surrounded by the entire royal court so we already know who and what their motivations are.

The actual game play itself is what we’ve come to expect of a Telltale game, with dialogue and conversation choices making up the bulk of what you’ll be doing. There are some small areas in which you’re allowed to roam and investigate your surroundings, but all options lead to cutscenes. At times you’re given the option to take certain objects with you for use later on, after all you never know when you may need healing herbs and bandages (probably a lot). Action heavy scenes are done in the typical quick time events we’ve seen before, with instant death awaiting if you bugger it up. The opening few minutes are rather action heavy, with you having to avoid all manner of sharp things. Button prompts are well telegraphed, but the arrows that are meant to denote movement can sometimes be lost in the action, leading to a few times where my character ran face first into a crossbow bolt.

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Telltale’s first steps into the land of Westeros are clumsy but show promise. With the one or two stand out moments coming from old characters, I began to worry that Ice from Iron was simply bad fanfiction, with the writers giving all the best bits to their favorite characters. It is such a pity that none of the new characters stand out much yet, given how similar they are to members of the Stark Family. Mira could become a very interesting character given time away from the big names of the series. The story of house Forrester is one I’ll be happy to follow, but we’ll need to see more of the Forresters and not just the people they happen to meet for the series to be truly interesting. Lack luster but with room to improve, you may want to hold off buying the game until more episodes are released and the narrative develops.

Game Of Thrones - A Telltale Series Episode 1: Ice From Iron Review
Pros
  • Promising start for the series
  • Ramsey Snow is terrifying
  • Mira could become a great protagonist
Cons
  • New characters initally seem bland
  • Over reliance on established characters
  • Difficult to get in for Game of Thrones beginners
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

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All round song and dance man. Best known for his use of expletives, casual quoting of Jeeves & Wooster and his love for all things Timesplitters. Host of the Played Out Podcast and proud victim of five different gypsy curses

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  • Somnium

    The episode is actually called Iron From Ice. Otherwise great review on which I agree with most of the points you made.