Developer: TellTale Games
Publisher: TellTale Games
Rated: M for Mature
Release Date: December 2, 2014 (US)
Platform: Xbox One (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, Steam (Reviewed)
Originally, this was to be a joint review of TellTale’s Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice Episode 1 as Last Token Gaming’s first ever video review. Unfortunately, that plan ran into hiccups ranging from frame rate that would and speed up to stabilize,and visual glitches to most of the video containing spoilers (subtitles). Jake and I tried working through the hiccups to see if we could still meet the end goal, and we were unable to. With that said, we were able to use the audio for the review. We hope you enjoy this transcript-like review for TellTale’s Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice Episode 1!
Terry: So the big first question, what part of the series does this game take place in? The game takes place right at the end of the third book, and right at the end of the third season. If you don’t want to spoil anything for Game of Thrones, I wouldn’t recommend you playing this game. If you are following the series and know what’s going on, been following it from Day 1, then I recommend you playing this game.
Jake: Or if you don’t mind spoilers by all means play it!
Terry: One of the things people have been asking me, and to you I’m sure; what is the gameplay like?
Jake: Gameplay is very similar to the Walking Dead; there are parts you use your arrow keys to walk your character, prompts to click certain things, aspects where you have to have your character do certain things. However it’s definitely a game more narratively focused.
Terry: It’s more about the dialogue choices and how that affects the narrative. Personally, I think that’s what works perfectly for this game – that it forces you to focus more on the dialogue as choices more than anything else. That’s how Game of Thrones is to me, if you think about it – it’s about how witty and smart you are with choosing what you say. In terms of presentation and audio..presentation I liked it. Aside from the intro, I’m sure you have a lot to say about that Jake. [laughs]
Jake: Oh god, it’s definitely not rendered well enough. It’s like they could’ve done more with the intro to make it look less clunky. Definitely did not ring the same bell in a way I would have expected if they were going to do the intro.
Terry: What we mean by that is, if you watch the show, there’s this really cool opening where you can tell they put hundreds of thousands of dollars into making. With the TellTale engine…you can tell it pales in comparison.
Jake: Yeah, it looks like someone put in a couple hundred bucks into it.
Jake (cont.): That feels like a jab…just don’t let this deter you at all.
Terry: No, let that totally deter you! It’s the only reason to play the game! (/sarcasm) Visually the game looks pretty good…for the most part.
Jake: Like the palette style, the color style, it just fits so well within the world of Game of Thrones we’re so familiar with.
Terry: In terms of the audio, if you like the actors and actresses you’ve gotten to know like Cersei (Leah Headley) and Jaime (Peter Dinklage) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) they do a really good job of bringing the characters to life. And, of course, one of my favorites, Ramsay Snow!
Jake: Oh that bastard!
Terry: I don’t want to give away too much of who he is, or why we say that about him, you’ll find out if you play the game. Definitely does a good job with the audio, especially the music and sound quality for this game is top notch.
Terry: Let me ask you Jake, do you think this game stays faithful to the tone of Game of Thrones?
Jake: Absolutely, there are definitely quite a bit of ways the game stays faithful to the series. Like the TV show, they introduce many characters, and it also keeps the aspect of it where it’s challenging to keep track of all the characters. In this game, for example, you switch perspectives between Ethan Forrester (who just became a lord), Mira Forrester (who serves Lady Maergery), and Gared Tuttle (the squire for House Forrester) along with other characters they interact with and it’s a challenge to determine which character will serve later on in the story. Another thing to is, with many different dialogue choices, it definitely doesn’t justify one playthrough – you definitely have to play it over and over again to play out and see how they react to different choices.
Jake (cont): Another thing is how it stays faithful to the series, it definitely highlights the fact that (without spoilers) that the world of Westeros is never fair [laughs]. The fact that they kept the nature of the unpredictability of the world, you don’t know what’s going to happen with whatever you happen to say, it kept that unsettling feeling of unpredictability that the TV series captures so well.
Terry: What I want to expand on that is that it’s so hard to choose the dialogue choices and to say one is right over the other. Like with Walking Dead, I only played through Season One once and felt like I didn’t want to go through the different dialogue choices to see what the other outcomes were. It felt like there were only one or two paths. With Game of Thrones, there were so many ways to approach a situation that you had no idea how it was going to affect the narrative. That’s what I liked about it – was how hard to determine if I made the right choice? Did I make the right choice? So much to consider that weighs on every choice.
Jake: Funny thing about that too – each dialogue option has its own weight. I often tend to forget that silence is also an option. I realized that also carries the same amount of weight the other options do.
Terry: There are definitely moments where it feels like silence is the best thing to do because this is Game of Thrones and you’re going to screw yourself over.
Jake: Screw yourself, or your family over.
Terry: The voice acting was really good too.
Jake: Absolutely, seems like Peter Dinklage did a better job in this game than Destiny [laughs]. Even though it is the nature of a robot to be kind boring you could still tell Peter Dinklage put effort into his acting which is stellar.
Terry: Don’t want to start on that [laughs].
Jake: Moving on.
Terry: You could tell when a dialogue choice affected other characters. Like, for instance, when Mira is asking Margaery for help for her Mother…I realized I gave a way a little bit. However, you could tell that Magaery was weighing what you said, and could hear it in her voice acting. I feel like a lot of games don’t capture it as well as this does.
Jake: Nothing gives you a more unsettling feeling than hearing Cersei’s responses to your choices. Especially when it says “Cersei will remember that” [shudders].
Terry: Whenever I saw the “___ will remember that” it was like how boned am I with them? Honestly, as much as I love TellTale, there are always some technical hiccups.
Jake: Yes, technical hiccups. Definitely some bugs in the audios and in the visuals. Again, all of them, nothing game-breaking unlike some other games *cough* Sonic Boom *cough*.
Terry: One of the issues I had, especially with the Xbox One version, there were parts where it looked like it would go into focus and the other areas would go blurry like watercolor looking or palettes.
Jake: Didn’t happen to me. One thing I did notice, was with Gared Tuttle’s scene…when you were trying to walk around, there was this sort of lag during…wait during his visit with his uncle, there was some lag and then the framerate had to sped up for catching-up.
Terry: Overall, there are going to be technical hiccups in the game. Whether or not you download it or buy a physical copy.
Jake: There are no game-breaking bugs.
Terry: This segues into the ultimate question: Is it worth getting now? Or waiting until the whole season is out.
Jake: I feel like it all depends on the preference. Personally, I got the episode right when it came out, and I was intrigued by it. Honestly, it was a pleasant experience, and something I’d like to play at least two more times just to explore the dialogue choices. That alone says a lot about one episode in particular that lasts two-three hours long based on how you play it.
Terry: I’d agree, normally I’m someone who likes to wait for the whole Season. Like with Walking Dead, I felt like that benefited the game; with every episode, I wouldn’t have been asking questions if I bought it in the episodic content. With Game of Thrones, I was going “Holy crap! What can I do to change the narrative outcome?” and that’s telling of a game; when it can make you want to replay it. Ideally,five bucks for up to nine hours of the game if you replay it.
Jake: Absolutely. Seriously, get it; if you want to start asking questions, get an idea and infer on what ‘s going to happen next, it’s worth it. We’d both agree you can have a great time! Have a fun and pleasant experience!
Terry and Jake: Game on Gamers!