Friday, December 5, 2014

The Shit Gamer’s Review – ‘Game of Thrones’ (Episode 1)

As I have indicated on this blog before I am a bit of a fan of Telltale Games (‘The Walking Dead’, ‘The Wolf Among Us’), so I was pleasantly surprised to learn this week that they had released Episode 1 of a new ‘Game of Thrones’ series. Since I am spending most of my days this month sitting around the house in preparation for my newborn’s next scream, I downloaded it and gave it a go.

‘Episode 1: Iron From Ice’ takes place towards the end of Season 3 of the TV show – readers of the books can fill in where it takes place in that series. You play as three characters related to House Forrester, a Northern family that has been fighting on the side of the Starks. Most of the story takes place around the Forresters’ home, but some of it also takes place in King’s Landing, where we see a few of the familiar faces from the show. The Boltons too have a substantial presence in this first episode, with the Forresters having to make some difficult choices about where their loyalties lie.

I think most fans of the show would like this game, as long as you are expecting politicking and intrigue and not sword-swinging combat. As I have said before, Telltale Games work for me as a more involving way of storytelling rather than as ‘games’ in the usual sense. As much as the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series might make you flinch when a favourite character looks to be in trouble, there is another level of tension when it is potentially YOUR head on the chopping block. When I was told I had to appeal to notorious hard-ass Cersei Lannister I was slightly petrified as the great doors to the throne room opened.

Most of this episode is set-up and introduction, though in true ‘Game of Thrones’ fashion it ends with a cliffhanger that will make some players go ‘WTF?’ As always with Telltale Games, it will be interesting to see how the choices made here will influence the choices down the track. I was actually in the minority of players in terms of what I did for most of the major choices – it seems others preferred to be more supplicant to those in power whereas I leant more towards loyalty and occasionally giving the bastards the middle finger. (It may turn out the majority were smart.)

For a good review of this game, I recommend the Wired review, but warning: it has MAJOR SPOILERS!     

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