August 13, 2015

Game of Thrones: Iron From Ice Thoughts & Impressions

The game of Game of Thrones. By Telltale Games. Of thrones.

Release Date: December 2014

Developer/Publisher: Telltale Games

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android, OS X, Windows

Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure

Thoughts & Impressions:

Episode 1: In "Stark" contrast to the rest of Telltale', Game of Thrones Iron from Ice actually doesn't start with a bang or with an incredible first episode. 

Instead, we get a very subdued and somewhat muted first episode, focusing on introducing characters and creating political intrigue. This might just be my ignorance of the franchise as a whole speaking, but it doesn't add any real tension, until the very end of the episode.

The characters are likeable and somewhat interesting. They're easy to sympathise with, however, they're not given much to do in this first episode, beyond facing a few tough decisions.
All in all, I'm sceptical how this new series will fare. But, Telltale Games has surprised me several times in the past, so here's hoping they'll do so again. 

Episode 2: Wow, I sure was lazy with this Content Rundown, wasn't I? Besides that, let's take a look at Episode 2. Honestly, I can see why Game of Thrones is intriguing to some people, and not because of the rampant nudity and sexual content, of course.

The political intrigue is...well, intriguing, the interweaving stories of the ever-growing characters are compelling, and the atmosphere of Westeros is quite memorable.

With that said, however, it does take quite some time to actually get going. Only at the tail-end of the episode do we finally get a direction and goal for the story, which is rather frustrating when you realise that it took two episodes to get to this point.

I'm not saying it's bad. Far from it. But it needs to get a solid direction soon, one which I'm sure Telltale Games will eventually take. Let's just hope they do it soon. 

Episode 3: It is this point when Kyle realised, that he'd been a rather daft fellow, and closed his laptop and wandered out to sea, silently contemplating the lie that he'd lived.

The third instalment in Iron From Ice doesn't have a lot happening. Some people pitch up in a castle, alliances are formed, characters are tested, and a dragon pops in to say hello a few times.

What does happen, however, is that our connection to the existing characters is deepened immensely. This instalment made me care. If this game can continue the subdued yet steady pace of this instalment, it will be a home run.

My favourite character moment is a brilliant piece of writing and voice acting, with an injured character rising up to an attacker several times in an act of courage. Not only did this make me like the character so much more, it was just such an epic character moment which wouldn't have had this much of an impact had it not have been for the build-up to it.

All in all, Episode 3 knocks it out of the park. I'm excited to see what happens in future instalments, and have faith in Telltale Games to deliver on all fronts. 

Episode 4: Tensions are high in the always intriguing Iron From Ice series.

Players are forced to make tough decisions in the newest episode, after being thrown into perilous situations with uncomfortable outcomes. Loyalties are tested, and courage is shown...depending on the player.

While the choices are still skin-deep thus far, the multiple outcomes are still very interesting and may surprise players as they continue their journey through the saga of House Forrestor. You may find yourself replaying certain sections to see just how different the scenes are compared to each other, thus making them compelling, if not entirely game-changing yet. (Pun fully intended.)

The weakest aspect of this newest instalment, however, is the cliffhanger. We knew one was coming, sure, but the note it ended on felt like the end of a scene instead of the end of an episode. Telltale better bring out the next episode fast in order to bridge the gap and keep up the pace. 

Let's hope the rather average cliffhanger leads to great new character moments in the next episode.

Episode 5: A step up from the previous episode, Game of Thrones Iron from Ice still finds itself sitting with too little action, too little character development, and too little plotlines being resolved.

The newest instalment doesn't deliver anything really impactful, save from the choice-driven finale, which should make for an interesting situation in the next instalment.

And that's where the problem lies with Episode 5. There are too many plotlines that all hinge on one tuning in for Episode 6. By itself, Episode 5 isn't great, but one should probably reserve judgement until this episodic series reaches it's conclusion in Episode 6.

So with that said, we can only sit and wait...

Episode 6: Well, that was a bit underwhelming. While a lot of character arcs reach a mildly satisfying conclusion, there's too many threads left hanging for this to neatly wrap up the story of House Forrester.

It's obvious that Telltale wants to make a sequel somewhere down the line, but the choices made in the finale lack any kind of real impact, knowing that this is not the last you'll see of these characters. This series should only have lasted one season, and the story should've been more closed off. But it's not, and now we have an unfortunately incomplete story.

Complaints aside, not all is bad. The storylines, unresolved as they are, are still very interesting. The characters still resonate, and the emotional moments still have an impact. They just have a reduced impact, as mentioned before.

So at the end of the day, Game of Thrones Iron From Ice may be a worthy series for die-hard GOT fans. For the rest of us, however, we may find more entertainment in Telltale's other series, namely The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands.

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