WotW Reviews Telltale’s “Game of Thrones”

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The Thrones-verse grew a little yesterday with the release of the first episode of Telltale Games’ first foray into Westeros. The game which tells the story of House Forrester, a minor house pledged to the Starks, allows players to take their own crack at Westerosi politics, as Dan Connors, CEO and co-founder of Telltale Games, explains:
“Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series will expand upon a world already epic in scope and detail, giving fans of the franchise an opportunity to forge their own path as they interact with characters they know from the TV show, and new ones from House Forrester and beyond.”
Like so many red-blooded Thrones addicts, our own Blaqfyre devoured the first episode yesterday. Her review of the game is after the jump!

Ever since Telltale announced the making of a Game of Thrones video game, I have been a bit skeptical- even despite their success with games like The Walking Dead and A Wolf Among Us.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am no true expert when it comes to video games, but the RPG Game of Thrones experience that came out in 2012 left a sour taste in my mouth. This is coming from someone who’s primary gaming experience revolves around games such as the Batman: Arkham Series, Far Cry and, heck, even the Lego games. So, when I finally took the plunge to play the first episode: Iron From Ice, it was my first Telltale game experience…ever. And I will tell you this:

It. Was. Awesome.
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For the longest time, I thought that a perfect GoT game would be a basic hack and slash with some pretty graphics, and, well, something that wouldn’t have the show and HBO branded all over it. But I have never been more wrong (okay that’s a lie, but still).

If you’re unfamiliar with Telltale Games as I was, it’s a story-driven journey where the choices you make are remembered through the game, ultimately leading to different outcomes and endings. With all the stories within ASOIAF, it was absolutely satisfying to be making decisions in the world we are all so familiar with, and at the same time, learning of different houses and seeing different perspectives of characters that we don’t get in the show or the books. There was no need for any sort of violence or action, yet they still give you a bit in their own original way.

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What was even more satisfying was that despite the familiar characters and places, you kind of forget that you are playing a Game of Thrones game until, suddenly, your character is in a meeting with Cersei, or, to my surprise, your character begins to hear ‘The Rains of Castamere’ playing within the walls of the Twins.

Telltale gives you a game focused on a family that you immediately begin to fall in love with. The characters you play aren’t the big names, and just as well, because it allows the player to explore a world that’s never really focused on in the show.

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And did I mention the voice acting? Gods, it is wonderful. And, just in case you’re wondering (as I was), about main characters like Cersei, Tyrion, and Margaery- they are ALL voiced by the show’s actors. Which, if you’ve played television/movie based video games before, you will already know that is a rarity.
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I am still shocked at how much I enjoyed playing the first episode. I didn’t know how stressful it was going to be making some of the decisions it asks of you, but it was exactly what a GoT game needed. Without spoiling the characters or situations for you guys, I’ll just make note that the twists and surprises that happen within the game are just as jaw-dropping as those found in the books (and on the show). Telltale’s style is unique, and I cannot wait until the next episode comes out. In the meantime, I’ll be playing it over again to see all of the endings.

Finally, I’ll be damned if I don’t say that playing this game has done well to fill the void of an off-season fan.

Shylah: EW reported earlier today that more characters from the show will be making their way into the Telltale game, including Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen- voiced by Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke respectively.

The season premiere episode is on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store, Steam, and other digital distribution services, on the PlayStationNetwork for PlayStation 4, and on the Xbox Games Store for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The series will also be coming to compatible iOS devices via the App Store on Thursday, December 4th and to Android-based devices later this month.

54 responses

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    1. Hmm … as to different endings, I’m a little bit sceptical. These games are not as branching as one would hope :/

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    2. Hear Marko Roar,

      Yep, this is my main worry too. But after TWD Season 2’s completely different endings I’m slightly more hopeful than before… even though the journey to get to that last decision has no lasting consequences anyway.

        Quote  Reply

    3. It’s great to see this game getting so much praise. I played episode 1 last night and definitely agree with everything in this review. Telltale has been on a winning streak lately of excellent games, even Tales from the Borderlands has impressed me more than I expected. I am glad they can keep that going with Game of Thrones under their belt now.

      My only hope is that we don’t have to wait more than a month between episodes. If they release an episode a month we should finish Season 1 of the game during the airing of Season 5 of the TV show, which will tie things together nicely.

      Over the course of 6 game episodes, the game spans from the Red Wedding all the way to Season 5 in the timeline, but we don’t know how far it gets into Season 5. Since Episode 2 of the game will include Daenerys and Jon Snow, it’s possible we could witness events in Meereen and the Wall from Season 4 and 5.

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    4. Hear Marko Roar,

      Yes the endings are the same. Telltale does a good job of introducing percieved control of the character. However, you end up at the same endpoint, you just take a slightly different route to get there.

      Still, my interaction with Cersei was nerveracking as you have to think quick on your feet before time expires

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    5. I’m glad I know that there aren’t really other endings! Sorry about that, I suppose it would be pointless to replay it now for that reason. But I agree, that last part killed me and I wish the outcome could have been different!

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    6. Turncloak:
      Hear Marko Roar,

      Yes the endings are the same. Telltale does a good job of introducing percieved control of the character. However, you end up at the same endpoint, you just take a slightly different route to get there.

      Still, my interaction with Cersei was nerveracking as you have to think quick on your feet before time expires

      I was amazed how much in character Cersei was written. It was like the real Cersei but then made up by other people, that means they did a great job on it.

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    7. I maintain that [TWD Season 1 spoilers]

      “Carley will remember that”

      was Telltale’s greatest moment in terms of consequence and player investment. I won’t be able to play GoT until next week, but if anything involved can dumbfound me even nearly as much as that did, I’ll be delighted.

      On another note… while I’m hyped for Tales from the Borderlands too, I really hope the situation doesn’t become another mess like TWD Season 2 and TWAU being released simultaneously. By the way, are the usual Telltale letdowns prevalent in GoT? Stuttering/load times/shit frame rate etc.?

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    8. Turncloak,

      They also need a better attitude to their customers post-release.

      I hypocritically say this after impulse buying all of their season passes on Day 1 since Back to the Future.

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    9. Bard,

      I think we will see a much more interesting Ramsay in season 5. Really liked the Ramsay scenes in the game. If video game directors can do that much with him, then D&D should be able to write better/improved material for him as well especially as he gets more screentime.

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    10. So, is Deepwood Motte in the game? 😉

      Should be playing soon. Too many distractions this week. Does it play smoothly without a high-end graphics card installed in a laptop?

      I’m surprised that the fanfic boobirds haven’t come out in force about this, like they did with TWoI&F in October.

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    11. Bard,

      The game begins at the end of Season 3, and the first episode doesn’t go much beyond that. Even by the last episode, the story’s climax will only coincide with the end of Season 4. So, no, there are no spoilers.

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    12. I have now played through episode 1 four times (the max amount of save slots) to see how much impact my different decisions would actually have. So far that impact = 0. Episode 1 plays out pretty much exactly the same no matter what you do in the game. I will hold my final judgement until all of the episodes are out. It would be pretty cool if decisions made early in episode 1 can have a big impact in the future episodes. However if my decisions continue to have no real consequences in a game that is entirely about decisions then I will consider this to be a flop. It would be unfair if I didn’t also mention that the story up until this point is still really good! It’s just if my decisions don’t do anything then I’m really just watching a GOT animated series not playing a video game.

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    13. Bard,

      As for spoilers there is a big one. Did you know Westeros has coal? This whole time they have been on the verge of an industrial revolution and GRRM never let us know!

      -In case it was missed I’m being sarcastic. This seems to be more of a writing goof than an actual spoiler.

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    14. Oh man, and I won’t be able to play it before the weekend, sigh…

      But Thank You for the great review!

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    15. Just yet began to watch a Let’s Play (Any other Germans here? Sarazar is playing it), and it looks really freaking awesome!
      Can’t wait to play it by myself!

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    16. I actually enjoyed the GoT rpg a couple years ago.

      I’m interested in this, but am a little unsure how to get it. I have an Xbox 360. Do I just download it? How much does it cost, and what is the average game play length?

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    17. Lex,

      I’m glad you did! And you should be able to purchase it on the Xbox online store and download/install it from there. The first episode is $4.99 and it took me roughly an hour and a half to get through it. Hope this helped!

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    18. Turncloak,

      I definitely can’t believe I spent 30 dollars now!

      Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series
      29.99 USD

      Subtotal:
      29.99 USD

      Tax:
      0.00 USD

      Total:
      29.99 USD

      Payment Info:

      MasterCard ending with ****
      29.99 USD

      I got skanked!

        Quote  Reply

    19. ctid,

      That looks like it’s probably for the season pass. Especially since it says:

      : Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series
      29.99 USD

      Instead of Episode 1.

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    20. King Tyrion:
      Bard,

      As for spoilers there is a big one. Did you know Westeros has coal? This whole time they have been on the verge of an industrial revolution and GRRM never let us know!

      -In case it was missed I’m being sarcastic. This seems to be more of a writing goof than an actual spoiler.

      Coal was actually already used in ancient Europe and China. The industrial revolution was more a consequence of the need to mine coal deeper due to deforestation than to the use of coal (at least, that was one of the many factors). It was mostly brown coal (lignite) that was used in the early days, and it was shunned as much as possible because it was more polluting than charcoal.

      Anyhow, I’ve just finished the game yesterday. It’s quite awesome, and I don’t mind that the ending was predetermined. I kind of always had that feeling, due to the specific characters involved. Probably some decisions will heavily impact the other chapters.

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    21. They really didn’t try to hide the similarities between the Forrester family and the Starks, did they.

      A Northern lord marries a Southron lady (who even looks a bit like Cat) and has six children – the eldest is a strong leader and fighter, although he and his father both die; then another swordsman who has exiled himself from the family (and who I assume will spend time with his uncle); a northern girl becoming accustomed to southron ways, separated from her family and caught up in the politics of King’s Landing; a young boy left behind to rule his family’s lands which are then attacked; and the youngest son who’s just a little kid/potential bargaining chip. It’s only Talia that doesn’t seem to match up that much with Arya, although she did mention she’d been taught how to use a sword.

      Also calling it now –

      although it was sort of implied that we saw both Gregor and Rodrik Forrester die at the Twins, I reckon there will be a reveal in a later episode that one of them is actually still alive and being held by the Boltons as a prisoner. Perhaps it depends on whether or not you saved Bowen at the start.

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    22. Schrödinger’s Cat:
      They really didn’t try to hide the similarities between the Forrester family and the Starks, did they.

      Also calling it now –

      I don’t think that is going to happen as house forrester declared for Stannis Baratheon, they wouldn’t do it if one of them is held prisoner. I think it’s most likely that Asher becomes head of the house once he has returned

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    23. Schrödinger’s Cat:
      davy,

      They informed all houses after the red wedding, a prisoner is a bargaining chip, if the other side doesn’t know you have him/her then the bargaining chip is absolutely useless. If they had one of their familiy members it would have been revealed prior to them declaring for Stannis or shortly after

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    24. I have to say, I’m a little confused at the skepticism towards the series and the effects of choices, but I think that comes from a bias towards endings in how people feel about the works they experience. The best of Telltale tends to Diamond with decisions. The first episode and last episode tend to be mostly the same for everyone else, but in the middle of the series a lot of your choices are rattling around effecting your experience of the game. It’s this manner of storytelling that effects whether people hated or loved Kenny from the Walking Dead because your decisions determined whether you are friends or if he is a jerk. That’s a very different takeaway from one player to the next. In this game you make decisions about other people that have immediate consequences to them, and will probably have medium consequences moving forward. The second Walking Dead did have multiple endings, so it’s possible that it may have a Diamond with open ended branches at the end. Either way, Telltale has proven how to make a great gaming experience, despite any minor quibbles I may have in playing them.

      I’ve only just passed the middle of the episode, so I am looking forward to the rest because I love the game already.

        Quote  Reply

    25. ctid:
      Turncloak,

      I definitely can’t believe I spent 30 dollars now!


      Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series
      29.99 USD

      Subtotal:
      29.99 USD

      Tax:
      0.00 USD

      Total:
      29.99 USD

      Payment Info:

      MasterCard ending with ****
      29.99 USD

      I got skanked!

      yes u did. Might as well by all the episodes individually you’d pay the same price 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    26. I’m really not a gamer at all, but as this was GoT-related, I’ thought I would give it a shot, especially given the good reviews it was getting. And I have to say I really enjoyed it. It felt like it was a based in the GoT world, rather than having some tenuous link, albeit this is in part due to the show cast appearing.

      I thought this introduction did a very good job of fleshing out the characters, and I really felt I knew them by the end. The pace wad a little slow at times, but it was a first episode, and it will no doubt pick up. I’m really pleased I decided to give it a go and I was really only 50/50, but it was well worth it, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. If other people are unsure I would definitely recommend giving it a go, and it is something to fill the GoT void until S5 begins.

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    27. JP Johnson,

      I like what you said about Kenny in the Walking Dead. People whining about choices not mattering in Telltale games always seem to be focusing on the wrong things to me. Perhaps the endings don’t always show tons of variation but the journey most definitely does. I watched my wife complete the first episode of the GOT game last night after I did it the night before and her story definitely had scenes play out differently.

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    28. Lollius Palicanus,

      My reference to an industrial revolution was just a joke. I just did a double take when I got introduced to the one of the Red Keep’s “Coal Boys” since coal has never been mentioned before in the GOT universe. It just seemed like an odd writing choice when the series has so many pot boys, pages, squires, servents etc that the boy could have identified himself as. But for some reason this filthy coal boy goes around making sure each room is stocked up on coal… to burn in the harth? Now I sound like a crazy nitpicker lol

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    29. When I found out that Ramsay Bolton was going to visit Ironwrath I pretty much knew

      that Ethan was going to die, somehow, some way.

      Other than that I’m pretty excited for the next episodes!

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    30. Game spoilers

      That maester is totally a traitor, and I think it will matter if you told him about the grove or not.

      It will probably also matter whether or not Margaery loses trust in you.

      Ideally there will also both be a victory and a failure state in the final episode where the survival of the house depends on all the actions up to then.

      The reason the ending of this episode had to be the same is that it was about the life and death of a playable character. If some story branches had him surviving, they would have to write another whole branch of gameplay for him that is only experienced by a fraction of the player base, and then write something completely different for the players who had him die. And of course, branching like this only gets worse for the episodes further down the line. I am sure Telltale would like to do this if they could, but realistically the game would be much more expensive.

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    31. I see some people worrying about their decisions not mattering. Don’t worry, Telltale will not let you down.

      Ethan’s death was the plot device to get the story rolling

      So there really wasn’t a way around that.

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    32. I just yet finished the first game episode and, Oh my god, I LOVED it!
      Wonderful, awesome game; feels all really in-character / canon-like, is well-written, I absolutely got the feeling of GRRM’s world and people, and the characters are great, too.

      Oh, poor Ethan :,,-(

      The POV / playable characters are well chosen, and Ramsay/Marg/Cersei/Tyrion are also very well portrayed (love the real actors’/actresses’ voices!) and have great content.
      To struggle with all these decisions and answers is very thrilling, but makes also much fun.
      And I already love House Forrester <3

      I highly recommend it to everybody, I can't wait for episode 2!

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    33. The part with Ramsay and Talia was geniunely creepy.
      Also Ramsay said “Words are Wind”, which I don’t think had been said in the show as of yet!!

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    34. Reema,

      Yeah, it’s a little detail, but I do miss the sayings that everyone utters all the time in the book. Words are wind; Dark wings, dark words… which, if I’m not mistaken, was the title of an episode, but was not actually said out-loud. Might be wrong about that, though.

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    35. I started playing today and really look forward to continue. It looks very promising!

      I remember GRRM saying that he didn’t approve of fan-fiction. Wouldn’t this be a very real example of fan-fiction, even though it’s not in written form? (It seems to fit the definition very well.) If so, how about the show itself, especially now as it inevitably deviates more and more from the source material?

      I’m not trying to be difficult — it’s a legitimate question from a person who loves both the books and the show.

        Quote  Reply

    36. thisone,

      When it’s licensed/GrrM-approved like the show’s inventions or Elio and Linda’s for the World of Ice and Fire, it doesn’t count as fan-fiction. The game is also licensed/GrrM-approved.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Reema,

      Oh, yeah, I cheered at the mentioning of “Words are Wind”, very nice detail!
      And the Ramsay/Talia scene

      was indeed very creepy and horrible, his creepy smile to her and then “Do you like hunting?” *shivers*

        Quote  Reply

    38. I really don’t care if my desicions will change a huge deal or not. The important thing is it really makes you believe that what you say matters and I got sweaty when talking with ramsay and cersei. For me the experience is more valuable than the outcome.

        Quote  Reply

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