wed 19/06/2019

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3 | reviews, news & interviews

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3

A workmanlike second helping but things are looking up in episode three

Court intrigue is as great a threat as any sword

The typical episode of the Game of Thrones TV show has been memorably compared to Twitter: there are 140 characters and something terrible always happens. The first episode of Telltale Games' story-driven take on the franchise came close, introducing four of our five playable characters alongside a large cast of non-playables before pulling a very Thrones move and murdering one of our would-be heroes while we looked on, helpless. The message, as in the show, was clear – nobody is safe.

Despite that hard-hitting final scene, the first in this series of gameplay episodes felt a bit long-winded and the action had to take a back seat to allow us time to get to know the setting and the hefty cast. This was especially noticeable in comparison to other Telltale adventure series like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, both of which hit the ground running and rarely let up the pace.

Game Of Thrones Episodes 2/3 - from Telltale Games makers of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among UsEpisode 2: The Lost Lords, opens well with the introduction of Asher Forrester, the exiled Forrester sibling mentioned in Episode 1. Asher is a hard-drinking, smirking mercenary caught up in the various battles surrounding noted dracophile Daenerys Targaryen, in the sunny bit across the sea from drizzly Westeros. It's not long before swords are thrust bloodily through necks and Asher is hoofing it off in search of a mercenary army to take home and liberate his ancestral pile.

Up at the frozen Wall, we see Forrester squire Gared Tuttle beginning his life in the Night's Watch with plenty of training sequences (which are also useful combat practice for the rest of the game) and interaction with his new brothers, with varying degrees of success.

Back at the beleaguered House Forrester, Roderik has survived the battle in Episode 1 and found his way home in time to be appointed Lord of a castle now chock full of the Forrester's ancient rivals from House Whitehill. Meanwhile, in the capital, King's Landing, Mira Forrester gets a taste of court intrigue as she tries to enlist the help of Lady Margaery.

As the above synopsis implies, this second episode shunts the story along, but the gameplay still feels slow-paced, despite several action sequences. We do, however, get to know the characters and see the stakes they are all facing.

Game Of Thrones Episodes 2/3 - from Telltale Games makers of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among UsThe good news is that with Episode 3: Sword In The Darkness, the series finally moves up a gear. There's more action, more "character moments" and conversations that feel they will dramatically affect the plot, as well as a significant revelation about Gared's true purpose beyond the Wall. We even get a dragon and – briefly – a glimpse of their "mother", Daenerys Targaryen, a character who is likely to be a key figure in the next chapter.

It's taken a while to really get going, but this third episode shows that Telltale know what they're doing. Little touches, like making Gared's swearing-in to the Night's Watch brotherhood partly interactive and making one of Mira's key moments happen just off stage to a hugely significant event in the TV show, helps us feel deeply embedded in the world.

For the first time the game managed to create the same feeling you get in the books whenever the point-of-view character changes. At first, you are disappointed to leave a favourite character, but the new viewpoint is so well done you soon want to stay there. As the game series hits its halfway point, things are looking up.

Stuart Houghton on Twitter

It's not long before swords are thrust bloodily through necks

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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