LIONS AND TIGERS AND DRAGONS, OH MY!
As stated in my review of Episode 2 of Telltales’ Game of Thrones, most Telltale seasons tend to experience dips in even numbered entries and high points in odd numbered entries.
The Sword In The Darkness is no exception.
MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
The episode again begins with the Asher storyline. It felt like playing in an interactive painting and takes advantage of the game’s art style, which doesn’t happen as frequently as it should and often looks a little rough around the edges. Asher, along with Malcolm and Beshka, reaches a dead end in their journey and are forced into a sword fight. An early choice is presented to me: I can fend off the Dragon I just ran into, or I can make a run for it. This was a solid choice in terms of writing, as I felt engaged and interested very early on. While the other two are fighting members of the Lost Legion, I must next decide if I want to help Malcolm or Beshka. I assumed that based on the intensity and heightened sense of danger during the battle, the one I did not help would die. I chose Malcolm. Beshka did not die however, she was just burned by the Dragon. I like that Telltale decided not to kill off someone here – that would have been predictable. Kudos to them for flipping the script.
Switching gears, we witness Gared’s story line as he is on The Wall, practicing his swords play. This was the worst plot from Episode 2, despite its potential and arguably the most likable playable character. I’m pleased to say that the plot has reverted course. Nothing too exciting takes place early on, but it develops nicely over the course of the episode. My first action is to take my vows at Weirwood Tree. For each line of the vow, I was required to press A (if playing on an Xbox system). This was repetitive and useless. Not only did I have to press the A button to say each line, if I did not press it immediately, the rest of the crew would spew the line and I would get behind. This resulted in a jumble of verses. This was unnecessary and did not add anything to the playability.
Off to King’s Landing, where we take over as Mira. I think this in particular is a solid tie-in to the HBO show. Depending on which route you took in Episode 2, your path can branch a few ways here. Mine went the way of suspicion, as a guard asks me about the whereabouts of Damien, the guard I secretly killed in defense. I am able to get out of it and am off to see Queen Cersei and Lady Margaery. Cersei is a much hated character in the Game of Thrones lore – I mean, she can’t be that much behind Joffrey, right? Anyway, my point is that her persona is carried over into the game very neatly. I look at her and instantly see a snake. My instincts served me well, as right after I am informed that I shouldn’t be meeting up with Lord Tyrion. This also means that I have probably made a bit of an enemy with Margaery. I am told not to deal with Tyrion anymore and agree to do so.
At Joffrey’s wedding, who else but Tyrion approaches Margaery and Mira. He asks for a moment with Mira. You can choose to accept or decline; I accepted, which angers Margaery. My initial reaction tells me it was worth it, as Tyrion spills an interesting bit of information regarding Ironrath. Shortly after, Mira is denied a seat at the wedding. I then witness Tyrion being halled out, accused of murdering Joffrey. This of course means that my alliance with Tyrion might not look so great publicly. I set off to find a legal document that Tyrion held. After tiptoeing around, I find the document in his office. At episode’s end, I have a seemingly important decision to make and I believe it will affect what is to follow in Episode 4; burn the decree or keep it and risk having the evidence be found.
Jumping back to Gared’s story line, I was pleased with the pacing and action of his second go-’round. To begin with, I am tasked with simply reigniting burned out torches. The setting on top of The Wall captured the essence and mood, making me feel like I was right there between the frozen walls. I am visited by old nemesis Britt, who I was introduced to earlier in the episode. Britt spurs me to fight. This is the best action sequence to date and didn’t feel forced or drawn out. In other words, it was well polished. At the end of the fight, I gain the upper hand and stab Britt in the stomach. I am presented with two options: I can leave Britt to bleed out or I can end his suffering. In a moment filled with rage and revenge for the slaying of my Father, I decide to leave him. My immediate thought was that it was a mistake, because someone could stumble across Britt, thus initiating an investigation that could lead to my demise. Finn witnessed my actions, but I’m not worried about him ratting me out. I suppose still, you can’t trust anyone in Game of Thrones.
There are other plot points and scenes that play out in between what I mentioned above, but they are mostly mundane. One highlight came at the very end, where we meet the Khaleesi, Daenaerys Targaryen herself. Her depiction is spot on. If there is one thing that Telltale has done extremely well with George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy epic, it’s the integration of the HBO show’s stars. The characters are interwoven neatly with the plots of the Telltale game, never appearing just for appearance’s sake. They look pretty, despite being rendered in animation. The voice acting is precise. This could have been done wrong, but they hit the mark. One poor example comes to mind; Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. In the short, short campaign, Star Killer (I almost typed “Star Lord”) meets Yoda for one cutscene and and we witness Boba Fett in another. Neither of those scenes had any baring on the story. Not that I’m complaining, but I digress.
I finished The Sword In The Darkness and thought to myself “goodness, I am glad that this is a 6 episode season instead of 5.” I am becoming more fond of the Forrester family each episode. Bring on Episode 4!
+ Superb pacing leads to the best yet in the series.
+ Perfect length of gameplay – not too short, not too long. Trimmed the fat from previous entries.
+ Story has me engaged more so than the other two episodes.
+ Best action sequence to date and colorful settings provide for the best visual performance.
– Some slower moments during the Rodrik plot line takes a little bit of momentum away, though the thought of a traitor is intriguing.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s Senior Editor and resident Telltale Games fanboy. Catch him on Xbox Live and Playstation Network via josiahislegend.
Check out The Geekiverse’s reviews of past episodes and HBO episode reviews below:
Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 2
Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 1
Game of Thrones: Sons of the Harpy
Game of Thrones: High Sparrow
Game of Thrones: The House of Black & White
<sources: gameofthrones.wikia.com, videogamesblogger.com, winteriscoming.net, ew.com, pc.mmgn.com>