Previously in Game of Thrones, Episode 2
From the opening score to an ending which sets in motion the next release, episode 3 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones, entitled ‘The Sword in the Darkness’, feels like an episode of the HBO television series. Many of the main characters feel strikingly familiar as they share a number of similarities with the show’s stars. Generally speaking, episode 3 brings players more of what everyone expects at this point: the backstabbing and posturing of Game of Thrones, but delivered through the standard Telltale gameplay. While the former is sure to please fans, it’s the standard Telltale gameplay format that holds ‘The Sword in the Darkness” back from being memorable.
Episode 3 begins on the continent of Essos and once again gives players the opportunity to play as Asher, who must return to his home continent of Westeros in order to aide his family in an ongoing conflict. Asher’s scenes in Episode 2 were full of action, and the opening scene of Episode 3 does not disappoint in that regard. There is an especially exciting and frantic moment which foreshadows what players can expect from Asher’s story. While Asher’s action-packed moments are impressively executed, particularly for a Telltale game, it’s the character’s dialogue and decision points that feel overdone.
In Episode 3, Asher is put in between two characters, one whom he has grown to care for like a family member, the other is his uncle. This situation is regrettable, because it has occurred far too frequently in Telltale games. It would be beneficial to have a Telltale game feature gameplay which did not make me choose which person I care about more, and then have the other be angry about it. Yes, this has become a big part of what the developer forces players to do in order to let them realize the consequences of their decisions, but at this point we need to see Telltale give us more interesting choices to make, especially with such compelling source material.
The disappointing moments in Episode 3 are not limited to Asher’s decisions. His brother Rodrik’s scrapes with an opposing family are equally as disappointing; particularly due to the fact we have experienced similar disagreements between the families in each of the first 2 episodes. Episodes 1 and 2 have made it clear which characters are the antagonists; it is not much fun to have Episode 3 remind players of that fact by repeating the actions from those first two episodes. Fortunately, Rodrik and Asher’s sister Mira is in King’s Landing with a much better story to tell and it’s in these moments – along with family friend Gared’s adventure beyond the wall – that make Episode 3 worthwhile.
Despite the disappointments in Asher’s decision points, his story arc seems to really take off in an exciting direction by the time Episode 3 comes to an end. Most importantly, Mira and Gared’s stories are interesting and full of enough suspense to keep even the casual Game of Thrones or Telltale games fans engaged. However, the next few episodes will need more from Rodrik’s story arch to truly count the first season of Telltale’s Game of Thrones as a success.
- + Mira’s suspenseful tale
- + Gared is on an adventure
- + Cameo appearances done well
- – This game needs new choices
- – Rodrik’s portions are a repeat of last episode