Thursday, February 26, 2015

Game of Thrones: Episode 2: The Lost Lords review

    God, this was boring.

    Well-written, but boring.

    That is an amazing accomplishment given the episode involves several impressive sword-fights, a surprise resurrection, a murder attempt, surprise revelations, and an attempted marriage. A staggering amount of things happen this episode and yet all of it feels rather glacially paced. This is quite upsetting given the first episode started so promising.

    The Lost Lords isn't bad, per se, but it does ape a lot of the book's structure. Virtually the entirety of the episode is set up for future events with no real sense of payoff. Events happen but they're all part of a larger structure which is invisible to the player.

Asher is a welcome edition and there's too little of him.
    Unfortunately, I think this is a bad strategy for a episodic video game. Compare, obviously, to The Walking Dead video game. Each episode in that game was an adventure in itself. Gamers got a true sense of accomplishment after each episode and were always hungry for more. Here, we're forced to stew in House Forester's misery.

    No jokes about being faithful to the books/show.

    I've already made them all.


Jon Snow's appearance is little more than a guest star.
    The premise of The Lost Lords begins with Asher, one of the Forester sons in exile. This is the most exciting part of the game as we get an immediate contrast to the other Foresters in he's doing fairly well for himself, implied to be a mercenary in Daenerys Stormborn's army. He's a devil-may-care sort of fellow and a welcome antidote to the grim and gritty finale of the previous episode. Unfortunately, Asher's part doesn't last very long.

    We also get some good news with another character's revival who has his own subplot. Everyone else is treated to nothing more than set-up and events which move them along a little bit in their stories. There's too many characters to really get much focus and I can't help but think this story would have been better with two or three characters rather than the five we have.

    There's some very tense scenes like a part with a wounded character lobbed in a cart full of corpses, the aforementioned murder attempt, and the fact a marriage alliance could mean the end of House Forester or not. I also loved the funeral for a pair of characters killed in the previous episode, which ends on a beautiful and treasonous song. There's a lot of good in this game, but it's not all good.

Mira has one of the most interesting stories but there's almost no progress on it.
    In addition to the pacing, this is the Telltale Game I've felt most doesn't actually care whether or not I do actions. At least in The Walking Dead, you die if you screw up. Here, the choices have never felt more perfunctory. The major choices from the previous episode all come up but are immediately rendered moot by the arrival of a character who supersedes them. You don't even die in most of the situations. I'm very disappointed in Telltale as while they should be kept on the rails for the most part as a function of the medium, the sheer absence of choice is quite vexing.

    The episode has guest appearances from television show characters Tyrion, Margaery Tyrell, and Jon Snow but their appearances don't really play much of a role in the story. No, let me correct that, everyone but Margaery isn't really integrated into the plot very well. She, at least, has a strong connection to one of the Foresters and her influence can play a key role in one of the choices. I just hope said choice has consequences.

    In conclusion, I really hope this isn't a sign how the next couple of episodes before the finale are going.



  1. I would recommend the Metro series. (Metro 2033 & Metro Last Light) either the redux version for next gen or cheap off Xbox Live.

    1. I've got Sunset Overdrive, Assassin's Creed Unity, and Far Cry 4 to play but it's definitely on the list now for the redux. There's also Arkham Knight coming up!