The last time I reviewed Telltale’s Game of Thrones, things were a bit dicey. It was difficult writing a spoiler-free review of a game where one of the main characters dies almost immediately after getting to like them. Much like the books and show, Telltale’s Game of Thrones left me in shock, unable to fathom the horrors I had just witnessed. I wanted to write about them. I NEEDED to, but my desire to keep reviews spoiler-free held me back. However, I can no longer withhold my feelings about this phenomenal game and now I even have help along with me to discuss the second episode, “The Lost Lords.” Bilal and I are going to review this episode and it will be insanely spoiler-heavy, so if you haven’t finished through the second episode, I implore you to leave this page immediately.
A beginning in Essos
JEN: I’ll be honest, I didn’t think we’d even see Essos in the game. I know Asher Forrester, second son in the house, had been mentioned being across the Narrow Sea, but I assumed he’d just…show up in Ironrath at some point. To instead start the episode IN Essos and to make his character such a charming sellsword was a nice touch.
BILAL: It was a pleasant surprise for me as well. I half-expected to see Asher show up like Gandalf in the The Two Towers – during a very bleak and pivotal moment of crisis in Ironrath. What surprised me even more was Malcolm’s ability to travel across the Narrow Sea so quickly. Imagine if the characters in the books moved this fast?
With that said, I came to like Asher almost instantly. He’s got that wild, roguish nature to him. A Westerosi Han Solo one might say.
I do have an issue with this sequence however and I’m not sure if you encountered this as well. During the fight sequence with the sellswords I had a cup of coffee in my lap. I figured I’d let Asher die and then place the cup on the side so I don’t spill anything on the couch. Oddly without me inputting anything, I was able to survive all but one of the inputs. It’s almost jarring how little input is actually required to progress the story.
I understand the reasoning for it though. During Season 2 of The Walking Dead, missing a single input was insta-death. It only led to frustration. It’s nice for the sequences to be a bit more forgiving on missing the on-screen prompts, but this feels too forgiving.
JEN: I actually didn’t notice that. I killed Asher twice during that sequence. Now that you mention it, that IS an issue I have with Telltale games as a whole. There is no challenge to any of it. I know I mentioned this in my review of the first episode, but there’s a feeling that my choices don’t actually matter. I’d love to see even a subtle change like a dialogue choice getting you immediately murdered and having to start over.
BILAL: Telltale beta tested that feature with Ethan. Apparently the test group wasn’t happy with the results =D
A surprising resurrection
JEN: Surviving the seemingly impossible isn’t exactly new in the world of ice and fire. Just ask Beric Dondarrion. Seeing Rodrik alive after I was certain every Forrester had died at the Twins sent my heart all atwitter. Finally! Good news for the family after that monster Ramsay STABBED A CHILD IN THE NECK. However, I am curious how a man with so many still bleeding wounds managed to survive a cold, bumpy ride from the Twins to Ironrath, a hold situated northwest of Winterfell. Food for thought.
BILAL: Well Jen if you watched the new season of Arrow, you’d understand that the cold weather slows down your body and bleeding and stuff….. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor! I take it as it comes!
I have a funny relationship with Rodrik. In Episode 1 when Gared finally reaches him and the player gets their first look at Rodrik, I sort of didn’t care that he “died.” To me he was kind of like Jaime Lannister. Pretty boy knight who is good at everything. I wanted to hate him because he was so good at everything!
Then as soon as I saw him alive, I couldn’t help but be happy. I think Ethan’s death really hit me hard. Screaming out from the cart in vain was a great play on Telltale’s part. They sort of had me believing that no one would see him. Imagine as the player just seeing Rodrik being carted away to be dumped into a river. Classic Telltale!
Jon Snuh Part Deux
JEN: The biggest problem I’ve had thus far with the game is how repetitive some of the characters feel to the original series. Gared’s struggles while joining the Night’s Watch almost exactly mirror those of Jon Snow. He’s noble, a good fighter, well-liked back at home, and singled out right from the beginning. I don’t necessarily mind this, but it would have been interesting to have a character instead clash with Jon Snow. Push him off The Wall or something.
BILAL: I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. Gared feels like the second coming of Jon Snow. It feels like a rehashed storyline from both the books and the show. “You’ve got to make friends on The Wall with rapists, murderers, and low lifes to survive
Jon Snow Tuttle.”
I like Jon Snow! I rather kick Cotter off The Wall.
JEN: Rodrik is the Bill Weasley of the group and my goodness do I want him to succeed. I’ll be interested to see how things play out when Asher arrives in Ironrath, if the two will fight for lordship, but ultimately, I want Rodrik to come out on top. Unlike the heartless Bilal, I was sad to see Rodrik fall in battle, if only because I liked his father and assumed he’d be more of the same. He’s Robb Stark if Robb had survived the Red Wedding and I think some of us may be playing Rodrik as if that were the case.
That being said, there’s not much action to his sequences, so they can be rather bland, especially compared to Asher’s excitement in Essos. And I do have an issue with the idea of fake control of a character. The walking scene with Rodrik was fine, because he’s injured, but to return control to me, the player, only to walk the character ten feet to the next dialogue sequence is annoying. Just start the damn sequence.
BILAL: Woah there, Jen! Between Asher and Rodrik, I rather have the latter come up on top for lordship. Rodrik was just another NPC to me in the first episode. I’ve come to enjoy him in The Lost Lords. He reminds me of much of his father Gregor.
I enjoyed Rodrik’s recovery mostly because it gave us more Talia. She’s the hidden jewel of House Forrester. She’s like a less conniving Little Finger. Talia’s out for the best interest of everyone, but plays it like a shadow queen.
JEN: I love Talia. Talia for Queen in the North! (She should teach her mother a thing or two about subtlety.)
Why’s it always Mira, Mira, Mira!
JEN: Like Gared, Mira’s story mirrors another major character in Game of Thrones–Sansa. This one bothers me not because I dislike Sansa–in fact, I may be one of her biggest fans–but because in King’s Landing there isn’t a shortage of interesting characters. I like House Forrester, more than I like House Stark if I’m honest, but I can’t help but think that if we played Sera Flowers, conspiring against Mira Forrester to curry Margaery or Cersei’s favor, that the game would be more interesting. Imagine trying to genuinely deceive Tyrion, instead of playing the shy I-know-nothing-of-the-world girl. Imagine if Tyrion were to face someone actually better at it than him.
Oh, and if any of you forged a letter from Margaery, you’re a monster.
BILAL: Telltale needs a better transition to Mira than Lady Forrester saying “MAYBE YOUR SISTER MIRA WILL BE ABLE TO HELP US FROM KING’S LANDING.”
NO MOM! NO! Cersei is onto my every move. If Sera Flowers proved to me she was my half-sister, I still wouldn’t trust a single thing she said. It feels overtly obvious that Sera is a spy for Cersei. I can’t believe I took blame for the wine for her. Agh.
“HEY MIRA! WHAT ARE YOU WRITING?”
“I’m writing in my diary about how I want to toss you out of my window Sera.” Then I proceed to press right to grab her, move the right stick to grab a pot and smash her over the head with it, and then mash A till she flies out of my window.
JEN: That might be difficult to explain to Margaery, murderer.
The Imp and his bag of tricks
JEN: One of the things I enjoy most about the game so far is being able to interact with characters we already know so well. Telltale did that briefly with The Walking Dead and more so in The Wolf Among Us, but Game of Thrones is positively littered with familiar characters. Watching Tyrion manipulate Whitehill men and then broker a deal with Mira over the ironwood was a delight. I’ve missed Tyrion’s charisma and wit in the capital.
BILAL: I love any scene involving Whitehill men becoming jaded. God I live for it. If Telltale released an episode where all you did was make snarky remarks at the Whitehills it would be an immediate 10/10.
JEN: I want to play that DLC.
BILAL: That said, I’ve royally put myself in a corner. I refuse to ask Margaery for help and I put all my eggs in with Tyrion on this Ironwood deal. I’ve read the books and have watched the show. I’m a freaking idiot. Even with Tyrion’s frequent reminders that getting in bed with him (figuratively) could be dangerous for Mira, I failed to recall where this is all headed.
I’m curious to see what happens after the events of the royal wedding.
Asher’s rendition of “I just can’t wait to be king”
JEN: Do you know how mad I’m going to be if Asher manages to acquire a sellsword army and make it Westeros BEFORE Daenerys takes hold of Meereen? DANY THIS COULD BE YOU. YOU HAVE DRAGONS. Anyway, I have nothing to add about Asher or my almost uncomfortable crush on his smirk.
BILAL: This sequence made me cringe hard for two reasons. One, that guard that gets close to you is blind as a bat. You’re telling me you can’t see people hiding behind those barriers that have HOLES in them. Follow this up with Asher proclaiming himself to being a fantastic king for not giving the order to kill the sellsword? Really? Anyone would have known that was the smart move to make.
I don’t see Asher running House Forrester at all. I see Asher fitting into Royland’s role…. you know after he kills Royland for being the worst.
JEN: Ugh. Royland is the worst. At first I enjoyed his take-no-shit attitude, but now he’s just like Stannis the Butthurt, sulking around Ironrath. That’s why I didn’t name you Sentinel, Royland!
BILAL: He even wanted to take fingers off the one villager in the first episode. Classic Stannis!
Sansa’s Mira’s idiotic garden rendezvous
JEN: Girl, didn’t yo mama ever teach you to not talk to strangers, especially after they’ve broken into your room to steal things? Like, I’m pretty sure that the first thing Mama Forrester told Mira was, “I’m going to
BILAL: Normally I would want to say more about this, but you nailed it on the head. Mira seems like the character in horror movies to walk toward the strange sounds and into her doom. What I don’t understand either is the need for Damian to meet her in the garden. He’s a guard and can get around however he pleases. Couldn’t he have just met Mira in her room?
He’d be able to control the guards around her room, minimize who was in the vicinity and murder the girl without any issue…..
Jen… I promise. I’m not a psychopath or anything.
JEN: Uh huh. I’m just gonna screenshot this anyway. For science and stuff.
Forced marriage or true love?
How to win a girl’s hand in marriage by Jen Stayrook
Step 1: Play up the pain — Don’t be whiny, but don’t be afraid to shed a tear or two. She’ll want to nurture you.
Step 2: Tell her the truth — About something. Anything. She’ll appreciate the honesty.
Step 3: Talk about old times together — Girls are suckers for memories. Music swelling in the background helps.
Step 4: Confess your feelings — Maybe even take her hand in your own. Don’t dive in all the way, but let her know you love her.
Step 5: Offer her your wood — Your ironwood, you pervert. Love only takes a person so far. Possessions are what make a marriage last forever. At least until one or both of you die.
How to forever be lost in the friend zone by Bilal Mian
Step 1: Be honest — Tell her how you’re really feeling. You look like a truck ran over you. Make her sympathize with you.
Step 2: A bit of self-humor goes a long way — Mention how good you look with the scars
Step 3: Old Memories — Remember the good ol’ days growing up and playing? She does too!
Step 4: Tell her you love her — Self explanatory. Confess everything you feel
Step 5: Welcome to the friend zone — If she really loved you, you wouldn’t need to buy her off. SHE CAN’T LOOK PAST MY SCARS AND ALL THE DEATH AND AND AND…. *runs to cry*
Wait… I can’t run I’m crippled. GREAT! Oh and Whitehill is here to put me in an even more impossible situation. EFFING GREAT.
At least Eleana was pleased I didn’t kiss his ring. I’ve got that going for me. Maybe she’ll wake up one morning and realize how brave I am! Right? Right…. *tears*
I will kill Whitehill. I will kill him and enjoy it.
Gared meets the Wall and a bastard
JEN: I hate Jon Snuh. Loathe him. He bores me to tears. Nice to see Gared is continuing that trend. I want to spend more time with Asher in Essos instead of looking at Gared’s stupid whiny face.
BILAL: Jen, did you tell Jon Snow about The North Grove? You know the first rule of The North Grove club right? YOU DON’T SPEAK ABOUT THE NORTH GROVE.
This makes me wonder how on earth Gared is supposed to find it though. All ravens coming to Castle Black seem to be read by someone else. Plus, I’m pretty sure no one has a clue what The North Grove actually is.
In all honesty, the only reason I’m excited to play as Gared is for more info on The North Grove. This Jon Snow 2.0 storyline is flat lining.
JEN: Of course I didn’t tell him about The North Grove. By the time the second episode came to pass, I didn’t even REMEMBER The North Grove, so I didn’t use an answer about something I did not know. (Seriously, the time between episode releases is too long. I don’t have the memory for this.)
BILAL: As a fan of Game of Thrones Jen, you should be ashamed! A few months is too long to remember? If anything, Telltale is trying to being authentic to Martin’s release schedule. They could release Episode 3 in 2016 and I’d feel like they still may be rushing. You know, 2016 would be a great time for Episode 6. It could release it along with the sixth book, Winds of Winter *weeps*
JEN: You shut your mouth right now.
Let me just throw away this murder evidence
JEN: I’m going to repeat this–LET ME JUST THROW AWAY THIS MURDER EVIDENCE. Okay, yes, I threw it away. That was stupid, but come on, someone has already gone through Mira’s belongings. Ain’t no sense in keeping that around, but still, you just chucked that bloodied knife any ol’ place and run back inside with blood all over your face and clothes? We need to discuss how to properly escape a murder conviction, Mira, and what just did is the exact opposite of doing so.
BILAL: There’s no fingerprint or DNA testing in Westeros right? It’s mostly the reason I threw it away. That and someone is bound to go through my belongings. Let’s hope Mira was smart enough to burn any clothing with blood on it. I wonder if King’s Landing gets How to Get Away With Murder? Mira could use some lessons.
Rodrik and Gwyn
JEN: I like Gwyn. I like the whole star-crossed lover thing she’s got going on with Asher. Sure, she’ll probably die by her father’s sausage fingers or become a Bolton plaything, but it’s sweet. She gives a shit. I like when people give a shit.
BILAL: It’s Romeo and Juliet all over again, but I see Gwyn twisting the dagger into the Forresters at the very end. This is Game of Thrones and Telltale we’re speaking of. They may be star-crossed lovers, but I Gwyn’s got more going for her if she sides with her family.
She’s got a heart, but I don’t think she’s stupid enough to go against her family. In hindsight I do wish I was a bit nicer to her.
JEN: I do love that Baby Bro Forrester, who is being held hostage, has not come up between the two of us once. You can see where our priorities lie.
BILAL: No one cares about the fourth born son Jen. That’s why no one is a fan of Rickon Stark.
BILAL: You mean that song with no subtitles? Seriously Telltale! What gives? I’m pretty sure the song was written down on a script somewhere. I really suck at listening to songs. If Talia or anyone else in the future is going to sing, please add lyrics.
The Boy Who Sucks at Listening to Songs
JEN: THAT SONG WAS BEAUTIFUL. You suck it up, you monster. Also, Talia needs to be the one King’s Landing. That girl is going to save House Forrester, just you wait.
BILAL: Telltale gives us another great episode with The Lost Lords, but technical issues and Gared’s story arc are black marks of this chapter. The series still carries the issues of minor lag during scenes which comes across as jarring when the story is aiming to pull you in. I noticed back during the first season of The Walking Dead and I’m shocked it is still not fixed.
With that said, the Forrester story is one that hasn’t failed to captivate me. I wish HBO would do a spin-off series on this story.
Xbox One Score – 8/10
JEN: Overall, I am still very much enjoying Telltale’s Game of Thrones, so much so that it feels like canon. I love the Thrones-verse and Telltale have certainly captured its essence in the writing. Unlike Bilal, I had no issues with lag on the PC version. My issues with the game stem from feeling incapable of actually making choices that matter. As Bilal mentioned above, it’s hard to choose the way you want to because we all know the eventual outcome of the bigger players. Even still, House Forrester is a well-written bunch and I am eagerly awaiting episode three.
PC Score – 8.5/10