Game of Thrones Episode 2- The Lost Lords Review
*Disclaimer* The reviewer was given a season pass code to provide coverage. This doesn't affect his judgment
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac/PC (Steam)
Reviewing Console: Mac
Minor Spoilers ahead--
Bloody good time mixed with dangerous diplomatic decisions--that's what Game of Thrones thrives on and does it spectacularly well. With "The Lost Lords" out for all to play, it has become apparent to me how well the game mimics the show in this regard. I personally thought the second episode was much better when compared to the debut episode. Less technical issues to confront, which should make everyone happy and gripping until the very end. I won't base future episodes on "The Lost Lords" because as any TV-goer should know, not all episodes can be of the same theme. Some episodes will be slower than others (i.e. "Lost Lords") and should not be condemned based on episode structure. That said however, the second episode is my favorite at this particular moment.
However, I have to admit the backgrounds looked atrocious at times. The oil painting look certainly fits the overall atmosphere of Game of Thrones but there were times I thought I was looking at PS2 backgrounds. Doesn't make for a pretty sight at all.
When I started to load Game of Thrones, I did my best to check my expectations at the door. The debut episode was no doubt good but I didn't quite feel the emotional pull I normally experience with games from this studio. Maybe I'm holding myself back because GoT has a nasty habit of killing characters off. Whatever my true reason is, compared to the rest of Telltale's recent endeavors, I believe GoT has a lot more to prove to me. Episode two definitely feels like the first step in the right direction and could very well reach the other titles in my opinion.
"The Lost Lords" introduces plenty of new characters to build relationships with, both playable and NPC. Asher Forrester makes his debut as the exiled second-born of House Forrester and is also one of the playable characters. Even though the personality of a playable character is determined by the player, I found that I really like the type of person Asher could be. Asher is a seasoned sellsword and partners with Beskha, a fearsome woman adorned with battle scars across her face. When choosing what to say, Asher would often give a laid back or sly response-- insinuating that he worries about problems later and acts first. Out of all the playable characters, Asher has the most potential to be my favorite.
I also got to spend more time with Mira, who is currently handmaiden to Lady Margaery in King's Landing. In the last episode, Mira was tasked with asking for Lady Margaery's help to aid House Forrester in its time of need. Trying to forge this relationship with Lady Margaery is tricky to say the least thanks to Queen Cersei and the constant political games being played. During my time as Mira, I felt as if I was truly making some headway rather than simply being bullied by royalty. After making quite a risky maneuver with some royal letters and ending her role in an unexpected way in the gardens, I came to the realization that House Forrester could truly be in grave danger.
Each of the playable characters have their roles to play in order to ensure House Forrester sees another day. Whether in King's Landing or on The Wall, each must try to do their best while playing dangerous games. My decision to forge a royal letter will surely come to haunt me at some point I'm sure. These are the times where I wonder if my choice is a significant one or merely just a way to move the story along. While "The Lost Lords" has more going for it than the previous episode, the story itself is still moving along at a slow pace.
What this episode does well is show how vulnerable House Forrester has become. At this point, players should brace themselves for the incoming death of favorites. As I watched the heart-moving ending, I braced myself for House Forrester to fall or survive at a great cost.
I would like to point out the situation concerning characters from the TV show for a minute. I may be among the minority on this topic but I'm glad these characters are relegated to simple cameo appearances, opposed to constantly being in the spotlight. We know that the game takes place between seasons 4 & 5 and with that said, I would imagine it's quite difficult to inject the TV characters as often as some would like. These characters can't possibly die within the game because they still live on the show and too much extra info could potentially spoil season 5. Personally, leaving these important characters in the cameo category and allowing them to present their power works just fine on my end.
+ Slow, but bloody build up episode
+ That ending...wow
+ Introduces new playable characters
- Visuals take a dive at random spots
- The episode suffers from the occasional audio glitch or two
By the end of the episode, the desire to jump straight into episode three was beyond strong. That's one of the allures about episodic titles-- making people wait for the upcoming episode allows the excitement to age like fine wine. Especially after the way "Lost Lords" came to a conclusion, I'm not in the minority for wanting the next episode post haste. With any luck, we won't have to wait more than 2 months but that's just wishful thinking at this point.