|System: Xbox One, PS4, PC*, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: March 24, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language|
Mira’s lowest points are when she has to play politics with the nobles of King’s Landing, which is unfortunate because that was the high point of Episode 1. Everyone acts like a total jerk to her, from the Lannisters, to her handmaiden friends, to her coal boy informant, to even Lady Margarey. Margarey actually acts well out of character in this episode, striking with a forked tongue reminiscent of Cersei. Margarey is no saint, but throughout the entirety of the HBO show and even the books, she was characterized as someone who kills you with kindness, going as far as to try to force the crown to donate food and money to orphanages against their own wishes. The petty, image-concerned, sneering Margarey from this episode is just so unlike the Margery we know that keeps her cool and keeps up appearances under any circumstance.
Mira’s story’s highest points are after the Purple Wedding. Not only does this quickly catch the game up with current HBO cannon, but it also puts Mira in the position of being an unlikely hunted hero. Lying, stealing, and tricking palace guards is way more fun than politicking, which generally always puts you in the position of everyone around you hating you and stabbing you in the back for basically no reason.
Rodrick’s story starts out the weakest this time around. The Whitehills have occupied Ironrath and have even taken over your house. It’s your job to try and bolster morale. You are frequently given the choice between kneeling to the Whitehills or standing your ground, but the problem is that none of these choices matter. No matter how much you defy them or cater to them, nothing really progresses. The Whitehills stay where they are and nothing changes, putting things in an odd stasis that doesn’t feel very good. Heck, even when you make plans to take back your house, the game makes sure to invalidate them in mere minutes, saying they won’t work for some reason to another, and bringing you back to square one.
But all of this is redeemed by the final scene of the game, which goes to Rodrick himself. Here, you once again get to choose to kneel to or defy the Whitehills, and both options are absolutely awesome. Standing your ground actually involves a quicktime event where you repeatedly get up no matter how much you are beat down, and this makes you feel like a total medieval badass. Meanwhile staying down also progresses the plot in interesting ways, as you are forced to choose what is more important, your pride or your house’s safety.
The closure scene is just great. It’s a series of quick cuts between the characters to show you what they are doing, but you actually get to play as them while these cuts are made. You’ll be running with Mira, then talking to your family with Rodrick, then making deals with Asher, then manning the wall with Tuttle, each a few seconds at a time as the episode draws to its close. That close is certainly an epic one, and includes a cameo many have been highly anticipating.
While Episode 3 of Telltale’s A Game of Thrones still has some problems, it’s certainly learning more about how the Game of Thrones narrative progresses. Its low points are still kind of disappointing and boring, but its high points are truly phenomenal. It’s these set pieces like the fight with the dragon, the standoff against an invading house, and the fated confrontation atop the wall, that make Episode 3 a treat to play and make me very excited to see what Telltale has in store for Episode 4.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: March 25, 2015