|System: Xbox One, PS3, PC*, PS4, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: February 3, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Welcome back to the land of Westeros, where lords and houses feud over power, money, land, and prestige, gleefully turning a blind eye to the horde of ice zombies ready to attack in the north. Seriously guys… zombies. I bet the cast of Telltale’s The Walking Dead would have handled this by now. But by all means, continue backstabbing each other and discussing who gets the rights to what trees. I’m sure the world isn’t going to end because of your selfish desires and overall reckless attitude toward human life. Not at all.
Episode Two of Telltale’s A Game of Thrones picks up where episode one left off, which is to say on a huge spoiler. This is your time to get the heck out of here if you haven’t already played Episode One.
I will gladly type some filler sentences to allow you time to close this article before your eyes hit the spoiler below.
Is everyone who cares about this sort of thing gone?
So Ethan, the young lord of House Forrester and one of your player characters from Episode One, has been stabbed in the neck by Ramsay Snow, leaving the house lordless and descending into utter chaos. However, as luck would have it, Rodrick, the first son of the house, actually isn’t dead. He is brought back to his ancestral home on a corpse cart, only to be healed by a maester, and while he has lost most of the function of one arm and one leg as well as a good chunk of his face, he is the only lord the house has.
Throughout the game you will take control of Rodrick, Asher, his exiled brother who is in Essos trying to raise an army to retake the lands of House Forrester, Mira, his sister and handmaiden to Margarey in King’s Landing, and Gared Tuttle, a squire caught up in all this mess who was unjustly sent to the Wall. Once again, every character has their own unique style of play. Rodrick has to make important political decisions for his house, Mira has to play politics in King’s Landing in order to gain allies for the Forresters, and Asher has most of the combat quick time events as he runs through the recently freed city of Yunkai. Gared has the least compelling gameplay style of all: sword and bow training mini-games.
While I do admit that the story still has me hooked, I have to say Episode Two of A Game of Thrones kind of plods along at a snail’s pace, and when all is said and done I don't feel like a whole lot happened. Gared, for example, has a discussion with Jon Snow (yes, Kit Harington does the voice), the aforementioned mini-games, a couple run-ins with the local jerks in the new recruitment line and… that’s it. There is a bit foreshadowing about the North Grove which lies beyond the Wall, and that’s kind of cool, but Gared’s story is so disconnected from the other characters at this point that it’s hard to actually care about him until he starts running into wildlings. For now, he is just kind of crapping his time away with archery practice, which isn’t exactly compelling storytelling.
Similarly, the only thing Asher does the whole episode is fight with the Lost Legion. His only real goal is to get out of Yunkai. Once again he feels so disconnected from the main action of the game it’s hard to care, especially because he treads very little ground and hardly accomplishes anything.
Mira certainly feels like she has something to do with the plot. She can scheme to form alliances with important characters such as Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage), sell groves of Ironwood out from under the feet of the rival Whitehills, and even essentially threaten a suitor to marry her brother.
Unfortunately, these events seem to happen to her rather than as a consequence of choices she made. In my game, Tyrion simply asked me along to a negotiation with the Whitehills and then suddenly asked me what my counter offer was. I was thinking “I don’t know! You asked me here!” Similarly, a character we see for all of two minutes suddenly decides he wants to kill Mira. It's a nail-biting scene for her, but it carries no emotional weight. “Oh no! Not that guy that showed up a couple scenes ago! He betrayed me! What was his name again?” You’ll even be chastised for “stealing” a royal seal, when it was lying around on a table in Episode One and you had no reason not to think it was just one of your possessions when taking it. Mira sort of stumbles into awesomeness instead of seeking it, which makes you feel like you have less of an active role in the story.