Telltales Game of Thrones Series has been very weird since it’s inception many months ago. In the first episode, the character you get to know and think is the main one is killed within a few hours, jarring you from the games pretence instantly. The second episode then goes about causing you more and more grievances without any of it being your fault and all of it being out of your control. The series just keeps on getting shittier for the remaining family of the Forresters, and in Episode 3, that doesn’t look to change at all.
First things first, you start the game out as the long lost brother of the Forresters, Asher, whilst he’s still out in the desert. It’s here that you find him outrunning guards (like he was in the previous episode), only to happen across a dead end. Finding a cave, you come across one of the first protagonists you’ll recognise from the TV series: one of Daenerys’ Dragons. Running around and avoiding the dragon in a contrived and weird setting with guards still chasing you is a weird set piece, especially in a tight small cave, but the episode manages to pull this weird setting back when you run away and take control of Mira, who’s feeling the consequences of her previous actions piling up upon her.
Taking control of Mira was strange in this episode, with everything stacked against her due to all of the decisions I had made in previous games. Throughout the episode I had guards constantly asking where she was or investigating her, with Margery disowning Mira for talking to Tyrian Lanister behind her back. It all felt far to contrived, with any decision I would have made in previous games coming back to bite me in the bum. Given that I was discussing a contract with Tyrian, Mira is put in the awkward situation of having to get the contract from Tyrians room due to his arrest after King Joffreys death. It’s through this weird scene that Mira has to avoid guards again, meaning every single event happening to her is pushing her one step closer to death/problems, a contrived instance where the player literally has no control over what happens.
Rodrik makes a return in Episode 3, with the guards of Whitehall causing all manner of trouble for the Forrester family. Rodrik, in his feeble state, can’t really do much about the guards, and so goes to the Whitehall’s sister, Ludd, to ask for advice on what they should do. Rudd advices that they should show restraint and not rebel agains the Whitehall rule to lull them into a false sense of entitlement. It’s during this false sense of entitlement that the Forresters can fight back, with the army Asher will be bringing aiding for the cause of the Forresters.
The only redeeming feature of this episode was Gared up at the wall, where his quest to head north to find the grove has unlocked some nice secrets about his friends and comrades. Add to that his nice fight sequence where he has to kill a fellow brother, and you have a truly new piece of story which helps to flesh the GoT world and lore out a little bit more.
It has to be said, that you can tell how cut back and cheap the game is to make considering the fact that you never actually see any fights or action. Take for instance the Joffery death. The game explains that Mira and her friend cannot attend the main wedding as there’s no more space due to it being used for the kings guard. We all know this was purely so that Telltale didn’t have to render/animate an entire death scene, and even the characters that would have inhabited it. You can see this at other times in the episodes, with entire environments not being built in 3D like the rest of the world. Entire scenes are replaced with painted backgrounds, which, when coupled with the 3D characters, creates a jarring and noticeable effect of making the game feel cheap. I can imagine it’s hard to create a new episode once every few months, but the other projects Telltale have taken on can’t exactly be helping.
I suppose I’m just finding the series more and more annoying, as every single decision is given to the player not to empower you, but merely to stump you down a peg or two later on in the series. Every decision may seem important at the time you’re presented with one, but each and everytime you’re beginning to sense that it’s all for nothing. It makes me think that telltale should just go about making the story themselves rather than allowing the player a sense of choice, as it never amounts to anything in the end.
All in all, I didn’t mind the episode too much, but I seriously can’t help but think Telltale games are seriously pushing themselves far too thin with the amount of projects they have going simultaneously. Think about it, Minecraft, The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us, eventually, somethings got to give, and considering how much I’m enjoying the writing and action of Borderlands, I can’t help but think Game of Thrones is the grunt of the litter with all the franchises they have going. The quality is no where near to the standard of their previous endeavours, both in graphical fidelity, and story telling/sense of worth in this world.