(Following post will contain spoilers from the first episode of Game of Thrones: You have been warned)
Given my tepid response to Telltales’ Game of Thrones Episode 1, I was unsure as to what to expect from episode 2, considering one of the characters you played as died right at the end of the episode, leaving next to nobody in the Forrester family left to lead the house back to good times. With this in mind, I began my next foray into the Forresters live’s with an open mind, expecting a lot of the brother fighting in the desert, as all hopes of the house rest on him.
So imagine my surprise when the game has a section that begins on the back of a cart, with you playing as Rodrick, the eldest son of Forresters who happened to fall at the battle of the Boltons tower, where everyone was slain. Turns out, he’s still alive, and happens to be very week. You control him as the cart makes it’s way back to the Forresters house, and it’s up to you to pull him to safety out of the cart to ensure people in the town find you. Once discovered, rufus takes his place as lord of the Forresters, ensuring the family at least has someone to look up to and lead the house back to nobility.
It’s through Rodricks’ return that a lot of the big decisions unfold, with key alliances begging for your attention, as well as the continued aggression between your town and the alien Whitehouse’s inhabiting it. During the episode I had to try and woo and old friend/scheduled marriage to unite two houses, decide how to deal with the aliens in my town, decide how to react to enemies who demand I kiss their feet, and how to tow a line between being too weak to retaliate to enemies, whilst still showing how strong of a house we are. It’s all quite dramatic, and makes for some tough decisions, albeit decisions that so far don’t seem to have too much bearing one way or the other. The marriage proposal for example I failed, as I just couldn’t persuade the lady to marry me due to our house’s weakness, but from the looks of the statistics at the end, this could have passed, allowing your two houses to unite, making both stronger. I can’t help but this such a dramatic decision can’t have too much bearing on future episodes, otherwise the games designers would have to make twice as much game to cater to both situations, something we know just won’t happen.
Enough about Rodrick though, what of his brother in the east? Well this is the part of the game where you effectively just have fun. Asher starts out with a close friend, with the two of them being hired swordsman who have just captured a slave master for Khaleesi’s reward. Upon the arrival of the unsullied, who are meant to pay the ransom, you’re pushed into a fight due to the fact they aren’t paying what they agreed. This turns into an all out chase, as you’re reunited with an old friend from the Forresters that has come to return you home. Whilst Asher’s story is sure to have an impact on the overall narrative of the future episodes, so far it just felt like a good excuse to break up the dialogue sections of the game.
Mira is back in this episode too, with her trying to support the Forresters back home from the capital. There were a few decisions I decided to avoid, like forging a letter from Lady Margery to improve chances at the two houses uniting, but this was because of my actions in the first game. Everything for Mira seems pleasant during this episode, all until Tyrion decides to involve her in the negotiations for selling the ironwood the Forresters own. This causes enemies, ones that try to kill her in the middle of the night. Thankfully, you manage to get away after killing the guard that tried to murder you, and so begins the deception and lies in the capital, especially considering guards will now be after Mira due to her being seen in the middle of the night.
Finally, we have Garad at the wall, who must now become a member of the Nights Watch. Apart from some scrabbling with other members, not much happens for Garad, with this section feeling more like fan service than anything else due to Jon Snow’s inclusion in this scene. The conversation is hollow, but at least gives the player the ability to choose their own path with how they would like Garad to be seen going forwards. I personally chose for Garad to be truthful and reliable, but we’ll see how that goes in the future episodes.
Overall, the episode still felt clunky, with a lot of moments feeling hollow and merely there for fan service to say the game has taken place all over Westeros. Whilst the first episode was an ok opener to the series, this episode suffers the curse of being in the middle, starting plot points that never materialise until later. The Decisions I made still may never come to fruition as anything bad or good, but as per always we’ll just have to wait and see what the writers have in store for the Forresters, and whether my decisions have any effect on the end result.