Disclaimer(s): As I said in my review of the last episode I don’t hold the TV show in very high regard due to some of the very questionable differences from the book series, so when covering show direct aspects of the game I may be more critical than most. Also I will attempt to keep spoilers for the entire series untouched throughout these reviews, given the nature of the game however I will be referencing events vaguely so if you want to experience the game with no prior knowledge then you’d be best off just buying it, no review can properly cover a Telltale game without at least alluding to story events. Now that’s out the way……
The Lost Lords is the second episode in Telltale’s attempt to transform the Game of Thrones universe into a video game, an arduous task given all previous attempts have resulted in mediocrity at best. The graphics and gameplay are unchanged*, refer to the Game of Thrones – Episode 1: Iron From Ice Review for an assessment on the aesthetics and very limited gameplay mechanics.
*Technically, there is one section where you have to aim a crossbow which wasn’t in episode one but the mechanic is identical the shooting in The Walking Dead games (highly simple and quick to do, certainly nothing interesting).
That said Telltale point and click games do not sell based on their gameplay but their story and branching choice trees. To get the negative out the way first, this episode offers you very little in the way important decisions, there are only two major decisions at the start and end of the episode (both with the same character), the other choices felt unimportant or simply a repetition of the choices in episode one. However episode two features a choice that is not a binary decision, it is a conversation where you have to convince a character to help you, and you can fail this (albeit the story carries on regardless but the fact that you have to get inside the character’s heads is an excellent use of the conversation mechanic).
Just as in the game of thrones, for every action there is a consequence and the effect of streamlining the choice system is to provide a less hindered narrative. As such the story moves at much more dynamic pace than the premier episode, it feels much less like a series of events to set up a plot. Even with the cast of characters we’re familiar with there is a great deal that feels fresh about this episode. The characters branch further out in, from the Wall the Yunkai, because of this there is a sense of starting anew with some of the characters, especially those at Ironrath, Castle Black and Essos. The episode even commences with a fairly spectacular twist (don’t think too hard about it however, it doesn’t make complete sense) and between the music and stellar voice acting there are two scenes in this episode which perfectly play the heartstrings, fortunately these tearjerkers are well juxtaposed with scenes in Essos where the action is bloody and brutal.
The recognisable faces this episode are Margeary, Tyrion and Jon Snow, whilst Margaery fulfils an identical role to that in the first episode, it’s clear tensions are rising and Natalie Dormer’s performance matches it perfectly. Tyrion did feel very ham-fisted in episode one, fortunately in this episode his role is coming to fruition and we are treated to the Dinklage charm which captivates the audience of Thrones translated seamlessly onto the oil painting aesthetic. Jon Snow’s role is an interesting one, he is more mentor than he is comrade, which is a very interesting contrast to his role in the show, and makes the Wall scenes far more engaging as a result.
In conclusion Telltale have pulled it out of the bag once again, whilst there are flaws in this piece, it is by no means any less engaging than its previous instalment, although it must be said the same caveats apply, if you are not a fan of Telltale’s style you will not enjoy this game. If however you are, it’s an enthralling dive into the murky depths of the world of ice and fire.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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