After a rather intense ending to its first episode, Telltale’s Game of Thrones series returns a second helping of bloody intrigue and moral choices. It should obviously go without saying, but if you’ve yet to play Episode 1 'Iron From Ice' I’d suggest not hitting the jump on this review as we’ll be dealing with some light spoilers from the previous episode. Plus, you know, you should go and play it anyway because it’s a great start to what will hopefully be yet another fantastic adventure series from Telltale.
I say this because Episode 2, The Lord Lords, continues to build the foundations that Iron From Ice began to lay down, delivering a solid if overall slower follow-up. Choices previously made are starting to rear their head, haunting House Forrester as they brace themselves for more trouble. We’re wiser this time, though. We know that the choices put before us aren’t always about winning but surviving, to fight another day until the chance for vengeance is at hand.
Providing our choices don’t get everyone killed before that happens. And with this being Westeros, there’s a high probability that could still happen.
With House Forrester still reeling from the shocking loss at the end of Iron From Ice, new introductions are made that supply a new sense of hope. Asher, the exiled son, makes his debut along with that of the city of Yunkai. Being the more action minded character means there are plenty of QTEs to get through, for better or worse, but I felt his introduction was handled well, setting up the story for his role in events to come beyond that of helping his family.
Meanwhile, the introduction of the fifth playable character actually caught me off-guard, and while the gameplay for their debut was something a slog (again, thanks to those damn QTEs), it did highlight the first instance of choices between characters possibly colliding with each other. I may be wrong, of course, but that’s the beauty of these kind of games – we’ll have to wait until the bigger picture is revealed to find out.
The setups continue elsewhere too, with Mira desperately clinging onto the ladder of chaos in King’s Landing, and Gared learning the ropes over at Castle Black. Fans of the show will no doubt be happy with more established names making an appearance, but with no real sense of moving forward throughout The Lost Lords I wouldn’t be surprised if some gamers out there felt the pacing was perhaps too slow. I for one enjoyed it, spending time immersed in the world of Westeros, but your mileage will vary depending on how eager you are to kill everyone who’s wronged House Forrester.
That's if you're able to play your version of the story, at any rate. Xbox One owners are reporting that the save bug that has plagued all of Telltale's back catalogue has reared it's ugly head once more. It's something that after years of it happening is frankly unacceptable, and I hope that those affected by the bug are able to find a way to continue through the series. Hopefully, Episode 3 will get the ball rolling, both in terms of fixing save-file loses and the slow pace of the narrative, to make it feel as if we’re making some progress. With 4 more episodes left it will be interesting to see if Telltale can pace the action appropriately, but I’m still enjoying the narrative yarn being spun, as the ending gives a sense of hope after a tragic stepback. The next instalment can’t come soon enough.
- The new character introductions are handled well, and bring a sense of hope.
- Fans of the show will get a kick out of familiar faces that pop up.
- The decisions from Episode 1 are starting to take shape…
- … but the slow pace might be frustrating for all but the biggest of fans.
- The QTEs, especially in one particular scene, come off as a chore this time around
- That save-file bug is once again making console gamers life a misery.
The Short Version:
With more narrative setup slowing the pace a little, it’s steady as she goes for the second episode in Telltale’s Game of Thrones series. New characters, some twists and turns, and more familiar faces keep things interesting, but let’s just hope that, with the pieces now in place, the action can ramp up for the next episode.