Game of Thrones -Episode 2 is a setup episode. It's Westeros, so there is still your fair share of blood and intrigue, but it's clear from the cold open onward that greater things are a foot, and a certain amount of trudging is required to get there. I'm going to keep this extremely light on spoilers, touching only briefly on where the story is headed, but otherwise there is very little that has changed from my opinion of the 1st episode; if you are a fan, you will eat up every moment, and if you're not, you probably aren't reading this.
Where the first episode stuck mainly to Ironrath and King's Landing, “The Lost Lords” begins to spread the action out, touching on nearly every point of interest from the show. It's lighter on cameo appearances then the first episode, which seemed ready to put every cast member in it could, and as such, it feels even more organic, minus a convenient favor owed by the sell swords following “that Targaryen girl.” Telltale is also allowed to spread their wings a bit more with the Forresters, and by expanding that roster to include some more capable adults, the careening carriage hurtling ever closer to the precipice of war with the Whitehills feels a bit more in control, though it is obvious where the series is building too.
I think the most interesting part of the whole series so far is the meta narrative that forms by having multiple characters. Where The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us focused on Lee/Clementine and Bigby, the way Game of Thrones folds in the entire Forrester family gives the game play a feel that is at odds with the selfish nature of the show. While Telltale does a great job of writing situations that keep each character's story feeling dire and personal, a bit of the overall tension is lessened by the thought that someone else could pick up the slack. Of course, this could also lead to further disappointment when everything falls apart in the end. And naturally, I say could like there is any other way for everything to go down.
Certain conversations pull an L.A. Noire with their emotional shifts, something that is particularly noticeable when talking to stars like Peter Dinklage. Tyrion sounds like Tyrion, but it's like they recorded one set of responses, rather then different takes depending on what you decided to answer. While not terrible, it's worthy of calling out, as such moments stand out as both jarring and untruthful. In a land where there are so many good liars, this bit of emotional dishonesty doesn't belong.
The graphics engine continues to do no favors for the presentation. Movement, whether in combat or just walking around, comes off as stunted and forced. In conversations, eyes tend to either dart in strange ways, or simply stare lifelessly. It's not as bad as it was in the first episode, and if the trend continues, the deadness might be gone by the time we hit the episodes 5 or 6.
Nothing new has been added game play wise either. There's a fair bit more action in this episode thanks to our first trips both across the Narrow Sea and to Castle Black, but it's balanced out by more intrigue and King's Landing craziness. I do wish Telltale would stick to one style of QTE when it comes to the action scenes, as the switch between solid arrows and keys baring a letter and an arrow is jarring, on top of being non-intuitive for new players. There are some nice set pieces at play in this episode, especially the opening, but everything else, in both look and feel, is par for the course set two chapters in.
That's a pretty great summation for the second episode. It's par for the course. It does nothing as shocking as the end of Episode 1, yet is competent and confident in building the story, prepping the player for surprises to come. If you like Game of Thrones, “The Lost Lords” is solid, and expected given the ebb and flow of the show it follows. If you don't, on top of thanking you for bearing with this so far, I would advise you to watch the show first, and then go back to Episode 1.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!