TellTale Games’ Game of Thrones: Season 1/ Episode 3 "The Sword in the Darkness" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

The focus of the episode is the Forrester family humbling itself, each character learning when to submit to another’s authority, and not burning any bridges for it may impede the willingness of potential allies.

Developer: TellTale Games

Play through Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Topic 1: Asher

Topic 2: Mira

Topic 3: Rodrik

Topic 4:  Gared

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Characters & Story

Topic 1: In Asher’s story, things are rather simple. You continue to be on the run and barely escape. Though, while trying to escape, you find yourself facing Daenaerys’ Drogon. Also, you meet with an old friend who lost his eye due to you. Something which makes it seem, among meeting Daenaerys yourself, to be yet another obstacle which may mean Asher will either not make it in time, or just by the skin of his teeth.

Topic 2: In King’s Landing, your decision with Damien, and your relationship with Tyrion, is causing all sorts of problems. For me, I spoke to Tyrion behind Margaery’s back, and this both angered her and Cersei, making when Joffrey’s death comes around, I am all but screwed. However, it seems Tom, the coal boy, maybe my one true ally. For while Sera seems to might have my back, as Margaery contemplates replacing me, I know there is only but so much she will be willing to do as she pursues marrying into a noble house.

Topic 3: Back home at Ironrath, it seems the decline of House Forrester continues. Lord Whitehill’s 4th oldest son has arrived and, according to Gwyn, he comes to provoke us. Something he constantly does and, on top of his demands, we learn from Gwyn there is a traitor in our midst. As for who it is? Well, no hints are dropped. What is known, though, is that they are on the council and with the lord being embarrassed by an outsider in public, it could be anyone prepping to secure their safety for the eventual battle at Ironrath.

Topic 4: At the wall, Gared learns of his task and receive from Duncan a map and a lot of guidance on how to reach the North Grove. Alongside this, Finn and Cotter are still at each other’s throats, and both seek your friendship, almost exclusively. Finn because he doesn’t have anyone, even family, and Cotter because he is a wildling, and appreciates your loyalty.

However, with both Finn and Cotter learning of the North Grove, alongside Britt showing up, there are a lot of issues which are bigger than local politics. Especially since you’ll be deciding the fate of two men.

Commentary

Before any of the praise the episode deserves, I must note one major bit of criticism: The false perception of choice and control. In comparison to Life Is Strange, something I don’t understand about this series, which unfortunately I had to play through again from episode one, is that it gives you limited periods of control to walk a few feet, and then a cut scene. What is the point in that? Especially when, more often than not, you aren’t really rewarded for snooping around, looking at things in your environment, or what have you?

My grievances aside, story wise the game starts to pick up the pace and presents realistic threats to not only the safety of House Forrester but each member which contributes to the house. Alongside that, as some alliances are forged, and some burnt to flame, we are beginning to get that Game of Thrones vibe where all decisions could mean life or death. Take for example Mira and Rodrik’s story. Mira making deals with Tyrion, upsetting Margaery, as well as Cersei, and maybe making an alliance with a merchant, all of this could either sway things in House Forrester’s favor or make it so one day Tom may not be able to save you.

Then with Rodrik, you are presented a multitude of reasons to start a war, yet you are given the opportunity for peace by Gwyn. Which could very well be a trick, but it is hard to say. Though with her giving up there is a traitor among you, of which it could really by anyone, the politics which makes the show so intriguing are starting to arrive. To the point, I’m sure some will end up rewinding back to points as they learn the consequences of their actions.

But, even with all this praise said, I must admit that comparisons are lowering the value of the game. For, before Life Is Strange, there wasn’t any game I knew of to compare to what TellTale had to offer. So with both games coming out the same week, I find myself wondering if TellTale could do better. After all, they aren’t dealing with original properties, and I’m sure they have the creators, and the cast, able to help them to a certain point. So a part of me hopes as more companies invest in episodic content, they don’t get complacent just because they have major name recognition behind their games.

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