Thrones has always been known for it’s grand representation of cause and effect on a wide-spread scale. Lost Lords, episode two in the six part adventure epic, is a testament to Telltale’s understanding of Game of Thrones as a whole, along with the portrayal of controllable cause and effect. Lost Lords is a good installment in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world, and justifies putting money down on the season pass for fans drooling for the return of the show. It’s an appetizer for Game of Thrones season five and book six, yet has the potential to become a meal.
The standard 90 minute runtime covers a lot of plot-lines. We’re introduced to more characters who play, or will play, a prominent role in House Forrester. Jumping back and forth between the four playable characters allowed for experiencing lots of Westeros, both new and familiar places. The segment-like structure of the game, similar to both the show and books, works great and allowed developers the opportunity to efficiently cover ground. Although this dynamic is great, it comes off slightly cut and dry. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, just less eventful than the pilot episode.
This episode acts more as an expository insight into the Forresters, rather than an epic experience that branches every which way. Lost Lords stays small, building off the first episode. Early on, we’re introduced to Asher Forrester, the brave and bull-headed brother mentioned in the first episode. He lives up to those expectations with a series of quicktime-events that showcase his brutal, cocky, yet likable personality that sparks intrigue. Keeping him company, a fellow bounty hunter companion is also introduced. Her character isn’t given much to do besides slashing down rival sell swords, but I have good reason to believe she will have more to contribute in later episodes.
On the other side of the world, in a much chillier setting, Gared Tuttle arrives at The Wall. A rehashing of Jon Snow’s induction into the Night’s Watch for Tuttle greatly slows the pacing. It’s a shame so much time was wasted covering ground that has already been fully fleshed out in the show. Knowing the game is made, expecting the viewer to be caught up with the show, is even more perplexing. More quicktime-events and already covered conversation between the Night’s Watch were far from productive and made most of the time spent with Tuttle feel unnecessary.
Meanwhile, at House Forrester, an extremely well executed series of sequences involving grief, played out. During these scenes you play as Rodrik Forrester, a surprising and unexpected addition to the playable cast. Rodrik adds a great dynamic to the state of House Forrester, offering a shoulder to cry on for the grieving family. The events of the first episode left the Foresters in a tough spot both emotionally and with the rising Bolton conflict. Rodrik steps in to resolve things and to comfort his family. It’s in these scenes that the Lost Lords find themselves.
The widespread effect each playable has is there, but gets side-showed by what Telltale deems more important. A few of the big decisions I made in episode one felt like they had no impact on episode two, even if their plot lines remained paramount. For a decision based game, I felt not much carried over from the season premiere. My own perception of these characters and world seemed to be one of the only things that remained relevant.
Unlike Wolf and the Walking Dead, Telltale has spread their stories throughout a world that is constantly shifting characters. The separation of characters that played prominent roles by one another’s side in the first episode, make their break of plot lines feel slightly disjointed. It’s not as much of a problem as it is one more way for the game writers to include another aspect of the HBO show. In the show characters part ways all the time, some indefinitely, those goodbyes work because they’re strong enough to carry the weight of their story. In the game, the Forresters aren’t strong enough yet to take standalone charge of the narrative like many of the show’s characters are. This worries me, for I can see this problem growing over the corse of the season.
As usual, Telltale’s engine gets a bit of a pass from me as I look to their writing and characters first. With those factors standing on slightly shaky ground, it’s apparent the game doesn’t look great. Coming from someone who has stood up for their buggy engine, time and time again, I would love to see an improvement. In the case of the Lost Lords it’s still excusable, and as long as improvements are made, story wise, I have no reason to be concerned.
Lost Lords is good. The inclusion of the two new main characters gives the game a grander sense that is right at home with the source martial. A tale of bubbling revenge and unjustness bring a bleak, yet welcomed look to an already cruel and unforgiving universe. A few noticeable problems that stick out take away from what the game is working toward; these problems reminded me I’m playing the game, rather than watching the polished HBO show. It needs to do more to live up to it’s license than just character cameos and shocking deaths. What that perfect solution is, remains in the hands of the developer, leaving me to just sit back and hope for the best.
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