“A House In Shambles.”
As I mashed the button prompt for Rodrik Forrester to rise, I had made the decision not only to face his tormenter, but to stamp a seal on the direction I wanted. Having my bravery knocked down as I watched my opposer walk away with his head held high and the control I anticipated bestowing, slip from my hands, The Sword In The Darkness, took a completely different direction; and I was okay with it.
The third episode in Telltale’s six-part Game of Thrones series covers a lot of ground, while still spinning its wheels with various plot threads. The Sword In The Darkness starts out strong with Asher Forrester’s opening scene being a testament to where his priorities lie. His relationship with Beskha carries depth with just a few short interactions, while his uncle Malcolm, represents a good family dynamic. Evading their pursuers from the previous episode, the trio takes cover in a cave, but they aren’t alone. One aspect this episode handles extremely well is intertwining the events of the HBO series, to the Telltale’s story. For example, in season four of the show, one of Daenerys’ dragons go missing, which Asher Forrester then encounters while in the cave. An action sequence prevails in which a tough decision is presented that puts in-check, Asher’s loyalty.Back across the sea, in King’s Landing, Mira’s role grows intensely interesting. Her importance to the over-arching narrative becomes clear as her deal with Tyrion Lannister sees an end game. Yet, as unexpected tensions between Tyrion Lannister and her authority, Margaery Tyrell arise, Mira’s responsibility to get help to her family back home, turns into an issue possibly too grand for a handmaiden. Once again, a major event in the show plays a terrific background to Mira’s storyline. Though not visible, Joffery and Margaery’s wedding impacts Mira’s mission greatly, as fans of the show know, her valuable connection to Tyrion Lannister get put on hold as he remains without any means of connection. The Sword In The Darkness is a valuable episode for Mira’s past and future. The events of The Lost Lords left her looking over her shoulder, and this episode complicated her mission moving forward. Mira succeeding could be a determining fate for house Forrester.The source of the conflict inflates at Ironrath, yet watching House Forrester get beaten to their knees time and time again seems redundant. Lord Whitehill’s son, Griff arrives with a rag-tag group of scum to escalate the torment. The Forresters have already been through uncomfortable humiliation and traumatic grief in the previous two episodes. Seeing them go through it yet again, slowed the pace for the other storylines. It felt like a rehashing rather than meaningful progression. Though this may be Telltale’s way to remind us they’re still in control and this is a Thrones’ story, but for the most part it felt counterproductive. By far, the redeeming slice of Ironrath’s story is a development from a new and questionable source, which opens promising potential for lasting intrigue.
At the Wall, Gared regains his importance. The mystery of the North Grove finds direction, as things grow dire on Ironrath’s front. With Gared in charge, his purpose is much deeper than just manning the Wall. Gared’s decisions in previous episodes that alluded to consequence, can easily be made up with a few simple dialogue choices. Gaining forgiveness was far too easy. This felt like a loophole on Telltale’s part and out of context for character interaction in this universe. His act concludes with a show-stealing opportunity for revenge, which I took on happily, walking away with blood on my sword.Summary: The Sword In The Darkness is another solid Thrones’ story, plagued yet again, by inexcusable technical hiccups on Telltale’s part. I ran into crashes, spastic animations and infuriating sound issues, all while on a Playstation 4. Yet, Mira, Asher and Gared’s stories are full of potential, as is the story Telltale is presenting, which in the long run makes up for much of the technical issues. Episode three ends, leaving each of our characters in interesting places. I continue to have much hope for the second half of the season.
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