Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords – A Review

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I played the premiere episode of Telltale’s venture into Game of Thrones on the PS3 when it released back in December. Since then I have procured a PS4, and before playing through the new episode, I made sure to revisit “Iron from Ice” on the newer console. It proved a much more pleasant experience performance-wise, and provided the added benefit of freshening all plot points in my mind before heading into “The Lost Lords”.

First up, some general thoughts on Telltale. I suppose I would call myself a fan of their games, having played through both seasons of The Walking DeadBack to the FutureThe Wolf Among Us, and the premiere episode of Tales from the Borderlands. While not as vehemently opposed as many to Telltale’s decisions/directions of late, I do firmly echo the growing consensus that the studio’s games are drifting more and more towards visual novel fare rather than the interactive (imagine that) point-and-click adventures of the past.

We were all waiting to meet Asher after the premiere. While not as volatile as I expected after Lady Forrester’s appraisal of him in “Iron from Ice”, he was successfully introduced as the necessary wildcard best suited to thwart the Whitehills’ scheming. On the introduction scene as a whole, however, my opinion sways. While bombastic, exciting, and brilliantly reminiscent of the great fight scenes in The Wolf Among Us, it felt slightly off. As much as I loved it (and it was so, so thrilling), all I could think of while playing was the opening of Uncharted 3. You could substitute Nate and Sully into the Yunkish brawl and the scene would play out the exact same way, right down to the witty banter and over-the-top takedowns. Don’t get me wrong, the scene was good… it just didn’t feel like it belonged in the world of Thrones. In addition, the dialogue was noticeably clunky, and initially teased a sour taste for what was to come. Luckily, the rest of the episode didn’t follow suit.

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Mira is one of the more interesting characters to me (or perhaps it’s just her situation in King’s Landing), and the cast she plays off is strong. I appreciated the writers’ restraint in keeping Cersei out of this episode – she really wasn’t needed. I wish I could say the same for Tyrion, however. His inclusion in this episode was baffling, to say the least. Also, I’m not a fan of whatever the writers are trying to do with him… it’s as if they’re trying to convey Tyrion’s shrewdness by just confusing the player about what in seven hells he’s even talking about.

If nothing else, Mira’s sections provide nice character moments for Margaery, during which we see the shields come down and her more tender, vulnerable nature assert itself.

Back home at Ironrath, Rodrik lives! This was a pleasant surprise, and I really appreciated the fleshing out of a man who had seemed like a throwaway plot device in the premiere episode. Thematically, a lot of the material here was rehashed from Ethan’s brief reign as lord – Ramsay’s a prick, Whitehill’s a prick, our Ironwood is great etc. It is excusable though, out of the necessity to put some meat on Rodrik’s resurrected bones. Oh, and I won the wedding proposition, yay!

Gared’s sections at the Wall were my favourites overall, but I am admittedly a stickler for anything Wall-related anyway. Funnily enough, Jon reacted with far more emotion in his to and fro with Gared over the Red Wedding than he did in his Season 4 scene with Sam. Still, I liked Kit Harington’s work here. It was understated but firm.

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This episode also heralded the introduction of new Wall character Frostfinger, who I have a few thoughts on. I’m a fan of his character design – weathered, brittle, with a steely streak and a great voice. Surprisingly, he was a lot more nuanced than your run-of-the-mill drill sergeant character. But that’s where I take issue. We already have an atypical drill sergeant in Alliser Thorne. It was so blaringly obvious that Telltale for one reason or another couldn’t include Thorne, so they made up a Thorne replacement and dumped him into the same role. Also, I was under the impression that my Gared was getting on relatively well with Frostfinger, only for the following dialogue option to appear when talking to Jon: [“He seems to have it out for me.”]. Oh, you want me to not like him, I guess? I must be making the wrong choices in your allegedly choice-based game.

As a coda to my Wall musings, I’d like to raise a Telltale-ism that reared its ugly head and disgusted me. I tried to stay neutral during the confrontation between Cotter and Finn. I had previously mentioned to Cotter that he should return the knife, but I also didn’t rat him out when Finn began his tirade. I initially refused to be antagonistic towards Finn, and chose [Don’t move] as a means of neutrally preventing a fight from breaking out. I guess Telltale knows my own brain better than I do, because before I knew it I was forced to repeatedly punch Cotter in the face, and was informed at the end of the episode that I stood up for Cotter against Finn. Ok.

While quite solid as a singular chapter, this episode did feel like another pseudo-beginning, in that from now on, the wheels will grind harder and the plot will gain much more forward momentum. The ending only added to that sentiment.

And the ending was perfect.

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The nitpicker in me wants to complain about the style and cadence of the song being anachronistic, but I’ll let it slide for how beautiful it was. Talia’s song (the lyrics of which vary slightly depending on some of your choices throughout both episodes) provides a sombre albeit rousing finale to “The Lost Lords”. With the funeral as a backdrop – we actually see a Northern funeral for once as the private family affair it is – and the underlying oaths of renewed vengeance, it’s almost a musical mirror to The Rains of Castamere.

In case I’ve given the wrong impression and despite my negativity, I loved the episode! I don’t believe in giving ratings, but take it from me that amidst some typical Telltale shakiness, “The Lost Lords” further cements this game as an experience that any Thrones fan should enjoy.

If you haven’t already (and if that’s the case, what did you read this for?!), check out Shylah’s review of Episode 1: Iron from Ice.

27 responses

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    1. Still waiting for it to be released for my Kindle Fire HDX. I bought the season pass before I knew anything about Telltale’s release schedule and history of longer delays on Kindles. I just hope it is released sometime in the next couple of weeks.

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    2. Me: yaay, I’m riding the elevator with Jon, this is awesome, I think I did the right thing down there with the two-… oh yeah right, Jon, I was at the Red Wedding, sorry, Robb was a good…
      Jon: he was good at everything

      BAMM, right in the feels.

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    3. COMPLETELY disagree with the song at the end… I couldn’t help but cringe at how literal the lyrics were – almost as if the ‘grief-stricken’ girl had been the person playing the game.

      I’m really just waiting for the ‘new material’ and for things to really get interesting (events from AFFC, ADwD and so on).

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    4. My choices weren’t properly carried over, but I tried to adjust for it. Apparently this happened to a lot of people who were playing it on xbox one. Did this happen to anyone else?

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    5. I’m not reading the article/above comments because I can’t, but does anyone know when episode 2 comes out on kindle? I bought the season pass in January and it hasn’t even come out yet :(((

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    6. Guys – only ever buy Videogames on Steam if its an option. I’m not a fanboy – actually I am, I’m a Nintendo fanboy – but in terms of playability and price and all of that jazz – just only ever buy steam games when possible. To Paraphrase Kvothe – “ONE LIBRARY!”

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    7. Reema,

      I did read an article on IGN that the game has a problem to transfer your choices to the next episode on Xbox One.

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    8. I love the story and the slow buildup of each characters depth, but the controls won’t work correctly all the time and I have to play, especially the fight scenes 2 or 3x until my commands are accepted.
      My personal new favorite is Asher and Beska (she can be my bodyguard anytime) never seen scars appear so sexy on a woman warrior. Mira runs a close second, maybe because I love the intrigue of Kings Landing and the decisions we make with her are more nuanced and will affect the game farther down the story. Hopefully Marg will in the show give fans a shout out to whichever handmade is her by actually saying her name.
      I just realized something, if an episode is released once every other month, the first season for the game will not conclude until this fall.

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    9. I have seen the entire gameplay on youtube, as im beyond the age of gaming but i played a LOT of adventure games back in late 90s, early 2000s; a lot of sophisticated and pretty hard games which required some real thinking and making decisions (check out Dark Earth).

      It looks great and I really enjoyed watching this” game ” because of its new story and being related to the show/books at the same time, but to me this is really not a game! Its more like an animated movie, with slightly different outcomes or paths to get to the same ending. You just click and watch the different scenarios, there is not really much to do or control! Someone said in a comment ” I just beat the game” !

      I dont really think this is a “beatable game” ! Again its not really so much of a game!

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    10. Enjoyed Episode 2

      Even if it is “inspired” at best and a “rip-off” of a game I haven’t played, the Asher scene at the start was quite enjoyable, they seem to be trying to put him up as 2nd born son-turned Han Solo Mercenary type thing, so they needed to barfight to show firstly what kind of life he leads and secondly that there is a real vacuum in the east

      Tyrions presence makes sense from the perspective that there is an over-arching theme of the Forresters using the Crown to override the Boltons to outmaneaveur and gain leverage over the Whitehills just as the Whitehills used the new Wardens to gain leverage to their advantage – Same with Margaery

      Rodrik slightly re-visiting the issues faced via Ethan makes sense, thematically as Ethan has been killed Rodrik has risen from the dead but is pseudo crippled just as House Forrester, the using-the-sister-as-a-crutch is the slow reversing of the decline faced via Ethan and marks the slow re-ascendancy of House Forrester, eg Soldiers are allowed in by Ramsay, Rodrik stands up to them and puts them in their place, under Ethan the two sentinel-candidates quarrel and come apart, Rodrik cracks their heads together. People are deserting under Ethan, Rodrik starts re-building alliances and their army, Ethan had to kowtow to Ramsay, Rodrik can but there is the option to start re-building the pride of the House by not kissing Whitehills ring etc etc

      And so we will then build on that in E3 onwards

      As for the Wall, I was similarly trying to play neutral between Finn and Cotter but it ended up as “pro-Cotter”. I reckon Finn is supposed to be like Grenn who Jon thought with initially. Frostfinger is likeable, presumably by this point Throne is no longer a drill-seargent under Mormont and has risen to acting LC so wouldn’t be welcoming new recruits in. I had similar issues in that I was honest etc but I don’t think he is an exact copy of Thorne, eg he seems to respect Jon Snow and can come to respect Gared IMO

      Lastly I enjoyed the song at the end, it might be a tad corny computer game wise but it’s supposed to be a pseudo-fable and it is a private family ceremony so it would have specifics in

      We await the Butterfly effect but so far decisions don’t effect the over-arching plot too much, on the one hand they are bound by GoT/ASOIF canon with the main characters. if it was a fully priced game perhaps they would put the resources in but it is a smallish game and I’ve heard they’ve got a fair few other games on their plate.

      That aside it is a great job they are doing and you feel the tension

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    11. Following show canon, Alliser Thorne would technically be acting as Lord Commander by this point, so it’s reasonable to assume someone else would take up his duties training the recruits. Following book canon, he wouldn’t even be back at Castle Black yet. Not to mention, Tyrion, Cersei, Margaery, Jon and Ramsay are the only characters they’ve had appear from the show so far, (Dany later, but that’s about it, I reckon), so Ser Alliser is minor enough that they’re not going to bother having him if they don’t have to.

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    12. Sorry, not reading the review in case of spoilers because I’m waiting to buy all six episodes together. Couple of questions though. Thanks in advance.

      Is it actually better to buy each episode separate or is there is a discount combo pack once all released? I’ve never played TWD either but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a “Season One” single price pack on the store.

      Does each episode have a Platinum trophy or just each Season?

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    13. I played the second the other day. It’s great but it felt shorter than the first. I really liked the new brother and his comrade rocked and looked convincing too, I liked that she was bigger than him.

      The best parts were the kings landing sections for me as it felt like you were making more decisions based on the dialogue and therefore more choices. I liked the added backstory with the daughter too and the funeral song was a good way to end it with the montage.

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    14. Nick_Scryer,

      If you buy the season pass right now, it works out that you get one episode free compared to buying them all separately.

      However, there are always price drops on Telltale games a few months after they launch, so at this stage you might be better off waiting for one.

      And there’s only a platinum trophy for the full season. But it’s one of the easiest platinums you’ll ever get, as are all Telltale platinums. All you have to do in GoT is finish the game and it’ll unlock.

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    15. I liked the Game a lot… However, the audio bugs are really a pain in the

      ASS!

      I hope telltale fixes this soon. Otherwise, this will be my last telltale game.

      I can’t really agree to the critic of the first Asher scene, though. it really feels like the classic heroic pub brawl, indeed. But as GRRM’s books feel like a classic fantasy novel, you still won’t critisize him of plagiarism. I guess, the more RPGs you play, the more familiar situations you will encounter…

      the decisions seem to matter only for some extra video sequences.

      If you kiss the ring, you get some diealogue with Ryon at the funeral, and that’s it.

      There is a story to be told and one’s decisions just vary some side arcs…

      As for Eleana:

      Now, what a great wife! Only marries me, if she is forced by a (forged) royal letter or if I offer half of my assets as dowry. Where the hell is the “slap her” option? 😀

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    16. I loved the episode. My only issue is that it is very glitchy on my xbox360.
      Oh, and I won the proposal, but I was distracted briefly and got my butt kicked by Finn.

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    17. Talia’s song was so incredible beautiful, I loved it & again enjoyed this episode very, very much!

      So glad Rodrik’s still alive, I’m happy we can still play as a/the Lord of Ironrath (already loved this with Ethan), also enjoyed very much Gared’s parts (his conversation with Jon made me sad), Asher’s adventures in Essos (Good to see some havoc in Yunkai, and not just hearing about it) and Mira’s mysterious meeting was very intense!

      Now I can’t wait for Ep. 3! 😀

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    18. I am doing my first play through of these games through my twitch livestream. If you are interested in talking about possible theories in the chat come check it out later ehe.

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    19. “Don’t Move” isn’t neutral.

      You are telling an aggressor that he can not have what he wants because you are putting your body in the way of his desires. Attempting to prevent a conflict IS sticking up for Cotter. It isn’t in any way neutral.

      In the event there were two choices. Allow Cotter to get beat up, or don’t allow Cotter to be beat up. If you attempt to do the former, you didn’t stick up for Cotter. If you attempt to do the latter, you are sticking up for Cotter (whatever your actual intentions are, that is the effect of your action.)

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