Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness Review (PS4)

On the last episode of Game of Thrones you were introduced to two new characters, both members of House Forrester that you were able to play as, as well as a few other characters sprinkled in. Just like in true Game of Thrones fashion, some of these new characters you can trust and others you can’t. You can read my reviews episode 1 and episode 2, but be warned there might be some spoilers. I have to say that after the release of Tales from the Borderlands this month I wasn’t really expecting a Game of Thrones release but was pleasantly surprised so here’s what I thought about this episode.

Episode 3 picks up right where episode 2 left off. Asher is still trying to get back home so that he can help save House Forrester, but of course he isn’t going to get home just yet. Asher, Beshka, and Asher’s Uncle find themselves in a bunch of trouble this episode and by the end will meet up with one of my all time favorite Game of Thrones characters.

Back at Ironrath, the Whitehill soldiers are still occupying the keep as well as Lord Whitehills not so important son Griff. As you can probably already tell, Rodrik and Griff don’t exactly get along and see eye to eye. In this episode you’ll have to either stand up to another Whitehill or bow your head down in obedience. Rodrik will also get a tip from another Whitehill (how many damn Whitehill’s are there!) about a betrayer in his most trusted council. Who’s the betrayer, you won’t find out during this episode although I have my suspicions and I have since the first episode because I didn’t trust this person.

At the wall, Gared takes his vows and his place as a Ranger in the Night’s Watch. During his time Gared will get a surprise visit from his Uncle and have to decide if he’ll stay true to the Night’s Watch or pursue finding the mysterious North Grove. Not only will Gared have to make that hard decision, but more hard decisions come his way as the man who murdered his sister and father will show up at the wall.

Depending on how you’ve played Mira throughout the first two episodes could leave Margaery acting more like Cersei towards you if you’ve been meeting with Tyrion. Who knew that Margaery could actually be like that, I certainly didn’t see that coming although I was kinda shitty to her. While Mira doesn’t have that big of a role during this episode there are still some major things happening in Kings Landing. This part of the episode will take place during the Royal Wedding so if you haven’t watched the show or read the books and you have no idea what actually happens at the Royal Wedding, I would suggest not playing this episode.

I thought this episode was a bit longer then the last and seemed less rushed then episode 2. I’m liking the character developments with Asher and Rodrik as well as playing the game in Kings Landing with Mira. If I’m playing it successfully I really have no idea, but it’s actually really fun. As for Gared, he has to be my least favorite character in this whole game. If it wasn’t for his knowledge of the North Grove there wouldn’t even be a reason to be following him around. While I am liking the scenes that are taking place at the wall, I’m just not really into this character. I will say this though, that one of my favorite scenes from this episode did take place at the wall. I don’t want to spoil it, but it does take place towards the end of the game and if you make the right choices you could be imitating a scene from 300. Overall I enjoyed this episode and am eager to see how the second half of the season plays out.

As with the other two episodes, the playability is basically the same but there was the edition of some more quick time scenes which made things more interesting. Unlike the second episode, the problems with loading times wasn’t really all that bad. I only had a problem once where I thought the game had stalled when it was loading, but it then quickly resumed. I’m still not a big fan of these little bugs and glitches not being fixed, but it seems that at this point Telltale isn’t going to do anything about them.

Now my least favorite part of this game series, the graphics. Even though I’m trying to get used to the cartoon version of Game of Thrones, the overall blurry backgrounds and just constant blurry edges is just making this game frustrating. I know for sure that this isn’t going to be fixed with this season but I’m hoping that the blurry graphics will be fixed by the time the next season rolls around.

There are a standard 8 trophies for this game that you’ll just get by playing the game. No need to play any particular way, just play how you want to get the trophies.

As with all Telltale games, this game is multiplayer free.

Overall I give this episode a 3.5 out of 5

What’s Great:
+ Interesting story that is developing through the episodes.
+ Nice character development for Asher and Rodrik.
+ Some pretty cool scenes that take place at the Wall.

What’s Not So Great:
The graphics are really disappointing and taking away from the overall game at this point.
An improvement of the bugs and glitches from the second episode but not a real fix for them.

Because of the time frame with the show and this game, I’m thinking the next episode is going to take a little while to be released. While this episode kind of came out of nowhere I’m not expecting episode 4 any time soon. The graphics are still a big problem for me along with the blandness of Gared, but I’m eager to see how the rest of the season plays out.

SPOILERS! Below are the choices that I made for the third episode.

Game of Thrones

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Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords Review (PS4)

Previously on Game of Thrones, you were introduced to House Forrester along with a variety of different characters. As with the actual show, Iron from Ice was chock full of murder, backstabbing, and mystery. You can read my full review of episode 1 here. After waiting months for episode 2 to come out, here’s what I thought about it.

Picking up just about right where you left off in episode 1, you are immediately introduced to Asher Forrester. He’s the one that you heard about in episode one but was never introduced to. Turns out that since his exile to Yunkai he turned into a mercenary. After the events of the first episode, Asher is needed back home and because you do that for family even after they exiled you, Asher and his right hand woman Beshka will be heading back to Ironrath. I don‘t expect them to be in Ironrath any time soon and am thinking that this will be the closing of the first season of this game.

In true Game of Thrones fashion you’ll also get to play as someone who you thought was dead in Episode 1. Turns out he’s not so dead after all and has returned to Ironrath by what seems like pure coincidence. Things are pretty messed up in Ironrath after the murder of Ethan and the occupation of Whitehill soilders. Right away you’ll make some tough choices that impact not only your whole family but your holdings as well as the people who you govern.

Once again you’ll also resume the role of Gared Tuttle who has finally made it to the wall and is ready to become a ranger. The way his story plays out is almost an exact copy to how Jon Snow’s story played out on Game of Thrones. I found this to be a little unoriginal and thought it took away from the actual story. Whereas he could have been giving something new, TellTale decided to go and just retell a story that has already been done.

Finally you’ll go back to King’s Landing to play as Mira. After last episode you’ll have to make some pretty hard choices and depending on how you played last episode Margery might not be all that happy with you this time around. Mira is constantly being nagged by her mother to get help for House Forrester in some way so it’s up to you who you stay loyal to. Will you be loyal to your family or to Margery? If you’re going to be loyal to your family at what cost are you willing to do it?

Overall the story for this episode was as interesting as any Game of Thrones TV episode. I truly enjoy the plot twists, the backstabbing, and the unexpected characters. The only real problem I had with the story was that it seemed like even though they wanted to make Gared Tuttle an important character since he knows the secret of The North Grove, they’re giving him a story that closely related to Jon Snow. I don’t see why he couldn’t be given his own original story and still be an important character. This route that they’re going makes Gared boring. I also want to note that this episode felt a little on the rushed side. Scenes that felt like they should be longer felt like they were cut short, making the overall episode play out way to quick.

Playability wise this game was similar to the last but there were a few bugs and glitches that returned. Last episode I had hope that Telltale had actually fixed things like loading times and other things that plagued their Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us series on PS3, but some of them returned on this episode. The initial loading time took more then 3 minutes. No joke, I sat in front of my black TV screen debating if I had to restart my PS4, then when the little loading wheel came up it lagged and you were able to hear the voice overs for the recap of episode 1 before the picture even started playing. The rest of the game was fine with loading times, but this problem returned again at the end when you seen the brief coming soon scene.

When it comes to the graphics I would really like to know what the hell is going on. As much as I wanted to be immersed in the story, I just couldn’t. I’m not one to harp on graphics or anything and I’m mostly about the game’s story but this was just bad. The graphics were just disappointing with the constant blurred edges and backgrounds along with the pixilation that happened during certain points of the game. It feels like this game isn’t even worthy of the PS4 graphics wise.

Game of Thrones Episode 2Game of Thrones Episode 2
Game of Thrones Episode 2Game of Thrones Episode 2

Trophy wise you’ll get the standard 8 trophies just for playing. You don’t have to do anything special, find any collectibles, or make certain choices. Just play the game how you want to play it and you’ll get all 8 trophies.

This game is thankfully multiplayer free.

Overall I give this episode a 2.5 out of 5

What’s Great:
+ Nice plot twists and the introduction of new playable characters.
+ Interesting story for the most part.

What’s Not So Great:
The return of some annoying glitches that should have been worked out by now.
Some scenes felt rushed while others dragged on a little too long.
Bland story for Gared Tuttle.
Just horrible graphics. Not even close to what you would expect on a PS4.

To tell you the truth even though the story is good, I’m becoming a little disappointed in this game. Not only is each episode taking a hell of a long time to be released, it seems like it isn’t even being done right. While the story for the most part is interesting and well done it seems like the story for Gared Tuttle was just thrown in there for the hell of it. Also the graphics. I mean seriously who thought this was acceptable to be released like this? At the moment I’m regretting even purchasing the season pass for this game.

SPOILERS! Below are the choices that I made for the second episode.

Game of Thrones Episode 2

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The Problem with Episode Based Games

As you probably already know, I love games like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. The only problem I have with these types of games is that they’re initially released as episodes. While there’s nothing wrong with games that are episode based, these games allow you to play an interactive story in a short amount of time, the only problem I have is that there really isn’t any kind of consistency when it comes to the release dates.

The lack of consistency with the release dates is a pretty big problem with these types of games. The time it takes for each episode comes out only takes away from the game. The majority of gamers aren’t even going to remember what happened the last time that they played an episode of one of these games as they play other games and wait for these episodes to come out. Take Tales from the Borderlands for example. The first episode was released November 25th, but the second episode doesn’t even have a release date. It’s been over two months already and to be honest I really can’t even remember all that much about the first episode. The same goes for Game of Thrones. I know the new episode releases today, but I’m basically clueless when it comes to the story line of the game and what’s going on.

Another problem that goes along with the lack of consistency with the release date is that many people, myself included, have already paid for season passes. I’ve shelled out the $19.99 and the $24.99 for Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones only to have played 1 episode of each game without even knowing any kind of time frame for the other episodes. This makes me think that the games aren’t being held for suspense reasons or to give time between episodes, but because these episodes haven’t even been made. So now buying a season pass means that I’m paying for these games to be developed? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Companies develop games, getting the money however they get their money, and then I pay for the game giving companies their well earned money for a great game. Buying these season passes are making me feel like I’m supporting a Kickstarter operation that needs more funds to complete the game.

Kudos: A kudos has to be given for the Life is Strange team. The first episode came out this past Friday as well as a steady release date schedule. This is a major bonus and makes for a good argument to actually buy the season pass. Only time will tell if they actually stick to this schedule, but at least they’re giving something other then the standard “Coming Soon…”

Final Verdict? I’m kind of done with these season passes for episode based games, especially games from TellTale. Although I’m always eager to play these types of games and they turn out to be some of my favorites, I can’t see spending my hard earned money on just a piece of a game until the other pieces are released without even knowing some kind of release date. I’ll be fine getting the game once it comes out on disc and then playing when it’s convenient for me.

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Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice Review (PS4)

I absolutely love Game of Thrones. I never miss an episode and when I watch it’s the only thing that I do. For this show alone I put down my PS Vita and take a break from gaming. That should tell you just how much this show means to me. I’ve seen the other Game of Thrones game that came out for the PS3, but let’s be honest it looked like crap so I skipped it. When I heard TellTale was doing a Game of Thrones game, I knew it had to be done right so here’s what I thought about the first episode:

The main story of the game revolves around House Forrester which you don’t see in the show. This makes sense since die hard fans of the show, like myself, aren’t upset that you’re changing the course of the show. The episode takes place between the happenings of the epic Red Wedding and the Royal Wedding episodes of the TV show. In this first episode you’ll get the chance to play three different characters, just like the show this episode is filled with a bunch of characters and you’ll probably remember half of them.

You’ll first play as Garred Tuttle, promoted squire of Lord Forrester. You’ll see his journey starting at the Red Wedding and make some pretty serious choices that alter the course of his whole life. Are you making the right decisions? The wrong ones? Just like with the actual show it’s never really clear what’s right and what’s wrong in this game. Events of the game force Garred to be sent to The Wall and you’ll have to see where that goes in the next episode.

The second character you’ll get to play is Ethan Forrester. Due to the events of the Red Wedding and House Forrester backing the Starks, you’ll be the new lord. Still a child, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions on how to rule your newly acquired lands. Do you do things to please your family or your people? How are those choices going to effect everyone who now depend on you to make the hard decisions.

Finally you’ll get to play as the eldest daughter of House Forrester Mira. Mira is currently serving as a hand maiden to Margaery Tyrell in Kings Landing. Of course this is one of the big draws to the game since you’ll actually get to now interact with major Game of Thrones characters like Margaery, Cersei, and Tyrion. Since you backed the Starks you’re not trusted in Kings Landing, big surprise, and you’ll have to appease everyone and convince them that you’re not a threat all while trying to help our your struggling family.

The overall story of this game was interesting and played nicely if you’re a fan of the show or of the book series. I like the new direction that TellTale is going in where you switch narratives back and forth between characters. It works for this type of game because the show does the same thing and the transition is flawless. I’m eager to see where the story goes especially after the ending that the first episode delivered. Not to spoil anything, I’ll just say that I thought it was a bold move and was totally shocked by the events that took place.

The overall playability of this game wasn’t bad. There really wasn’t all that much walking around or looking around like typical TellTale games. It was mostly story and decision based, but at least the game ran without lag time or loading freezes and the game itself was free from those pesky bugs that plague TellTale games.

Now onto the graphics. Usually I’m not one to complain about the graphics of a game, but the usual TellTale cartoon style graphics just didn’t work for this game. It made the game seem like a Game of Thrones Saturday Morning Cartoon special instead of something the actually had to do with the show. A lot of the times this took from the actual story of the game as I thought about how horrible it looked while playing. Not to mention that the textures were off, a lot of scenes were overly dark, and there was a whole lot of pixelation going on. This all took away from the story which was really good.

As far as trophies goes, this is a TellTale game so you can expect 1 trophy for each chapter as well as 1 for completing the game which gives you a total of 8 new trophies to add to your collection. Play the whole 6 episodes of the game and you’ll walk away with a brand new platinum trophy. Once again the images for the trophies are unimaginative and bland. I wish they would put as much thought into the images as they do for the names of the trophies.

As always no multiplayer, so nothing to report on that front.

Overall I give this episode a 3.5 out of 5

What’s Great:
+ Game stays true to the show and brings an interesting new story along with it.
+ No lag, bugs, or other glitches.
+ Interesting new characters and fan favorite characters from the show.

What’s Not So Great
Cartoon like graphics take away from the overall game.
Texture problems and pixelation problems are a huge downfall.

The cliffhanger ending will keep you on the edge of your seat and wishing that you waited for all of the episodes to come out before playing since who knows when episode 2 will be out. I eagerly await the next episode just to see what actually happens next and hope that they clear up some of the issues with the graphics.

SPOILERS! Below are the choices that I made for the first episode.

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice Choices

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