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Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 3 Review

Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 3 Review

[May contain spoilers for A Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.]

You can never accuse the writers at Telltale Studios of not knowing their source material. Perhaps, in the case of Episode 3 and its take on the phenomenally popular Game of Thrones franchise, they’re cutting very close to the bone.

One wonders while playing the latest episode if the creators are vying with George R. R. Martin and his HBO cohorts in a competition for who can pour the most misery upon their characters. The central family in the Telltale’s A Game of Thrones are the Forresters who have already seen their fair share of tragedy and heartache. Victim’s at the Twins along with Robb Stark’s army, the Forresters have been struck with multiple blows so far in the series and are looking to recover from them.

By this point in the tale I (an avid Game of Thrones and Song of Ice and Fire fan) am hooked on every word and every action. Yet even those unfamiliar with either the books or TV series will find themselves drawn in by the clever writing and dialogue, a theme that has persisted throughout this series so far.

Telltale have done well to pack in as many locations, sequences and set pieces as they have into what is essentially a game that lasts only an hour and a half. I explored everything, looked at every character and examined every object and the episode still only pushed past two hours total playtime. Those two hours flew past me, though, immersed as I was.

Telltale The Sword in the Darkness Cersei

In this episode you’ll swing across various locations throughout Westeros and Essos: from the freezing wastes beyond The Wall to the baking sands of Meereen. Each is lovingly recreated to match the look and feel of the television show and the imagination of book readers. The Forresters are certainly scattered throughout the world, yet at no time does one character feel separate from the others – each storyline weaves through the other in many (sometimes beautifully subtle) ways.

The story in Episode 3 is by now starting to up the ante. Almost instantly the player is thrown into one of Telltale’s famous “him or her” key decisions on who to save. Throughout the episode plotlines thicken as characters begin to explore their backstories and reveal more to the player. There are traitors, disguised wildlings and unlikely allies abound.

The writing team behind Episode 3, and indeed the others that preceded it, have once again proven their talent. So well-crafted is the story that you’ll forget that nearly all of these characters were created purely for the game. At times I found myself wishing that some of them had made an appearance in the series or books, given how complex their backgrounds and interesting their motivations.

telltale game of thrones ep 2 1 2500x1403

Again every dialogue choice - small or large - can affect how the game plays out. An ever-present timer ticks down, too, adding to the pressure the player feels as they weigh up their answers. Of course silence is always an option (and can often be for the best), yet few will remember that when pressed by the story’s varied and colourful characters.

No more is this exemplified than in the scenes taking place at King’s Landing. Mira Forrester, handmaiden to Margaery Tyrell, is new in the ways and subtleties of Westeros’ capital. Unable to trust anyone, she (and the player) have to choose their alliances wisely, and it’s certainly challenging trying to wade through the backhand compliments, veiled insults and logical traps. It is also rewarding to watch Mira grow as a character, from a feeble handmaiden to someone becoming familiar with the game of politics.

Such growth occurs throughout for each of the main characters. Asher Forrester, a sellsword in Essos, continues to try and break free from his cheeky roguish nature in order to lead an army to save his house. Rodrick Forrester, lord of the house and maimed at the Twins, struggles against his painful injuries and the intrusion of his rivals into his hall. Gared Tuttle, former squire to the Forresters, faces a choice between loyalty to his house or to the Night’s Watch.

Action sequences, which can be found dotted here and there throughout the story, take the form of quick-time events. Most will give you plenty of time to press the required key or mash the required button. You will probably still find, though, the odd one or two which you miss. These often result in frustration at your lack of hand-eye co-ordination rather than on-screen consequences, though.


Aesthetically Episode 3 features the same comic-style cel-shading that is the hallmark of the series, and of Telltale games at large. There had been murmurings that the art style, which had suited The Walking Dead due to its comic book roots, would flounder when adapted into the world of Westeros and Essos. Telltale in turn toned down their cartoony tendencies for the new series and it appears to have paid the price. At times I was distracted by blurred backgrounds, fuzzy textures and off-looking colours, something I barely noticed when playing Telltale’s other, more stylised, titles.

Despite this the game’s characters are well designed – especially those of the main players in the Game of Thrones franchise. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion, Natalie Dormer’s Margaery and Lena Headey’s Cersei are all incredibly well-crafted character models, so true to life that it feels as if they have stepped straight from the television series and into the game. Combined with stellar voice work (from all actors), it is more than enough to distract you from small graphical hiccups.

As we reach the halfway mark in this season it’s hard to imagine the hard-done-by Forresters emerging from it unscathed ready for the second (if there is to be one). With the story ramping up and the plot chugging along, all the pieces are moving into place. Where those places are and what awaits the heroes of this tale we can only guess at until the next Episode. As is oft quoted, however: Valar Morghulis - all men must die.


9.00/10 9

Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

As we reach the halfway mark in this season it’s hard to imagine the main characters surviving for a second one. With the story ramping up and the plot chugging along, all the pieces are moving into place. As ever, a fantastic homage to the franchise and an event better game in its own right.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alex Hamilton

Alex Hamilton

Staff Writer

Financial journalist by trade, GameGrin writer by choice. Writing skills the result of one million monkeys with one million typewriters.

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