Decent, But Laboured – Game of Thrones Episode 3 – The Sword In The Darkness Review

Decent, But Laboured – Game of Thrones Episode 3 – The Sword In The Darkness Review

Telltale have been praised for their story telling ability, leading them to take on more ambitious projects. From the emotionally charged The Walking Dead, to the dark crime drama of The Wolf Among Us, Telltale know their craft.

Game of Thrones represents Telltales biggest challenge yet, a challenge that Telltale are struggling with. After two episodes of Game of Thrones, the series is still trying to find its vein of form. Episode three, The Sword in the Darkness, signifies a defining point in the series in which the games true faults become clear, and it’s success project.

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The Sword in the Darkness begins with Asher’s exploits in Mereen. Still on the run from The Lost Legion, Asher and his crew are forced into taking refuge in a cave, which just so happens to be the make-shift home of one of Game of Throne’s most famous creatures. This connection to the TV show is the first of many, mainly as this episodes catches up to the TV series.

Asher, while still possessing a whiff of ‘main character’, is demoted to the supporting cast of episode three, with the main focus being squarely set on The Wall. Gared Tuttle continues to progress on his path to becoming a brother of the Nights Watch, with more ethical and moral dilemmas emerging with each step. Both Asher and Gared walk a similar path, with their stories feeling almost like they’re mirror images of each other, but with their own unique situational issues.

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It is fair to say that the respective story lines of Asha and Gared are where the game shines. Both characters offer unique, yet familiar, tones and themes that feel distinctively Game of Thrones. The life of a Crow is is just as bleak here than it is with the show, with both forms conveying the twisted sense of family and loyalty. While Gared is a much more shrewd and humble character, Asher is a brazen and bold force. TellTale have created the same ‘ying-yang’ feel that typifies family relationships in both the book and show, while maintaining a truly organic feel.

Politics is one of Game of Thrones primary themes, and episode three revels in this. The Forrester/Whitehill storyline finally starts to pick up momentum. Mira continues to come out of the shadows, earning her place as a pivotal, if not slightly annoying, cog in the overall tale. Most of her time in episode three is spent either being yelled at, or being questioned. While the character does have a true sense of progression, the whole episode feels like it’s taken directly from any given Sansa Stark scene from the TV show during seasons one and two.

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While the cloak and dagger may be endearing, there’s often times where the pace just stops dead, only to be picked back up in a clumsy manner. By the time Mira has said played her part, she feels progressed, but limited, arguably the worst character of the core cast. In all the aspects Mira falls short in, Rodrick excels. The Game of Thrones series may only be three episodes in, but so far the choices have felt rather limited and dictated, Rodrick expels this.

The crippled, down trodden, but proud, Lord is the series best character. Episode three plays to each and every strength Rodrick possess, with decisions feeling like they genuinely matter, and most importantly, feel like something Rodrick would say or do. Unlike the other characters, Rodrick feels much more original, resulting in his story becoming a unique Game of Thrones experience. With his house in tatters, his lands occupied and his pride battered, Rodrick could be, and should be, the main attraction of the series, and episode three provides a fantastic platform for a brilliant story arc.

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Game of Thrones has had a running theme in terms of it’s issues. Technically, the game struggles. The visuals look muddy, animation jolty and the audio tends to bug out. It’s a confusing issues, other TellTale games, mainly Tales from Borderlands, perform and look decent, yet Game of Thrones struggles with each episode. TellTales game engine is showing it’s age, with Game of Thrones exposing all the weakness.

Game of Thrones episode three – The Sword In The Darkness is a solid entry, but still not the entry the series needs. Both episodes one and two set the scene, episode three is putting things in motion…but still not providing anything to get all that excited about. Game of Thrones is at crossroads, it needs to start ‘getting to the point’ instead of slowly progressing. Telltale are visibly struggling to craft four different entwining stories, the pace of the game is all over the place, and while episode three may be a slightly better paced, the issue is still present.

A good platform for the series to mature into something great, episode three feels like it could be the spark the series needs, but this could all be in vain if episode four turns out to be yet more ‘slow burning’ build up. TellTale will need to be at the top of their game to pull Game of Thrones off, with the flashes of brilliance comes a number of struggles. Episode four could be make or break.

 

 

 

 

Sean Halliday


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