It’s taken a while but I’ve come to realise that this Telltale Game of Thrones series has an awful lot in common with the way the television show goes about things. Especially in the way it builds its story arcs rather slowly. As the previous episodes have shown, the game has gradually reached a quality befitting of the world it is portraying, after a less than mediocre start. This fourth episode “Sons of Winter” has come at a rather critical point for all the characters involved; so let’s get down to business.
All four of the remaining controllable characters made it through “The Sword in the Darkness” relatively unscathed, even Mira, sadly. However it was an episode that cranked proceedings up a gear; with Asher taking on a dragon, Mira spinning tales to anyone who’ll listen and getting herself in more of a mess. We also saw that Gared gave his nemesis Britt a fight to the death and Rodrik stood up for his house (or not depending on your choice on level of defiance) against that cocky swine Gryff Whitehill.
As for “Sons of Winter”, well I’ll start with Mira Forrester. Surprisingly her story took some interesting turns at King’s Landing after a few sneaky conversations with new and old acquaintances. There isn’t much action going on, just plenty of conniving using lies and deceit to bleed people of useful information. It introduced us to a new Lannister whom actually seems to have a conscience of sorts, crazy eh?
You could say Asher Forrester is the star of the game, it seems as though he has benefitted from favouritism by the developers, not that it’s a bad thing. Ever since his debut in episode two, his smart-mouth antics and sword wielding encounters have helped to bring an exciting edge to the series. Once more, Asher reaps the rewards of having one of the best backdrops so far, in and around the city of Meereen. There aren’t many environments that have shone in this watercolour style they’ve gone for, except the continent of Essos which has excelled to look beautifully crafted.
Whilst we are still on the topic of Meereen, this is where the best action sequence occurs and when I say the best I mean in both length and quality. There’s an amount of sneakiness involved, wielding more than one weapon and a real scramble to halt enemies. The pacing is spot on for this scene, proving again that Asher is the lead man when it comes to an all action hero.
When you compare that to his beaten and bruised brother, Rodrik, they couldn’t be having more opposite luck. Rodrik is special in his own way though, he’s a leader with a steely determination that gets tested regularly and he’s up against it again in this one. Back at Ironrath there are decisions to be made and plans to be put into place, with a little help from a few friends. His story is that akin to an underdog, it’s uplifting at times but this is Game of Thrones, there’s always another obstacle to make things more interesting and not always in a good way.
This is arguably the best episode so far for engaging conversations, drawing in the audience (that’s you or I) and delivering much needed fighting sequences to initiate more interaction from the player. The voice acting does seem to have improved too with the introduction of new characters and featuring ones we know from the TV. However… there are still too many stutters and out of sync sounds for my liking. Come on Telltale, it’s been present in most of your episodic adventures of recent times, sort it out.
“Sons of Winter” is a must have because it’s easily the best episode to date. The bugs are irritating but must be overlooked to enjoy this terrific part of the story.