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The Telltale Games series based on the Game of Thrones is back with its third episode, “The Sword in the Darkness”. After a slightly improved second episode, the outlook for this has become slightly more positive but it could just as easily throw a spanner in the works to undo all the good. There’s only one way to find out…

This episode focuses on four of our regularly controlled characters in Mira, Rodrik, Asher and the only non-Forrester, Gared Tuttle. If you remember episode two, Rodrik made a shocking return from a presumed death to rightfully take charge as the Lord of Ironrath. He’s still in no fit state for any kind of confrontation but that won’t matter to the troublemaking Whitehill soldiers stationed within the walls of Ironrath. Meanwhile, Asher is on the hunt in Slaver’s Bay for an army to bring back home in order to aid House Forrester in their hour of need, whilst lowly Gared begins to settle in at Castle Black. As for Mira, well she isn’t dead yet, although her political games will surely get her into more trouble.

Slowly but surely we’re getting more storytelling and sequences that are befitting of the standard we are used to, not only from Telltale Games but Game of Thrones too. Most of that is down to the goings on with Asher in Essos; ever since he’s arrived in this series there’s been an excitement boost for the player from the new surroundings and his rogue-like attitude to all situations. That doesn’t change this time as he’s involved in one hell of a three-way fight and he comes face to face with a well known character we’ve all been dying to see.

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Even Gared’s story arc takes things up a notch on the interesting meter, where I can turn a blind eye to the poor voicing. I’d like to say this is one of the trickier characters to control because you just don’t know who to trust in a supposed army of brothers but let’s be real here, in Game of Thrones and indeed this game there are very few people who wouldn’t stab you in the back. Sticking Gared at Castle Black has ensured we get some lovely views of the Wall, which is a welcome change in a game that usually hurts my eyes with poor visuals.

Rodrik was an unexpected surprise last time out and having a character that’s pretty beaten up trying to restore faith in the rest of the House is a strange dynamic. This is a story of real courage and a steely determination against a group of absolute tools, the Whitehills. Expect lots of swearing in these parts, which you certainly need in order to keep the Game of Thrones feel.

Last up is the irritating Mira whom I’m sure we are all awaiting her demise (and maybe it comes in this one, or maybe not) despite being at King’s Landing where the most cameos generally are. I understand that politics is a huge part but in comparison to the big screen I don’t believe the script nor the acting can pull off the political side without being boring. It doesn’t help that every choice made here seems like the wrong one and makes you think “I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t” so just pick one at random.

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There’s no doubt the majority of “The Sword in the Darkness” is an improvement on all that precedes it. This is mostly due to the well thought out action scenes with QTEs that will test your reactions at pressing many directions and buttons. Where it lets itself down though is on the technical side of things with the main negative being characters repeating themselves on some kind of loop.

Episode Three has restored my hope that Telltale can still turn this Game of Thrones game series into a great one and it does have another three episodes remaining to continue with the momentum it now has. If you’ve made it this far then there’s no reason to turn back now.

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