There was a lingering sense of disappointment from myself after the series opener of the Telltale Games adaptation of Game of Thrones. This has put the second episode, The Lost Lords, firmly in the spotlight to help elevate the series to the higher standard we’d expect to see. Can it fare better?
Well the quick answer is yes, there are a few ways in which The Lost Lords trumps its predecessor and I’ll get to those in due course. As a side note, I’m going to assume that you’ve at least played the first episode, so I will no longer regard any of that as potential spoilers.
After meeting Mira, Gared and little Ethan, my main problems were the connections between these and the player. Even after the untimely demise of Ethan, it barely made me shed a tear even though it was brought upon by my own hands. In this next chapter there are two more characters to create a bond with and fortunately they have brought with them some of the key things that make it more enjoyable.
The episode opens with a bang in the form of sword-for-hire and black sheep of the Forrester family, Asher. Yes, he still struggles to win me over completely with mediocre lines, but he brings a whole new city that brightens up the Thrones world. I am talking about Yunkai, a port city, which is the most vibrant environment we’ve seen so far and is the first time we’ve traversed out of Westeros.
There’s not an awful lot I can say about the other character you’ll gain control of, simply because it’s a surprise return of someone we have seen previously and presumed dead. What I will add is that this person brings a sense of sympathy from the player, I genuinely want this character to do well and their story arc, along with Asher’s, could be the most entertaining. Sadly it isn’t all good as we do have to revisit Gared and Mira too.
I’m not sure I have ever been as bored of a character as I am of Mira, to the point where I’m willing to write to the great George R.R. Martin to request that she isn’t around much longer. It’s understandable that her story is of the more manipulation style, however the writing of this just doesn’t cut the mustard for me personally. Maybe this is a victim of just how good the acting and storytelling is for the television show, that it’s super tough to develop new faces, especially when surrounded by the established names in Tyrion, Margaery and Cersei.
Gared just blends in to the rest of the random northern supporting cast with his run of the mill voiceover. But at least he takes us to Castle Black to join the Night’s Watch, and just like seeing Yunkai it adds freshness. Introducing the honourable Jon Snow and some of the foulest talking ruffians within the game, there’s a couple of laughs to be had here.
A large part of episode two is discussion, debate and arguments which you’d probably expect; there can’t be death and destruction all the time. That being said, there’s a better quality of action here than seen previously and it can be a real test of your reflexes when those quick time events pop up thick and fast.
The Lost Lords is a definite improvement, not by much but enough to at least give me hope that it could increasingly get better from now till the end. I still can’t get behind the characters that remain from episode one and I don’t think that will change because most of my issues with them are surrounding the voice acting and the scripts. Fortunately the two most recent additions to control have won me over to some degree and being able to see part of Essos was a welcome change of scenery.
Join me for the next one if you can, it’s going in the right direction.