Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode Two: The Lost Lords (PS4) Review

[Spoilers contained below, you are warned!]

Telltale’s second episode in the Game of Thrones game series has recently hit the networks and has already bared its necks to Ilyn Payne. Telltale has already shown their prowess with their ability to craft together a morose tale from the moment the first episode starts up. Can Telltale recapture the charm with Episode Two: The Lost Lords, or is it time to sound the horn of winter’s past?

game of thrones e2 jon snow

The second episode of Game of Thrones, titled The Lost Lords opens with Asher Forrester in the city of Yunkai shortly after the liberation at the hands of Daenerys Targaryen. He’s looking to recruit a army of sellswords, or at least anyone who would fight for him in exchange for coin, to bring home to his house. What’s an easy way for a man to gain two golden dragons to rub together? Capturing slave masters and selling them back to anyone willing to pay, or so Asher seems to believe. After such a trade that goes south, leading to an unfortunate event involving his bounty as well as the sellswords that were willing to pay, Asher rendezvouses with his uncle, Malcolm Branfield, who explains the situations at hand and offers to bring him as well his mercenary partner Beskha back to Ironrath.

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Asher’s encounter going bad is one of the primary spots of combat in Game of Thrones: Episode Two: The Lost Lords. The same QTE-styled combat makes its return in the second episode and presumably for the remainder of the season. Failure is not so much an option in these fights, as one misstep could mean the end of your character’s life. While some errors could lead to the story continuing forward, taking a blade to the chest is typically followed by a game over screen and a restart of the scene at hand. If you’re unaccustomed to quick-time events, either a swipe of the analog stick to a listed direction or tapping of a given button either once or repeatedly to fill a gauge. The more difficult segments require aligning a target reticle on a given object or body part and can be distracting to pull off in the midst of combat. I commend Telltale for trying to add more hands-on with the combat, but it’s perhaps my least favorite segment of playing through the story.

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Game of Thrones‘ writing is perhaps at its best in this episode. The choices from the prior episode episode ripple through with such dire consequences at every turn. Items that Mira had picked up from a choice in the first episode will still be in her possession. A seal that she may have picked up, for example, could be put to good use when she’s pressed with the choice of who to send a letter off to midway through the episode.

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While the story in Game of Thrones is already on its downward spiral of feels, some of the dynamic character interactions bring new life to the story. Gared Tuttle’s training on the wall is reminiscent of Jon Snow’s initial reception, only with more accidental humor popping up in the dialogue. Castle Black is a truly dreary place, so any attempts to inject new life within its cold walls is always an upside.

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Where Episode Two falls flat is the overall pacing of the story. Much like the show, the story is continuously being told through multiple viewpoints. Sadly, not every viewpoint is equal. Some of the more interesting parts, such as Gared Tuttle’s initiation onto The Wall are well done, but many of the parts where Mira is the primary focus seem to drag on. The political intrigue is what keeps me interested with her story, not the idle banter between chambermaids. Another point of contention is how quickly it shifts focus some times. While some scenes build up and are delivered across 10-15 minute chunks, others barely last a couple minutes before transitioning to another story across Westeros.

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Perhaps the most memorable moment of Episode Two: The Lost Lords, is the funeral that takes place towards the end. Rodrik Forrester, the broken and beaten lord of House Forrester, oversees the funeral of both his father Lord Gregor Forrester and his son Ethan who was lord for a brief moment towards the end of the first episode before Ramsay Snow ends his young life. During the funeral pyre, Talia Forrester, twin to the young lord Ethan, sings a somber song to accompany their spirits. It’s worth noting that her song changes according to choices made in the first chapter, whether Ethan was more of a wise or brave magnate. Talia’s song is so sorrowful and powerful that it will stick with you long after the credits roll.

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Telltale has set up the groundwork for an already impressive series with the first two episodes of Game of Thrones. While the combat is still the low point of the tale, the political and military story more than makes up for its shortfalls. Each of the four different views are quite different and scattered across Westeros but I certainly look forward to the moment when all four Forrester tales can intertwine by the time the season draws to a close.

[Editor’s Note: Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode Two: The Lost Lords was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 platform. Review code was provided to us by the publisher.]