Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
Available On: Mobile, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PlayStation 4. There may be differences between versions.
When Telltale first started the Game of Thrones series it was an interesting story brought down with the occasional broken action sequences and a really weird blurry “oil painting” filter. The Lost Lords continues the story, but does it manage to fix up the problems with Iron From Ice? Some, yes, though it introduces a few new ones of its own.
Picking up where Iron From Ice left off, The Lost Lords introduces us to the exiled second born brother Ashen Forrester, also your fourth playable character. Right from the start you can see why he was exiled: he’s cocky, arrogant, and quite frankly not the nicest person. But he loves his family and when Malcolm shows up to tell him of what’s happening Ashen begins the journey back home. Elsewhere Mira Forrester is still at King’s Landing playing the political game, and Gared Tuttle begins his training at The Wall to possibly become a Ranger. Finally the fifth playable character shows up, but it’s a good plot twist in the first twenty minutes of the episode so I don’t want to spoil it here. I’m kind of mixed about the plot twist being in the first twenty minutes since on one hand The Lost Lords doesn’t end with the same oomph that Iron From Ice did, but on the other hand I think it was still pretty effective for the rest of the episode.
On the other hand the story sort of suffers from being overstuffed. There is now four different characters in four different locations doing four different things. The Lost Lords is only about two hours in length and it tries to devote equal time to each of these characters. As such the plot doesn’t really make much progress. Gared’s arc basically stalls, as he does little other than get to The Wall and has a run in with Jon Snow. Ashen kills some people and decides to go home, and basically that’s it. In fact, Ashen doesn’t have to make any of the tough decisions that each other character gets at least one of. On the other hand, Mira is really coming off as the star of the show. Her games of deception and political maneuvering keep getting more and more intriguing, but also I begin to worry that she has basically thrown herself in the deep end with no way out. Of all the characters, Mira is the one I’m most excited to catch up with in Episode 3.
Yes, The Lost Lords still has Telltale’s signature quick time event fighting. The majority of the fighting is handled by Ashen, and happens very early in the episode. A particularly impressive bar fight gives you both a visual treat, and thankfully proves that Telltale got their act together and fixed up the quick time events. No longer did I have trouble with unresponsive commands or fidgety sensitivity. It was honestly nice to be able to just sit back and enjoy the fighting for a while. Gared also sees a bit of “combat” as he trains at The Wall, though his sequences are comparatively dull. One weird section has him prove he can use a crossbow, and it basically boils down to pointing and clicking on whatever you’re told to. It feels more like they wanted to make sure there was one more action scene in the middle of the episode, though it hardly needed it. An encounter at the end of the episode, the details of which I really don’t want to spoil, also really put me on edge and made me terrified for the life of a character.
Sadly my other complaint about Iron From Ice, the ugly and distracting “oil painting” effect on the background, is still in full force here. In fact, it feels worse as now characters have their body parts suddenly becoming warped and twisted by this weird graphical filter. As I said last time it makes everything look like it’s underwater rather than any kind of “oil painting” thing that they seem to be going for.
The Lost Lords is a bit of a step down in the story department from the first episode. The overstuffed nature of this episode makes it feel like that “exposition” episode: vital in the long run but not very strong on its own. The Lost Lords is setting up the other shoe to drop, that much is obvious, but it doesn’t do anything else than set this shoe up. Still, I know something great is coming and I’m so ready to see it. Plus it’s not all a loss, nearly everything involving Mira is a victory and I do want to see how this early episode plot twist will be affecting later episodes. So I’m still into the Game of Thrones and I can already tell we got even greater things coming.