Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: March 24th, 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.
I’m starting to get a little confused by Game of Thrones. While I’m still enjoying my trips to Westeros, I still feel like the game is in the “build up” stage. With the series now hitting its halfway mark I’m wondering when it is going to move on past that stage and into the actual meaty story segments. Not that The Sword in the Darkness doesn’t provide some good stuff, I’m just getting the feeling this could be better.
The Sword in the Darkness is once again broken into four parts. Starting with the weakest link: Asher Forrester. I feel like Asher’s plot arc could be a lot better but the game is not devoting nearly enough time to it. After an exciting intro where Asher, Malcolm, and Beskha find themselves trapped between the Lost Legion and a dragon, they promptly vanish and don’t reappear until a short scene about an hour later. After that scene that’s all I got from them, besides a very quick note at the very end to cap off the third episode. It’s a strong note to end the episode on, but it still leaves their tale wanting.
Oddly enough, the other arc I had a problem with is the one the game spends the most time on. Fredrick Forrester’s continued resistance of Whitehill’s occupation of House Forrester hits a snag when Lord Whitehill’s son Gryff shows up. Gryff is ruthless and a little power hungry, and he quickly proves to be an annoying thorn in Fredrick’s side as he tries to keep relations from turning into an all-out war. Things just keep getting worse and worse for poor House Forrester, but there’s just enough rays of hope to keep the whole thing from feeling like a pointless hopeless endeavor. Still, this part of the game suffers from basically being a retread of the last two episodes. It feels like zero progress is being made here, especially considering roughly half of the game is focused on this arc. I almost wish all the extra time put into this arc was instead used on Asher.
So enough about the bad, as the other two arcs are great. I’ve said twice now that Mira Forrester has the best arc, and for a third time I’m standing by that. Still trying to work her way through the complicated and cruel political system in King’s Landing, Mira finds herself in a tangled web involving several different power players. The big question remains on how far she’s willing to go to help her family, and if pissing off every noble in the process is a good idea, or if she should play nice with the kings and queens at the risk of her family not quite getting the help they need. Every scene with Mira made me feel like I was digging a deeper and deeper grave that there was no way out of, and her few allies that are left feel untrustworthy at best. I don’t know how this one will play out, but I’m genuinely worried for Mira’s future.
Finally we have Gared Tuttle, and as fans of Game of Thrones can probably guess from the title of this episode, he really comes out onto his own here. Now that he is a proper member of the Night’s Watch, Gared finally gets a bit of an idea about what the mysterious North Grove is and the possibility that it can be used to save House Forrester. Furthermore, his shifts at the Watch take a bit of a bad turn as he has to deal with the Watch’s new addition in the form of Britt: the man who killed his father and sister. Besides this Gared also has to juggle his friendships (or lack thereof) with Cotter and Finn. It’s a really good return to Gared, as The Lost Lords made him feel kind of pointless. I also found that Gared’s section ends on the most interesting note and is the one that I’m most excited to return to in Episode 4.
The Sword in the Darkness stumbles with Asher and Fredrick’s segments, one too short and not going anywhere while the other drags and repeats content. But Mira’s continued political brilliance and Gared’s much improved story has made The Sword in the Darkness an enjoyable episode. Yet once again I find myself stuck saying that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. We’re now at the half way point for Game of Thrones, so I’m very much hoping that the second half will move things along faster.