Game of Thrones: The Lost Lords Review – All Along the Watchtower

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Posted February 9, 2015 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Video Games

Game of Thrones Episode Two: The Lost Lords

Developed by: Telltale

Published by: Telltale

Available for: PC (version reviewed), iOS (version reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 and PS3

 

The Lost Lords,  the second episode of Telltale’s Song of Ice and Fire epic, is something of a mystery to me. As with the first episode, Iron From Ice, the game jumps between multiple characters, telling all of their stories simultaneously. While this results in some remarkable highs, there are also numerous lows, making The Lost Lords a fairly mixed bag, consisting largely of set-up for future episodes. All in all, though, the second episode of this series is an enjoyable experience.

I’ll begin where the game does: with Asher Forrester. The estranged brother of Ethan and Talia Forrester, both of whom we met in the previous episode, we meet Asher at a tavern in Yunkai. His character is particularly interesting, especially when it comes to his interactions with his female counterpart, Breskha. Asher’s scenes are easily the standout scenes of the game. Not only are they the most engrossing, but they are also the most entertaining. The character dynamics here are great, and the dialogue choices always seem to matter in terms of other characters’ perceptions of Asher.

asher

The one marked improvement in episode two over episode one is that choices seem to actually matter. Similarly to episode one, there are instances with outcomes that cannot be changed. One specific part of the story jumps to mind where, no matter what choices I made, the same frustrating outcome kept occurring. The worst part about this is that the scene right before it can actually have different outcomes with massive ramifications on the overall story. The scene that I’m talking about, which I won’t detail for fear of spoilers, is exactly the type of scene that Telltale games need more of. It has to be navigated with the utmost care in order to obtain a favorable outcome, and it’s here that the game absolutely nails the world of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Both of the above scenes occur at Ironrath, the home of the Forresters. It’s here that the plot takes some sharp turns, and we are introduced to yet another playable character, again redacted for spoilers. Following this character is exceptionally interesting, as he has a very different take on the world than any of the other playable characters. At least, that was the way that I played him. But even with the options the game gives you, it seems as if this character was created to exist as a stark contrast to Asher. It’s a cool touch, but in my opinion this only benefited Asher, whilst detracting from this character.

In addition to the two aforementioned characters, we also get to hang out with Gared a little more, so yay for that! Gared is my personal favorite character in the game, though this may be because I’ve played Gared as something of a badass, at least in my main save. I also love Gared because he seems to be the playable character with the most variability. The number of different Gareds that can be achieved is kind of amazing, especially in this episode. There are numerous decisions he has to make in this episode, many of which may not end up being that important in the long run, but seem important now. Gared’s story is one in which decisions actually matter, as opposed to simply feeling as if they matter.

nights watch

Unfortunately, one of the major problems from episode one continues into episode two. That problem? Mira. While there is some major improvement here, especially as it pertains to Tyrion’s involvement, Mira still feels a lot like Sansa, which is problematic. Even when I tried to play her as a stronger character, it didn’t really work – in fact, it ended up worse when I played her that way, which is a bummer. Plus, King’s Landing is not as interesting a setting as Yunkai, Ironrath, or even The Wall. Most of this is because this is a setting that has already been explored in depth, and most of the characters here are characters that fans are already familiar with. Inherently, this isn’t bad, but when put next to the rest of the game, is still a bit of a let down.

talia

Story wise, The Lost Lords chugs a long at a much slower pace than Iron From Ice, content with having players essentially redo decisions from the first episode, or make minor decisions that build up to the third episode. Barring a few instances, none of this episode feels like it will really matter all that much in the long run. It feels very much like a filler episode for existing characters, who are just there to pad out the stories of the new characters which, arguably, should have been done in episode one.

In terms of gameplay and graphics, The Lost Lords is nothing to write home about. If you enjoy the stylized art style and quick time event gameplay that Telltale is known for, you’ll mostly be fine here. Just don’t expect any massive, high stakes battles with innovative gameplay mechanics. Also, I would recommend not playing this on iOS. I play most of my Telltale content on iOS, and it’s usually fine, but this particular episode seemed to have some pretty intense frame rate issues, lagging out and make some scenarios impossible to complete. PC is a lot better, even on my lower end PC. The controls aren’t the most responsive, but, as with the first episode, I plugged in my 360 controller about twenty minutes into the game, and that fixed most of the gameplay issues on PC.

All in all, The Lost Lords  is an enjoyable experience. Game of Thrones fans will find something to love here, as will Telltale fans. As per usual, however, if this style of adventure game is not your cup of tea, you will likely not enjoy it.


About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.