Game of Thrones: Episode Two - Lost Lords (PS4) - ReviewJoseph Trotter , posted on 04 March 2015 / 2,899 Views
So far, so miserable. True to form, the first episode of Game of Thrones was an unrelentingly bleak introduction to the Forrester family and their unfortunate place as characters in the Game of Thrones (which is never a fun place to be). Although the narrative had potential, the game itself appeared to lack the legs of other IPs in the Telltale stable. Have these issues been ironed out in Lost Lords?
To an extent, yes. The titular Lost Lords of the elder Forrester brothers, Asher and Rodrick; one an outcast, the other presumed dead at the Red Wedding. Both are desperately needed by the family after the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER at the end of Iron From Ice and the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. Oh, and SPOILER. I don't see why anyone who hasn't played the first episode already would read this review (but please say if you have!), but for those of wandering eyes we can properly discuss the plot in the next episode review. Lost Lords' narrative whips at a pace, far greater than that of Iron From Ice, although part of that can be put down to first episode scene-setting. Lost Lords is more involving, more considered, and therefore a finer experience for it. Big decisions come thick and fast, and there's the menacing spectre of events to pass and scores to be settled.
The multi-perspective structure of the A Song of Ice and Fire books (and the TV series on which this adaptation is based) actually lends itself well to the Telltale style of game. Decisions made by one character affect the others, but a sense is given to wider events. Only a sense, however. Lack of screen time, as in the TV series, halts potential character progression through subtle actions; everything is bombastic, and progression forced rather than accumulated.
This is a narrative decision, and one that probably needed to be made. Even for a series of six episodes (and presumably more afterwards), it is difficult to give the characters enough screen-time without calling it ‘A Song of John Snow and Other Bastards.’
Some elements of the series are still unsatisfactory, however, and appear to be due to odd design decisions rather than any inherent narrative fault. An attempt at background fading results in blocky, blurred edges on objects ever so slightly distant from the character, giving little sense of depth. The result is overly noticeable and utterly jarring; it makes little design sense and ruins the semi-realistic nature of the animation.
This is a shame, as Lost Lords runs more consistently than the last episode and appeared to have generally gotten over the graphical hiccups that affected the game. Character models are lush, well formed and have an air of humanity. As with all Telltale games, the vocal performances are outstanding and industry leading. It is something said every time, but cannot be said enough.
Lost Lords is an attempt to push the series further into intrigue and offer a grander scale against which to compare the politics of a minor house. The mixture of environments and breadth of characters is a refreshing change from the stifling atmosphere of the first episode. The characters are starting to grow, the plot to thicken, and the intrigue to whisper in darkened rooms. Slow and ponderous, the narrative style genuinely suits the atmosphere. Hopefully this continues as the series gains flesh.
This review is based on a digital copy of Game of Thrones: Episode Two - Lost Lords for the PS4, provided by the publisher.
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