Intensity heats up in the graphical adventure’s third installment as Mira’s previous actions begin to impact her delicate situation in King’s Landing. Attempting to help her family either passively or aggressively (depending on the player’s actions in previous installments) begins to weigh on the scales of her public image within society. At the same time, we learn that some of the Forrester men we thought had perished indeed are alive though just barely. Players must continue to deal with the encroaching influence of the Whitehills under the Boltons and begin making a plan. Only it just isn’t that simple. A traitor is discovered to be among the Forrester’s closest council but without clear evidence of whom that might be it is difficult to act on that news. Perhaps even worse is that the source comes from a not so particularly trustworthy individual. The daughter of Ludd Whitehill attempts to rally the Forrester clan to come to a mutual, peaceful agreement including bowing down to her brother Gryff for their own good – or is it?
Many emotionally charged scenes assault the player in this grim battle against fate. The action scenes experienced in this title are indeed much more detailed and unforgiving than other Telltale Games installments giving a real tactile feel to the Game of Thrones series of games in comparison to their other episodic titles. We hope to see this reflected as Tales From The Borderlands will soon get its third episode and Minecraft: Story Mode rolls out later in the year. More action is definitely not a bad thing, and with the overall length being good for Game of Thrones we certainly can’t complain about a shortage of cutscenes either. The cinematic and combat segments of The Sword in the Darkness are masterfully paired and do each other justice as this episode rolls out with increasingly difficult to make decisions and far less of a chance to think before making them.
I’ll admit to quitting out after seeing some of the results of my actions in an attempt to change the outcome, which has shown me that some events cannot be changed. It is, at least in my play-through, more important for characters to stay true to themselves than it is to attempt to seek mercy from the brutal beings currently in power. Gared Tuttle the character players took control of first in the initial episode is given more screen time than in the past during this episode and without spoiling things let’s just say his trip to The Wall is not an uneventful one. During the preview for the fourth episode we are shown that things will be ending a bit chaotically for his time as a ranger and this is likely, again, regardless of decisions made. But Gared’s chance of growing as a person, increasing his honor, or exacting a bit of revenge for the wrongs the world has dished out to him are a major part of what must be decided by the player and will indeed hold an impact over what is to come next.
The rebel brother Asher who players chose whether or not to allow Malcom to set out for fights a dragon which later proves of much more importance than first expected. During this moment there is an important, game-changing decision that must be made about who to try and save once the dragon is spitting flames upon the adventuring party who is, at the same time, fending off attackers. He is tasked with the complicated feat of amassing an army to bring back to his family and helping them regain control of their land amidst all the violence and treachery that has befallen them. All in all, Game of Thrones has had 5 playable characters so far and Asher is probably the most exciting of them all combat-wise. It will be a treat to take control of him again if he makes it back to his family with that army.
Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter currently does not have a release date but will likely hit us soon after the next installment of Tales From The Borderlands does as it is now being said that Telltale Games has perfected their development process for the two titles. Surely that is hoped to be true by fans who are now waiting on a second season for The Wolf Among Us set to potentially begin some time in 2016, a third season for The Walking Dead, and of course three more episodes of Game of Thrones, a new series called Minecraft: Story Mode, and three more episodes of Tales From The Borderlands. Telltale Games is taking the industry by storm, and when such a large bulk of work was initially announced by them many feared that the quality of these titles would diminish given such pressure and load on the development team. I’m happy to report that so far, that is not the case at all and instead the quality seems to be improving with each new episode released. If the news about their development process being optimized and refined proves true then they will also have the speed to satisfy fans soon as well as the quality.
Telltale Games are more of an experience than purely just being a game. This is cinematic gaming done right, not forced on the user and not dragged out among hours of pretense. I applaud Telltale from raising the quality of their episodic Game of Thrones adventures to match the other series that they have produced and intensifying both the decision making process as well as the battle gameplay of their formula with this third episode. It is truly gripping and exciting even for gamers who are not necessarily big on the television series, but stays absolutely true to the spirit of the source material albeit slightly more light-hearted than what HBO has delivered on cable. Any gamer who hasn’t experienced a Telltale Games title yet or found themselves reading this review as a fan of their other works should know that Game of Thrones is worth the money, worth the play-through, and worth the time.
With full controller support for the Xbox 360 and Xbox ONE controller I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride of emotional height through Steam Big Picture mode transferring my experience from console to Windows PC this time around. In total, I can’t wait to see what becomes of Mira and all of her tangled dealings in King’s Landing, discover The North Grove as Gared, and hopefully take back control of Ironrath as Rodrik and crew without another damn drop of Forrester blood being spilled. Episode 3 to the Game of Thrones TellTale Games series receives a 9 out of 10, making it one of RealGamerNewz 2015 Gold Games.
Overall Score: 9 / 10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Available On: PS4 | XO | PC | PS3 | 360 | Mac OS X
Played On: Windows PC
Mobile Version Also Available On: Android | iOS
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.