While the initial episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series seemed to be on somewhat unsure footing, it had become exceedingly clear by the end of Episode 2 that they had developed a level of confidence with the series. At the end of “The Sword in the Darkness,” it’s clear that Telltale has found its niche with this series, and in doing so, has created what is the strongest episode of the series to date.
While the second episode was a somewhat emotional rollercoaster, “The Sword in the Darkness” is happy to show how far down the Forrester family – the family the series has concentrated on – has fallen. Their family home has been overrun, they have hardly any bargaining chips left and those allies who they thought they had are now vanishing faster and faster. There is no real positive moments in this episode, there are only machinations and the hope that one day they will get their revenge.
That is, ultimately, what makes this episode so effective. You can see how the wheels are beginning to turn and how the Forresters will, hopefully, get their revenge against the Whitehills by the end of the series. It feels like a middle chapter of a book, and as such, it makes this episode feel like more of a Game of Thrones episode than any other.
You see just how low the Forresters have fallen and throughout the episode, you are constantly reminded. There’s one moment in the game where you need to make a simple choice: Either stand against your enemies or stay down and let them think they’ve had their way. At this moment, it becomes clear that the Forresters have nothing but their family.
While the Forresters home is overrun, the family members who are away from their home have their own problems. Asher, the exiled brother, is being hunted. Mira is in King’s Landing, where that OTHER wedding is about to take place. Gared Tuttle has taken the black of the Night’s Watch, but must also try to search for the mysterious “North Grove.”
All of these threads are compelling and equally interesting. This family feels like they are willing to do whatever they need to for each other, just so they can survive. They feel incredibly close, despite being thousands of miles apart.
However, there is one storyline that feels somewhat out of place, and that’s Gared’s. While Gared is at The Wall, he is given the choice to either search for the North Grove or keep his vow to the Watch. Even if you try to keep your vow, it’s clear that the game not only wants, but needs you to search for the Grove. Either choice you make will lead you to the same place, it seems. That’s a shame because it feels like there should be two different arcs this character could have, but instead he’s forced to go down one path.
That said, Game of Thrones: The Sword in the Darkness is still the strongest the series has produced. It feels like the chess pieces are being laid and the game is about to be played. In this regard, it feels closest to Game of Thrones than any episode has before. It’s a testament to how well Telltale can develop these products, and how well they can adapt their style to fit the property.
SCORE: 9.0 out of 10
A code for Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series was provided to Pixel Related for review.