If recent events in the Game of Thrones TV series – or in previous episodes of the game – weren’t enough to convince you of Ramsay Snow’s villainy, the opening moments of this episode might just be enough to do that. He’s a vile being, and perhaps the closest that this game series has to a ‘big bad’.
The fifth of Telltale’s Game of Thrones is full of these character defining moments, and it’s a much stronger and more confident affair than any of the previous episodes. Here, choices matter, fighting is harder, and the politics are more important than ever.
That means you might be more measured in choosing what you’re going to say, partly because this episode manages to hold your attention, with plot threads really starting to come together and House Forrester beginning to feel like an important part of Game of Thrones’ story.
It does begin to stretch the limits of plausibility for this all to be happening in the background of the mainline series: if these characters are important as they seem and have meetings with other characters, then why don’t we hear about them more? And since we know that the show’s characters will outlive this story, it makes them seem as though they’re not in any danger and that those people will be victorious. Though an important expansion of the universe, Telltale aren’t the ones to mess with the core series’ lineage.
It’s a point which hasn’t really marred any previous episodes, personally, but one that just seemed so odd in the context of this episode, with things building towards something big. Still, Westeros is a big place and all it takes is suspending one’s disbelief for a few hours for it to remain a rather enjoyable experience.
While there’s still an inherent clunkiness to the action – Telltale’s game engine really needs an overhaul – the action sequences are a definite improvement, with the final section being something rather special indeed. It’s also here that one of the biggest choices in a Telltale game as of yet rears its head, and it’s genuinely exciting. Gone is the faux peril we’re used to, with a genuine game changer sitting in its place.
To put it bluntly, this episode features the most exciting scenes since the debut episode, with some superb dialogue options, great characters, and it all looks quite good too. There’s nothing groundbreaking in terms of visuals, but they’re finally working that oil-painting aesthetic just right, rather than it seeming like a blurry mess as it did in previous episodes.
Despite that, there are still some awkwardly pieced together sections of audio, and it just doesn’t flow quite as well as you’d hope. It’s an improvement, yes, but there are still a lot of areas that could be worked on. We won’t get that satisfaction by episode six, but the next series out of Telltale’s stable could be a definite improvement in these areas.
It’s hard to say whether this episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series is a genuine standout piece of work amongst their other stuff, or is simply elevated due to some of the other episodes in this series being far less exciting. Nevertheless, it’s still a thrilling experience, and looks to be working towards a superb finale for the series.
Version tested: PS4