Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in The Darkness
Adventure, Interactive storytelling
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed on), iOS, Android
March 24, 2015
Spoiler Alert: Some spoilers from Episode 1, 2 and up till Season 3 of the TV show.
The time for planning is over and now it’s time for action. Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword of Darkness moves the story forward at an incredible rate. Your choice of allies and decisions up to this point are contently questions with a feeling of no correct answers. The episode features many unlikely allies and faces you off against known threats. The tension brewing between many characters takes form here with direct confrontation and clear goals. Things are in motion and all three of the Forrester children and Gared Tuttle have their own missions to contribute in their efforts to save the house. The game continues to be worthy of high merit in its ability to insert characters and events form the show seamlessly and still have unknown outcomes for its protagonists.
The episode starts off with Asher heading to Meereen trying to escape the Lost Legion only to find himself facing a Dragon. Yes! Dragons, it took 3 episodes but finally we have dragons. The first glimpse of which is a frightening event for anyone. The way this is executed in the start of The Sword in the Darkness, sets an energetic high note that maintains throughout. Within this high speed action combat sequence you will have your first difficult choice to make in the heat of the battle. Meeting up with old allies his search for an army continues with the conclusion leaving Asher in high company of the Targaryen queen for an interesting cliffhanger.
[pullquote]The political turmoil continues in King’s Landing with many new players joining the dangerous game.[/pullquote]The political turmoil continues in King’s Landing with many new players joining the dangerous game. Mira herself was playing so well, despite being threatened to be sent back in hope for finding Tyrion Lannister. One the royal wedding sequence begins, the entire plot turns upside down with Mira planning her masterplan like a pawn on chessboard up against Lanister Knight Guards, and Cerci the queen, with no safe moves, this commands bold actions. It is in fact the most interesting plot development despite knowing about the wedding the way Telltale have made Mira’s story progress is commendable showing off the series strengths in not direct action but rather plotting and scheming.
The woes of House Forrester continue in a downward spiral with the arrival of Gryff Whitehill, an instantly unlikeable character with something to prove. This forth-born son comes with his own bunch of hardened soldiers who are equally unpleasant and brash. The Whitehill occupation continues and with it every day becomes a face-off with choices of either standing up or submitting to gain more time. The proud Foressters are tested again and again only to be broken down with each step. Rodrick has difficult choices ahead of him, there are plenty who offer advice but who can he trust?
The most interesting plot sequences take place on the giant Ice Wall as Gared learns more about the mystery of the North Grove. He also learns of secrets about his brothers at the Night’s Watch. Now his loyalty lies in the choice between family and friendship or duty and service.
If there are some gripes in this episode that I have, it is that playing with 2 different saves choosing completely opposite options didn’t really affect any major plot event. There are minor differences in the dialogue choice someone makes, but nothing significant. It allured to more how you wish to roleplay during the course of the events rather that how the events change based on your decision. I would expect more differences in outcomes as we near the final half of the game. Also while Gryff Whitehill is a menace that makes life at Ironrath difficult, he comes up as a cookie clutter bad guy with his band of thugs, unlike the deep characters we have seen from the Game of Thrones television series. With little known about him, he serves only the purpose of being disliked.
The strength of the episode comes from a mix of all of the best elements, the vulnerability of your house, the fragility of the characters, while still presenting exciting moments of possibility. It mixes action and dialogue while introducing new characters with little info about them questioning your choices of whom to place your trust in.
The Sword in the Darkness is a fast paced ride, you will often be racing against pacing enemies trying to find an important paper. You will make polarizing choices as there is no middle way out. It is clear that both the choices will leave someone disappointed, hurt or worse. You are warned many times of the consequences of standing against someone, be it Whitehills or Margaery Tyrell but to stand down is not as easy. The ending leaves room for both more misery and some good news but as quoted by Rodrick “We have a plan, we must wait for the pieces to fall together now.”
Each of the story arcs are getting more dangerous while at the same time full of hope as the events move forward with good pace. Characters have been left in difficult spots. Unlikely allies present themselves while old enemies resurface. The turmoil continues at Ironrath but things are taking shape finally to make me look forward to the next instalment, especially as Asher is left at an interesting point.
+ Story moves at a good pace
+ Edge of the seat scenarios
+ Great build up for the next episode
- Choice do not affect the major events of the story
- Generic villain lack George R.R. Martin touch