Much like George R. R. Martin’s wildly popular series of books, Telltale started off its Game of Thrones franchise with an instalment that was essentially a slow burn.
They introduced us to the world, set up the characters and gave us a little taste of things to come. In Telltale’s second Game of Thrones episode, The Lost Lords, the overarching plot begins to take shape. But even gamers who aren’t fans of the series won’t feel cheated by the methodical pace Telltale is employing with this series, because even though the first episode was mostly table-setting, it still featured a great cast of characters and several emotionally resonant moments.
We were introduced to The Forresters, a troubled family in the war torn land of Westeros, in the first episode. We saw the various problems this family found itself battling due to the political and personal allegiances that each of our central characters held dear. In The Lost Lords, we start by checking in with Asher Forrester, who’s currently serving exile in Yunkai. Fans of the show might remember Yunkai as one of the locations the Khaleesi is visiting as she tries to find her way back to King’s Landing. Asher, as the second-eldest son in the Forrester family has a lot on his hands. In the meantime, Gared Tuttle has all but sworn to join the brothers of the Night’s Watch at the Wall. Closer to home, Mira is trying to convince Tyrion and Margaery to accept the Forresters as allies. The situation at Ironrath is complicated, to say the least.
While episode one was largely about the Forrester family, The Lost Lords broadens the scope of the story and introduces several characters, which are tied to the family one way or another. We learn more about Sera, who in episode one just seemed like a Sansa prototype who dreamt of finding a handsome prince in a royal family. We are introduced to other characters from the Forresters’ Northern allies who have come to Ironrath to offer support during these trying times. Back in Yunkai, Asher has been bounty hunting slave-lords with Beskha, a sellsword who is easily one of the most interesting characters in the series yet. She’s less grim than everyone else, and doesn’t mind cracking a dirty joke or ten while they’re out on their travels. She’s like Brienne, except she’s a lot funnier and only swears allegiance to money. She is a complex character whose backstory is hinted at, and whatever little we hear of it is fascinating. Beskha will definitely be a great character to learn more about as we progress through the series. What Telltale has done spectacularly with her, and with most of the other characters, is to make them feel like they’ve been part of this world all along. While we’ve been fixated with the Lannisters and the Starks, the Beskhas of this world have quietly been doing what they do best.
Without spoiling too much of the proceedings, know that some big things happen during the first act of the game. In this sense, The Lost Lords feels even more like it’s taken from the appendices of George R. R. Martin’s books than the first episode did. The tone of the story, the depth of the characters, and the complexity of the situations feels like an integral part of the source material. If you were waiting for payoffs to Iron from Ice’s many buildups, you’ll find them here. And, if you’re a completist, you might fancy picking different choices each time just to see what would happen.
Combat will feel familiar to you if you’ve ever played a Telltale game. It is mostly a series of quicktime events choreographed together expertly. It’s brutal, violent and cinematic. Don’t worry if you find yourself on the wrong end of a sword every now and then, because the game autosaves frequently, allowing you to jump back into the action not too far away from where you left it. It’s not all doom-and-gloom though. During Gared’s training sequences at the Wall, for example, there are plenty of light moments as you lock swords with other newbies, shoot arrows and do other busy work Jon Snow might require of you.
With all Telltale games, the element of choice stands out as an important element of the mechanics. And when you consider the epic chain reaction that a choice can trigger in a world such as Westeros, with dozens of moving parts in any given situation, the choices get even tougher. You’ll need to be acutely aware of how your actions might affect someone you’re close to several steps down the line. It’s stressful, thought-provoking and fascinating gameplay. There’s a sense of foreboding that permeates through every single moment you experience, much like what life in Westeros probably feels like for real.
If you’ve found yourself confused as you try to keep track of an ever-increasing cast of characters, welcome to Game of Thrones. The Lost Lords introduces features more interesting additions to an already stellar cast, and really makes you feel the dread and despair of the Forresters as they try to survive in Westeros. There are a lot of interesting plot developments which will make you crave the next episode as soon as possible. If you’re a fan of great drama and thought-provoking gameplay, The Lost Lords will thrill and chill you, guaranteed.