The Lost Lords is where Telltale’s Game of Thrones series should start to show where your decisions make their impact, and that certainly is the case. Even being in control of a house as helpless as the Forresters now doesn’t stop that, if anything, it makes every option look even more grim for the beleaguered family. It is now rather obvious that every conversation in this series will have ramifications that makes choices in stablemate ‘The Walking Dead’ seem like choosing a favourite ice-cream flavour. With the events of the previous episode fully embracing the GoT line of politically-led murder and backstabbing, its good to see that continue into episode two, albeit with more focus on menace and threat than the direct brutality of Iron From Ice.
Episode two’s prologue picks up across the Iron Sea, away from the chaos and misery that is the Forrester’s life and introduces us to the ‘other’ son of the family Asher, who hasn’t seen his kin in years until his Uncle shows up bearing the grave news that requires Asher to return home. It’s easily the most action-packed segment of the episode, but it (and the scene following) feel like they are a continuation of Iron and Ice, still presenting new faces and their backstories. Of course there are still several established storylines to catch up on too and while they do push the overall narrative forward in that wonderful way, GoT is so good at in the T.V. series, each thread in The Lost Lords doesn’t seem to go any place major just yet; and it’s fine that it is paced this way as given the source material, you know it’ll be leading up to more moments that stun and shock like the finale of the first episode did.
That, and the joy of seeing who fits in where as the established TV show storyline rolls on in the background is still very much there. The problem is that The Lost Lords appears as more of a filler episode which is something that plagues all Telltale games post-Walking Dead. There is always an episode or two that concentrates on setting up the heavier moments and ends up weaker and less memorable. The ending here is very subdued and tempered by a shoddily put together song that sounds like a recap of the entire plot to date; this whole final scene tries really hard to channel the spirit of Game of Thrones in the same way the rest of the game does, but ultimately comes across as a low-rent knock-off shoved on for the sake of giving players any kind of ending to the episode.
That’s not to say The Lost Lords is terrible. The different story strands are impeccably told and, as is standard in this series, the voice acting does a grand job of keeping your interest with the high level of quality it provides. Interacting with the actual TV show’s cast members still gives the biggest thrills as you try your damndest to outmaneuver them conversationally and hopefully gain some kind of minor victory in the war of words almost nobody wins. The new characters are a bit of a mixed bag this time round. Asher is a bit one-dimensional so far and adds little of note to the narrative at the moment with his simple ‘’I’m a tough guy with a soft heart’’ schtick. The two female additions are largely flat in personality terms. The daughter of Lord Whitehill in particular has no characterisation beyond having the most god-awful voice acting in any Telltale game to date. Her accent is so out of sync with the established world and grates for the entirety of her short time in the episode.
Roderick is more interesting, even if much of the episode sees him repeating the actions of his younger brother Ethan, as the game goes great lengths to point out his vulnerabilities at every opportunity, almost forcing you to make him stand up for himself. That’s still good from a storytelling perspective because it sets up Roderick as the underdog you want to root for and worry about. The closest thing to a ‘good’ moral centre that you can get in Westeros are characters like this and the fear is always there that anyone fundamentally ‘good’ in Game of Thrones is likely doomed to die a horrible death. I’m hoping they may subvert that and deliver some retribution later on without it turning into a bloodbath, but then again, this is Game of Thrones; the threat of death and deceit fuel every panic-inducing decision and in a roundabout way, build your empathy/hatred for its fascinating cast. Without that dynamic to consider, this episode would be even more disappointing than it already is.