Game of Thrones Episode 2 sets the bar high for future installations. Episode 1 did a favorable job creating a setting in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, but never had the chance to fully capitalize on it. Game of Thrones Episode 2 does, and does it to the fullest.
I can't tell whether or not it is me creating weight to all of the decisions in Game of Thrones or if Telltale is actually making me feel that way. It seems that every couple of minutes I had to make some difficult decision that would have a ton of consequences - many I knew I wouldn't be able to see.
That is where the strength in Game of Thrones Episode 2 lies. Not only do decisions, which come in simple and quick dialogue options and truly tense choices, happen often, they seem to be setting up plenty of ramifications later on in the game. And there are still four more episodes to go!
At the end of every Telltale game is a summary of where your decisions stacked up compared to other players. That list looked exceedingly small in comparison to the amount of decisions I thought I had made which were significant. Those were just 5 that Telltale felt were the most important - or they deliberately left some out so they can blindside us all later. Either way, it is still quite amazing just how often the decisions make you feel engaged.
Where Game of Thrones Episode 2 bogs down is the forced gameplay options that are not all that great. For example, there is a point where you have to use a crossbow to shoot at training dummies. It is pretty much as basic as it gets, with set areas for the quarrels to hit. There is no issue with placing variety in gameplay, just make sure to do it well. This did not feel as though it served any significant purpose.
Thankfully, you can classify Telltale gameplay as relying heavily on dialogue and decisions. While I have criticized Telltale for relying on that too much in the past, they have utilized it well here in Episode 2. By putting so much potential weight to every interaction, panic starts to set in watching that bar quickly drain as it waits for you to choose an option of dialogue every time. That has given Telltale's reliance new life and makes every interaction intriguing and seemingly meaningful.
In Episode 1, the world seemed to be fairly well-adapted, but in Episode 2 it seems as though Telltale has really got into the swing of things. One of my criticisms in the first episode was Telltale's lack of originality, borrowing heavily from certain plots and character creations present in the book.
In Episode 2 though, Telltale has done a much better job showing off characters and unique plot ideas to prove they are well versed in the world. The wit, humor, and scathing comments along with the swift and ever-present brutality come into one this episode to create something extremely interesting.
While they do a serviceable job of adapting preexisting characters, Telltale did a great job of creating new ones that fit the world, for the most part. Episode 1 suffers from having to introduce all of them to us, but Episode 2 finally allows us to see who they all really are after some vague familiarity with them. The ruthlessness, naivete, and downright cruel characters all shine here.
Which leads into the story, of which so much seemed to happen in this episode, while at the same time leaving so much left to be said. Game of Thrones Episode 2 seemed to serve as the second half to the introduction, progressing plots to the point that significant events are starting to happen, while cleaning up some others from Episode 1.
The wonderful thing about Episode 2 is that there is a fairly well-contained narrative for each character that is unique to that episode, but at the same time each has an overarching plot, all of which are intermingled in some way, which progresses at the exact same time.
Not everything is great for Game of Thrones Episode 2, but this has just become the norm for Telltale games. There are a lot of technical issues that Telltale still doesn't seem to have ironed out. There are quite a few graphical issues that happen throughout with clipping, missing textures, and the like.
But the most jarring, and frustrating thing, is the audio. There are too many times that dialogue cuts off noticeably to only have the discussion continue on. Even playing with subtitles only shows the words for a few seconds. With a game that relies so much on what is said, this should not be an issue.
And, as I said in the Episode 1 review, the aesthetic in this episode is hit or miss. Sometimes the oil painting look actually seems quite nice, but in others it just creates a fuzzy mess. You can see some of that in the screenshots here and in the previous review.
With that said, Game of Thrones Episode 2 sets up something that has the potential to be spectacular and sets a standard that is hopefully followed for the rest of the series. There was so much going on in this episode, so much meaningful interaction, that one has to wonder if they can keep up the pace.
Game of Thrones Episode 2 is great in its own right and should leave all of us excited for what is to come. Fans of the TV series and of the books should be more than happy with this helping of A Song of Ice and Fire as they wait for their respective series to continue.
You can purchase Game of Thrones here on Amazon.
Game of Thrones was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on PC.
Game of Thrones Episode 2 may be Telltale's best showing yet, capturing the world of A Song of Ice and Fire near perfectly.