Although House Forrester has been in disarray since the opening moments of Telltale’s Game of Thrones video game, things got a Hell of a lot worse during Episode 2. Enemy goons took up residence inside of their once peaceful walls, as their leaders threatened to destroy the area’s precious ironwood trees, all while grief was taking its toll. After all, not only were the surviving family members grieving for their leader and patriarch, but also one of his younger sons, whose life was unexpectedly taken during a heated debate.
Now, with Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness, things are even more dire. Threats are mounting, danger creeps closer, and the Forresters’ newly named lord is being treated like a child on his own turf. Help may be on the way, though, so long as siblings living abroad are able to come through with required assistance, in the form of gold and armed manpower.
The third of six instalments once again has us playing as several different characters, whose locations range from King’s Landing to the Wall. Things begin in another region of the A Song of Ice and Fire universe, however, with Asher attempting to escape from a band of mercenaries, alongside his ally and uncle. Things look safe from the onset, but really aren’t, as at least a dozen enemies are approaching quickly. And, to make matters worse, it looks as if the way is blocked. Thankfully for them, it isn’t, but there’s a nasty surprise awaiting them.
While Asher focuses on survival, Myra is spending her day dodging social restrictions in King’s Landing, in an attempt to find someone to help her family. It isn’t made easy by a discovery, nor is it aided by the fact that she was involved in the murder of a royal guard. She has a huge role to play, though, and must tread carefully.
Although The Sword in the Darkness remains interesting on all fronts – including the homefront where it’s becoming hard to stand one’s ground – the most memorable part of the episode occurs at the Wall itself. As you’ll recall, that’s where the family’s young assistant was banished after killing two of the men who took part in murdering his family. We find him there, about to swear his life to the Night’s Watch, while unaware of an important quest that will come his way courtesy of an unexpected visitor.
Saying anything more would spoil what is a very impressive third act, which rebounds nicely after the slight lapse that was Game of Thrones‘ second episode. I will tease you, though, by saying that a major player makes an appearance just before the credits roll. One whose lineage is of major importance to the series and its world.
If you’ve been waiting for the action to pick up, and for things to really get dicey, then you’ll be in luck here. Things start with a bang and there’s no shortage of intensity. That said, pacing is as important as ever, and Telltale has done a good job of complementing the QTE-based fighting with slower-paced and ever so important moments of dialogue and character development.
Being that this is a Telltale game, it’s important to talk about performance. After all, this is a company that has been maligned for using a dated engine to produce its games, resulting in technical issues. My two-hour playthrough of this episode was mostly glitch free, though, apart from one occurrence of repeated dialogue and a few character model flashes. They didn’t take away from the experience much at all, and were far from game-breaking.
In the end, it’s easy to recommend Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – A Sword in the Darkness. Not only is it well-made, memorable and thoroughly interesting, but it’s also relatively well-paced. Don’t sleep on it if you’re a fan of this world and its fictional lore.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
The third episode of Telltale's episodic Game of Thrones series marks a triumphant return to form, and makes us wish that episode four was right around the corner.