|System: Xbox One, PS3, PC*, PS4, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: February 3, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language|
Rodrick’s gameplay is certainly the most fun. This now-crippled lord gets to act like a badass and stand up to soldiers, discuss strategy that will allow his house to survive, and slowly plot out what will inevitably be a war that will either win the day or spell doom for his house and all his allies. I thoroughly enjoyed everything Rodricks’s story had to offer, and I think you will, too. Every conversation he has is emotionally charged and really gets you caring about the plot.
The problem is that Rodrick’s story seems to invalidate the choices the other characters make. The very fact that he is alive makes it less pressing that Asher make it across the narrow sea to take up a position as Lord. If you do force Rodrick's suitor into marrying him as Mira, you can just say “No, that’s cool, do what you want” as Rodrick, which not only makes the suitor turn from “how dare you force my hand” to “I love you and always have loved you” quick enough to cause whiplash, but also invalidates the last few Mira chapters you played altogether.
The presentation of the game is still as good as ever. The voice acting is fantastic. The strange “paint brush” textured graphics can be jarring at times but still give the game a sense of style. The user interface is more responsive and glitches out less this time around. The audio design is superb, especially one haunting song that plays toward the end of the episode.
Despite its flaws, the plot is still pretty interesting. I do want to see Asher eventually speak with Daenerys. I want to see Rodrick raise an army and fight back against the Whitehills. I want to see Gared find the mysterious North Grove and maybe run into a white walker or two. All of this will be awesome!
So it’s not that the plot is bad, so to speak, it’s just that the pacing is off. Personally, I think that Telltale's designers are spreading themselves too thin by including four main characters, each in a different setting, each with a different goal. Since they devote the same amount of time to each character, it ends up feeling as if very little is accomplished by any of them. A two hour game is simply not long enough to tell a deep and involved story with an ensemble cast. I think if Telltale decides to really focus their storytelling on one or two characters for each chapter, they can tell a great tale, and then bring them all together in the finale.
For now, I care about this story enough to keep playing, and I would recommend Episode Two to anyone who played Episode One. However, this is definitely one of Telltale’s weaker episodes overall. Here’s hoping that Episode Three will really plunge us deep into each character’s story.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: February 2, 2015