Fans will enjoy the massive progression in plot points throughout the episode, but will be left somewhat disappointed with repetitive action sequences and truly illogical events.
It’s been a long two month wait for the fourth episode of Game of Thrones, but now that Sons of Winter has finally been released fans can continue the exploits of House Forrester. The third episode of Game of Thrones saw the house struggling to cope with one unmitigated disaster after another, with each family member giving their all to try and help their kin ensure survival. The latest episode from Telltale Games promised a glimmer of hope, but in true Game of Thrones fashion, dreams are made to be crushed along the way.
With Mira still in King’s Landing, Asher in Essos, and the rest of House Forrester simply trying to survive within their own home at Ironwrath, the fourth episode does a good job in touching in on absolutely every family member, though the episode does have many weak points despite a strong focus on plot progression.
The scenes at the Night’s Watch seemed to put Jon Snow in an out-of-character light, with the honor-bound ranger himself quickly looking the other way as a member of the Night’s Watch – whom he believed was innocent – was sentenced to the chopping block. Despite this affront to the HBO character’s lore, the rest of Gared Tuttle’s scenes were a nice combination of stealth sequences, tense timed action choices, and choosing the right things to say to the right people. Of course, Telltale still gives Gared the option to lie about absolutely everything for no apparent reason, but at this point it’s almost expected that he has the ability to do ridiculous actions if the player chooses so.
Mira Forrester continues to mirror Sansa Stark from the HBO television adaption, and her character will truly flex her growing knowledge of ‘the game’ in Sons of Winter. Players will be able to utilize her adept skills in intrigue to help her continued struggle against the Whitehill agenda, and though she has the least game-time of any playable Forrester this episode, the quick decision making and negotiation choices presented at King’s Landing are a highlight of the episode.
The most disappointing aspect of the latest episode was that almost every action scene seemed to have the exact same quicktime event – rapidly pressing the Q button, followed by an E, over and over. It got very repetitive, and though the action scenes themselves were different, pressing the same commands for each of them dramatically reduced the challenge and excitement. Thankfully, Asher Forrester’s scenes provided the highlight of the combat just as we’d predicted last week, and will give fans the most challenging and refreshing combat sequences in the episode. Beshka’s performance in the episode is another notable highlight, with her backstory, voice acting and character choices providing some of the best moments in the episode.
Rodrik Forrester sees perhaps the largest shifts in power within Sons of Winter, as the unexpected help of Eleana Glenmore and her brother Arthur suddenly gives him the opportunity to strike back against Gryff Whitehill and the force occupying Ironwrath. As fans of Game of Thrones are well accustomed to be now, every action has a consequence, and the stakes will be high with Rodrik’s younger brother still being held hostage by the Whitehill family.
Most of Rodrik’s scenes are rife with important decisions that will leave players scrambling to think of both the long and short term impacts of their actions, and they’re undoubtedly the highlight of the episode alongside Asher’s fighting in Meereen. Unfortunately, regardless of which actions the player takes, they’ll reach the exact same conclusion by the end of this episode, which seems like a letdown after players navigate through such a large minefield of choices with Rodrik.
Ultimately, the fourth episode of Game of Thrones is the first mixed bag of the series – whilst some of the plotlines make important and dramatic developments, there are too many repetitive action sequences and strange character choices throughout the episode, alongside extremely unlikely strokes of either luck or misfortune (a locked door having a hinge on a loose stone, or a family suddenly giving you their elite squad of archers whom already somehow snuck into your Keep). These design choice combine to leave the episode without a realistic tone, which is something Game of Thrones often does very well. We also ran into several visual bugs where characters spoke with their mouths still closed, which was admittingly very off-putting. These grievances make the episode feel like a bit of a stumble in what has been an overall superb first season from Telltale Games.
The fourth episode still provides plenty of entertainment and great advancements to the plot, but we can’t help but feel Telltale Games had no small amount of struggle in positioning all the chess pieces ahead of the fifth episode for their first season. Sons of Winter undoubtedly did a great job setting everything up to help House Forrester inch ever so closer towards their goals, but we sincerely hope the fifth episode will feel more true to the series, whilst proving that players can truly have an impact on the overall outcome of House Forrester.
Game of Thrones is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3. It arrives on iOS platforms May 28th.