28th May2015

‘Game of Thrones: Episode Four – Sons of Winter’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

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With the release of Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter we seem to finally be on course to get episodes released at a pace that won’t kill the flow of the story.  Events on the television show may be causing fans to discuss just how dark it can get before it is too much which, so it is  somewhat refreshing that Telltale are keeping to the business of playing the game of politics, bloodshed and dragons.  The question is though is episode a case of more of the same, or do the choices we make have a more significant impact on the events of Westeros.

Continuing from previous episodes and to try to keep spoilers as light as possible it is best to keep the details brief in this description of the episode.  With Asher negotiating with Daenerys Targaryen for the use of soldiers for his return to Ironrath, Gared’s career with the Crows looking grim, Mira caught up in the politics of Kings Landing and Roderick fighting to keep their home in the hands of the family there is plenty to get through in terms of plot.  Don’t worry though action fans, there is plenty of chances for blood to spurt all over the screen, which it does in graphic detail.

In looking into the history of side characters such as Beshka and the somewhat annoying Whitehill family there are moments where the game becomes heavy in dialogue, but this is something that fans of Game of Thrones will love, especially when these details become important to events in the game.  In scenes where politics is key even at an emotional level we are given the choice to make certain manoeuvres that characters will react to.  Whether these choices have real impact on the story, that is up for debate but in the moment when tensions are running high the paths we take do feel important, and in the story of Game of Thrones this is what makes the game an enjoyable experience, if somewhat lacking in real emotional impact.  This is especially noticeable when Life is Strange is getting this so right at the moment.  Telltale now really have real competition, which will hopefully push them to up their game.

Sons of Winter is an episode that fans of Game of Thrones will enjoy, because it puts focus on where the events in the game are actually taking place in the chronology of Game of Thrones.  The fact that Jon Snow has not yet moved north of the wall and Kings Landing is still dealing with the Purple Wedding fallout are easy enough hints as to what we can expect to play an impact on the game, events which we assume will affect the story we are playing through.  The fact that Asher, Malcom and Beskha take part in the siege of Mereen is probably the most interesting revelation on them all and the action scenes are fun to play through, and actually flesh out what we saw on the show.  I particularly like how much we learn about Beskha and just why she didn’t want to travel to Mereen in the first place.  This is an important episode for her character development.

For all the choices we make in Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter I do feel myself becoming slightly desensitised to the emotional impact we should feel while playing the game.  In ways I feel my choices with Mira are Cersai-like in Machiavellian manipulation and that in the success I had, this was used to show just how easy it is to abuse the power you have as a player.  This is a positive aspect though as it does fulfil an aim of the game.  King’s Landing is not a place to show weakness, and Mira definitely is not a weak character.  Game of Thrones is about political subterfuge where the stab in the back could come at any time, the choices I make definitely fit into the world.

Bloody and satisfying but with a certain lack of emotional impact Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter is enjoyable and is a fit into what the show has become.  Future episodes though need to find some focus and work towards the end game.  There is a lot to happen before the story finds its conclusion and the teaser for the next episode does promise major choices to be made, and that we will be part of events we’ve already seen in the show.  It is definitely on the right path though and I’m looking forward to see what comes next.  Now for the next episode of Tales from the Borderlands to be released so we can continue with that story…I’m waiting impatiently for that one.

**** 4/5

Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter is out now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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