Game Review: "Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness"

Warning: as usual, this review won't contain unmarked spoilers for the episode in question, but will have spoilers for the previous two.


Wow, this new Telltale series seems to be following the The Wolf Among Us formula of a very strong, shocking opener, a comparatively weak second episode, and a badass third. "The Sword in the Darkness" is by far the most intense episode yet in either series.

Not only that, but also the best written. At some point during a particularly crazy scene in King's Landing, I actually yelled out "Holy shit this is more intense than the goddamn show!" Maybe I was taken by the heat of the moment, but I'm completely blown away by the way that the story is being weaved around the already existing plot from the show without interfering even a little bit. This particular instance was during a behind-the-curtains scene during/after the Purple Wedding. You thought the stakes for Tyrion and our beloved show characters were high when Joffrey bit it? Just wait.

Just so I don't slobber too much too early, I'll get some of the negatives out of the way first. First off: I'm still mad that the scenes in Ironrath (which feature my favorite POV character in the show, Rodrick) would benefit from better villains. I don't want to use the same phrase again but goddamn what's up with Literally Hitler fucking everywhere in this plot? I get it, the Whitehills are the enemy but why do they have to be such giant fucking jackasses? There is no dimension or purpose to these characters as antagonists; they're just assholes, and bullies to boot. The families' history and the animosity between them doesn't quite add up to me.

There was a point in this episode with a group of Whitehill soldiers that made me feel actual real-life pain-in-the-stomach rage. I sincerely don't remember that ever happening in the show, or the books. These people are way worse than Joffrey, and don't even have the decency to be at least a little bit interesting. I know, it's points to them for giving me such a strong reaction, but really - it's not hard to make me angry.


I also had some minor problems with the Asher plot. Though I appreciate the fact that this series isn't ignoring Daenerys, the whole plot (only two scenes, really) seemed a bit anticlimactic, all things considered. I'm just glad it's legit moving forward, though. I have reasonable doubts about its capacity for any kind of closure, considering where it is and that there's only two three episodes left this season (EDIT: I've been told there'll be six this season; that's great, but my concern stands). Drogon's appearance, though it was intense for a moment, felt like fan service. Maybe I'm forgetting but when did Dany lose track of her dragons like this? Why does she need Asher to tell her where he is? And for that matter, it seems awfully serendipitous that Asher's company just happened to stumble upon his nest.

Congrats on Beshka though. I'm glad she's turning out to be a much better character than she appeared to be at first.

The best thing about "The Sword in the Darkness" is the fact that it was less focused on action scenes (which, let's be fair, aren't terribly exciting) and more on politics and allegiances. I had my suspicions that I had royally fucked up with Mira since the first episode, and I like it that those fuck-ups are playing a role here, however minor. The game demands you to take sides and the choices are surprisingly difficult to make.

I'm also glad to say that I can put to rest my concerns about Gared's plot in the Wall from episode 2. It didn't appear to be headed anywhere relevant, and a new development here proved that it does have a part to play, and a particularly exciting one. Though I still don't really like Gared or anyone involved in that story, I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. The only real action scene in this episode was in the Wall, and it was another great chance for me to put in play my "Zero Tolerance" policy with villains. I might have to pay later, but oh well. It was sweet.


And speaking of. Ironrath had more than one scene in which I had to let my hot-headeness get the best of me, and I sincerely hope I don't pay too harshly for it later. Still, one of the important choices taken by Rodrick's POV before Literally Hitler #3 (I think his other name is Gryff Whitehill) was amazing. It was a tense scene, and I'm very proud of the choices I made, even if they were risky as balls.

"The Sword in the Darkness" also lacked a shocker ending (though I can't expect one in every episode of a TellTale game), though it did lead into something promising, featuring a new TV Show character, thanfully played by the same actress as the show. I love that they got the real actors; it gives the games a much more powerful presence in the story. This is something I never thought was possible, but they sure managed to do it.

Who knew the Game of Thrones plot could get even more complex?

This is the best episode of the three thus far thanks to its intense choice-making scenes, and how beautifully it's been streamlined into the main story. I can't wait for episode four to see how badly my brass balls will bite me in the ass. Holy shit that's a weird image.

My Choices:

  • I saved Malcolm. I definitely thought Beshka could handle herself better. I'm glad it didn't cause bullshit drama. She's better than that.
  • I obeyed Margaery. Tyrion was about to get canned; he would no longer be a good ally.
  • I killed Britt, obviously. I did it quickly.
  • I stood up to Gryff. Three times. #YOLO
  • I burned the Ironwood Decree. Can't be tied to Tyrion at this point.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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