Given their reputation, it’s hard to argue against Telltale’s episodic method of gameplay development; a quick look at their recent releases proves they have the pedigree to work in just about any world. I admit my own skepticism when I heard they were developing a series within George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but by the end of the series’ second episode, The Lost Lords, it’s clear to me that the minds at Telltale not only know what they’re doing, they’re just warming up.
The Lost Lords begins on one of Episode One’s lost ones, Asher Forrester, currently exiled in Yunkai. Meanwhile, Mira is still trying to leverage the favors of Margaery Tyrell and Tyrion Lannister in her family’s favor, as well as balancing her strained friendship with another handmaiden. Gared Tuttle has just reached the Wall and is preparing to take the Black, joining the ranks of the Watchers that guard the northern border. And the situation at Ironrath continues to worsen, with the death of one lord and the unexpected arrival of another.
Some of Episode Two’s best moments take place at the beginning, and it’s hard to describe how profoundly they affect the overall plot without giving too much away. The events in this episode’s first two scenes feel like they were pulled directly out of the books or television show.
There’s a lot of variety in Lost Lords’ settings as a result, with intrigue and action from the icy north to dangerous desert cities, and that means more gameplay variety as well. The Forresters all deal with fairly similar situations in Iron from Ice, but each locale in Lost Lords has its own set of politics and means of confronting them. Playing as the Forresters is a long game of telephone in which no one actually talks and everyone must consider the lives of each other at all times. The game nails the idea of backstabbing lords and unsuspecting servants in King’s Landing, capturing the same urgency and dismay we’ve come to expect from something carrying “Game of Thrones” in the title.
The Lost Lords offers no respite from the anguish of Iron from Ice, and keeps the energy and intrigue up in in some very intense ways. And with very few opportunities to breathe and survey the damage in Episode Two, you often forget just how strongly your choices ripple out to your loved ones. It’s almost impossible trying to decide the best out, until you realize that there is no such thing as the best way in Westeros.