Telltale’s Game Of Thrones Episode 4 Review

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Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: Telltale Games

Platforms: PC (Version Reviewed), Mac, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, Android

Release Dates: May 26, 2015 (Windows, OS X, PS4, PS3 [NA only],); May 27, 2015 (Xbox One, Xbox 360); May 28, 2015 (Android, iOS); May 29, 2015 (PS3 [EU only])

(This Game of Thrones Episode 4 review will try to remain spoiler-free of this game’s important content, however it can make passing references to books 1-3 of the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, seasons 1-3 of the HBO television series Game of Thrones, or the previous episodes of the game series.)

Telltale’s Game of Thrones series left its fans tense with excitement at the end of Episode 3. The four main characters: Mira, Asher, Gared, and Rodrik have each found themselves in physical and political danger, with their lives and the livelihood of House Forrester at stake. With Episode 4, Sons of Winter, we’re over halfway through the series, and it feels as though the stakes have reached a peak where they can’t get any higher. A single mistake by any of the principals could potentially send House Forrester and all associated with it to total destruction, letting their name be forgotten as a casualty of the War of the Five Kings.

Fortunately, whether that’s their end or not, there’s still plenty of story to be told.


When I began episode one, I found myself equally intrigued by everyone I met. Main and supporting cast alike seemed to have something to hide, and something that made them unique and interesting. Now that the series is halfway through, though, there are clear outliers.

In Episode 4, the women especially shine. Of the main cast, Mira remains my favorite. Still in King’s Landing, she learns to play the game of thrones with grace and poise, guided by the occasional word of advice from friend and foe. Mira adapts quickly, and of all the characters I felt my choices playing as her had the most immediate, obvious, and useful effects. She’s grown into a good liar, a clever planner, and (provided you make the right choices) a kind friend.

Of the supporting cast, I can’t praise Elaena and Beskha enough. Elaena returns in this episode for a brief period of time regardless of choices made in the previous episodes, and exhibits agency and courage that I didn’t expect out of her, given her previous history of meekness and obedience. And then there’s Beskha. They may as well have taken Asher out of the Meereen plot, because she outshone him by far. In Episode 4, you learn her history and why she’s so grouchy all the time, as well as help her make an important decision in coming to terms with it.

The remaining characters range from just okay to meh. Rodrik retains his lordly, serious demeanor but is incredibly difficult to pin down, given the constantly changing nature of the decisions you’re offered in his persona. You can choose to play things safe one moment, and act rashly the next with no one batting an eye or reminding you of your prior plans. I’m invested in his story because of his relation to his family, but unless you make consistent choices, he’s not terribly likable or interesting.

Gared remains dead set on his path Northward. More interesting are the figures around him–Jon (who acts awfully uncharacteristically this episode, given his history) and his friends, who are ill-tempered and difficult as ever. Asher, meanwhile, takes a backseat to Beskha, though the looming needs of his family and intent to assist Daenerys (also acting uncharacteristically) overshadow all his decisions.

Valar Dohaeris

Episode 4, Sons of Winter, attempts to ride the energy it built in Episode 3, succeeding in some ways and failing in others. In Episode 3, the action reached a height of urgency and desperation, where everything felt possible, but where one wrong move could destroy everything I’d worked so hard for. In Episode 4, all the progress the characters have made so far seems to either stagnate, be diverted, or come totally undone.

The storyline at Ironwrath is especially guilty of this. For the first time, at the start of this episode, I felt somewhat in control of where the story was going. I paid attention to all the clues as Rodrik, and the action built to an amazingly climactic scene near the end. I walked away from that scene feeling successful and powerful, feeling I had at last made the right decision. Unfortunately, the ending of the episode pulled it all out from under my feet. No matter what I had done there, I would’ve been in the same situation. Ironwrath and Rodrik’s story have jerked me around for four episodes now, and no progress has been made. It’s frustrating.

Gared’s plot is dull and makes very little progress toward his eventual goal. We do learn a bit about his friends in this episode, but otherwise his scenes felt like a stall tactic. Asher, too, is diverted for the main mission from a time. I did enjoy seeing Meereen and learning more about Beshka, but it all had a distinctly Feast for Crows feeling to it–scenes just to pass time until the big event. Mira’s tale doesn’t travel far, and we don’t see her for nearly as long as the others, but she’s able to accomplish much in a short time.

All in all, I’m starting to grow weary of the serious railroading going on, and a distinct lack of agency. The story being told is interesting, but it doesn’t amount to much if the very mechanic Telltale is famous for may as well not exist. When I looked at my main decisions listed on the page at the end of the episode, I was hard-pressed to say if any of them will really matter in the long run. Switching up my choices had very few major effects within the episode, and I only noticed a few small differences based on choices from prior episodes.

Next: Mechanics Discussions, And The Final Verdict.