Now that we’re over halfway through the Telltale season, it’s time to see if all those character backstories we’ve come to invest our time into are going to start paying off. Either that or your favourite characters are going to die in unpredictable and potentially avoidable situations; this is a Telltale game after all…
Who we can upset this time via a few variously innocuous comments? Well, everyone’s favourite dragon mother, Daenerys Targaryen makes her appearance to have a little chin wag with Asher. A move that wasn’t entirely surprising after his run in with a dragon during the previous episode. Whilst at first everything may well seem calm and under control, it’s not long before you’re forced into a power play scenario where it might not be only your reputation that’s on the line.
Whilst Mira might not have the threat of a pack of dragons immediately at her back, her section is undeniably tenser. After successfully sneaking into a party after some intelligence gathering, her segment perfectly captures the Game of Thrones frustratingly stressful political side. You’ll have to make choices that perfectly encapsulate the tirade of King’s Landing and choosing whether to further your own needs at any cost, or letting honesty get the better of you, can and will be difficult. After a rather uneventful start to Mira’s storyline, it’s clear that the writers were playing the long game; and now I’m actively looking forward to what comes next for her.
Rodrik rounds off the episode with a bang, a frantic and messy situation arises in atypical Telltale-esque fashion where people are shouting and vying for both your attention and your decision in a timed choice event. It’s probably the series’ best moment so far and whatever happens will stick with you for some time afterwards.
Aside from the generally strong narrative, there are of course the same issues that have also made the transition between episodes. Some choices don’t seem to matter too much and feel unexplored and unfulfilled, whereas others tend to force you down a path with only two possible outcomes no matter how hard you fight it.
Quick time events are a staple of the developers in these games, and make no mistake, they make their appearance here too. ‘Sons of Winter’ thankfully doesn’t bombard you with them, but it does include a rather pointless stealth section on top. Instead of being in a position of wariness at the prospect of being discovered, there are no actual consequences, you’ll just simply restart back at the checkpoint as if nothing had happened. Whilst it makes sense in terms of design and playability, it instead feels out of character with the games’ consequence-heavy choices that you make.
Nothing in particular has changed in terms of the looks and sounds; the voice work is solid throughout, and the pastel overlay is thankfully used a little less frequently. Some wonky animations are still disappointing, but unfortunately that’s not going to change over the course of the series.
Being the fourth episode of six, the events of ‘Sons of Winter’ mercifully gives the impression that things are actually going to resolve in one way or another. Storylines are set up, cameos from the main cast have made themselves known and the ending is succinctly nerve-wracking. Here’s hoping episode five can set up a suitably fitting ending.