Game of Thrones: Episode 2 – The Lost Lords marks our second journey to Westeros courtesy of Telltale Games. Those of you with longer memories may recall that we thought that the season premiere was decent, if not outstanding – but fortunately this seems like a better indication of where the series is headed.
Naturally, the debut had a wealth of exposition to relay, as it was merely the introduction to a six episode story. It's clear even after this latest instalment, however, that we've only just begun to scratch the surface of House Forrester and their home, Ironrath.
Again, for those not up to date, you'll assume the role of several characters throughout this series, which seems to fit the massive cast of personalities in the books and show – but it can lead to problems. For instance, Episode 1 felt like it massively underused Gared Tuttle, one of the heroes that you play as, but fortunately this has been resolved in the latest outing, as he features in a fair few hefty sequences, while also sharing screen time with one of the HBO programme's more popular characters.
Of course, you have to take the rough with the smooth, and Mira Forrester – who already felt overused in the debut – gets just about the same amount of attention here. Fortunately, her arc finally comes together towards the end of this outing, and she finally starts to stop feeling like a mere Sansa Stark rehash.
There are some new characters introduced, too, which provide plenty of promise for future episodes. These include an exiled member of House Forrester – whose sequences include some of Telltale's best fight choreography to date – and a person once thought dead. These are great additions, and along with appearances from some of the best supporting characters – like Talia, this writer's far and away favourite so far – there's a real step up in the quality of the cast interactions this time.
This, of course, leads to a much more engaging plot – even if it does still feel like it's setting up future events a little too much. Make no mistake, this is definitely a better effort, and it reveals a roadmap of where the season's heading, but it does feel like the writers are treading water still.
As for the other aspects of the release, we'll save you from the usual glut of glitches – the customary Telltale issues are sadly present and correct here – and spare a mention for the art style, which continues to stand out from the rest of Telltale's releases. We still think that the canvas painted backgrounds look fantastic – especially in Yunkai – which is very different to the likes of King's Landing and Ironrath.
That's all in addition to an excellent score by Jared Emerson Johnson, which features an absolutely beautiful song sung in-game to close out the episode. What's particularly neat about this is that the lyrics of the ditty change depending on your choices, which is an inspired touch.
Game of Thrones: Episode 2 – The Lost Lords definitely takes some steps in the right direction. While the inaugural episode wasn't bad, the follow-up improves upon it in almost all areas. Still, we can't help but shake the feeling that the series is treading water right now, and while we have a clearer idea of the direction in which things are moving, this has definitely been a somewhat slow burn thus far. At the same time, when all's said and done, we may look back on this instalment as the one that started to show the noose tightening around the neck of House Forrester.