Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “telltale”

Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3: More Than A Feeling (Steam Store)

When the Guardians rescue an eccentric alien name Mantis, she claims to hold the key to the Eternity Forge’s power.

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Now Starlord’s left with one decision, destroy the Eternity Forge or unlock its full power.  Either way, the fate of the universe rests in his hands.

I have to admit, my original impression of the game was that each episode would be about someone each of the Guardians lost in their past.  It would also give a reason for why each one of them wants to use The Forge.  Instead, only two of the Guardians want to use the Forge while the other two think Starlord should destroy it.  If you want to know who wants what, remember Drax’s reason for going after Thanos.  Then remember Rocket’s origin story from Episode 2, the one that sent me spiraling into depression.  After that, use the process of elimination to figure out which two Guardians want to destroy The Forge.  If you feel that I’ve turned a complex plot from a fun and yet serious super-hero story into a boring math problem, you couldn’t be more right.

Each episode delves into the past of one of the Guardians.  In this one, it’s Gamora’s turn.  Unlike the last episode, this one doesn’t insist on taking a break from the plot at large to delve into a Guardian’s back-story.  During the game, it’s clear that Gamora and her sister, Nebula, have issues.  Considering that they’re both the adopted daughters of an evil overlord who turned them against each other as part of their assassin training, it’s not hard to believe.

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Now we get to see what drove Gamora and Nebula apart.  In the interest of not giving anything away, I’m just going to tell you that it’s a very deadly Three’s Company plot.  Whether they make up or not is in your hands.

The game play is typical of Telltale with you picking the dialogue options for the characters you play.

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There are times when you will have to participate in QuickTime events that require you to press the right button at the right time.  Like many other Telltale games, they sneak up on you.

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In the previous episodes, you had the option of checking your codex and mail and you can do so in this one as well.  If you chose to give Thanos’s body to NovaCorp, let me tell you that Rocket’s right, they are d*cks.  In the last episode, they refuse to stand down and let you handle Nebula.  These so-called cops won’t even listen to you when you claim that it’s to save the galaxy.  In fact, they won’t even give you the bounty and proclaim you the enemies of the galaxy.  It makes you want to replay the game and give Thanos to the Collector.

Some choices will affect the game play and, as I said earlier, there is one choice that will set the stage for future episodes.  At the end of the episode, you have the choice to either use the Eternity Forge or destroy it.

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I’m sure many people who’ve lost a loved one can sympathize with Drax and Rocket when they vote to use the relic.  However, consider that the relic can only bring someone back from the dead if someone else takes their place.  Also, remember that Hala wants to resurrect the entire Kree race and she will murder whoever stands in her way to accomplish this.  Would you take away someone else’s life and risk ruthless people using this power for evil just to get the people you lost back?  Trust me when I say that it’s the most difficult decision you’ll ever have to make in the game.  No matter what you do, this decision will test the bonds of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 9 out of 10, the perfect combination of light and dark elements.

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Life is Strange Episode 2: Out of Time (Steam Store)

After Max discovers her rewind powers, she finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for.  Not only does Max not know what her limits are, but she finds herself caught between Chloe and Kate.  To make things worse, the school’s psychopath, Nathan, is out to get Max and even her rewind power might not save her.

Spoiler alert, which I try to avoid, but it’s difficult not to talk about some video games without mentioning them.  First, I’m going to talk about Kate, the religious friend of Max’s who found herself on a viral video.  I’m going to tell you what I’m sure you’ve already figured out if you played the game.  Kate when to a party and Nathan drugged her.  As a result, she unintentionally starred in a sex video and has no memory of what happened.  People hassle Kate for it with Victoria in the lead and her mother and aunt disowned her.

According to them, Kate’s disgraced the name of God by starring in that video and, either they don’t believe that Nathan drugged her, or they feel that it’s her fault.  First off, I would think that people that raised Kate would know that she would not do something like this voluntarily.  Another thing is that, as tragic as the situation is, I’m glad that they chose Kate to give it to rather than Victoria.  I’ve seen rape used too poorly in many fictional franchises where the victim is usually a provocatively dressed party girl.  What many people fail to get is that rape is about power and ugly people can fall victim to it.  By having this happen to Kate, who preaches about abstinence and wears conservative clothes, you demonstrate that this can happen to anyone.  Doesn’t matter how pretty you are, how modestly you dress and how much you preach about God.  Anyone can be a victim and it is not your fault.  Kate’s storyline also shows how evil Victoria is and yet the game shows hints that she’s not pure evil.  Yes, she does spread Kate’s viral video around, bullies Max and even films something at the end that I won’t give away because I have to keep some mystery.  However, Victoria is there for her friend, Taylor, in her time of need and, at the end, even feels remorse over her actions.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t redeem Victoria but it makes her a more complex character.  Nathan, on the other hand, seems closer to pure evil but the game hints at a troubled family background in the first episode.  I applaud that they’re not using this to excuse him and it doesn’t look like he’s getting a love redeems plot.  That’s something that happens quite often in these types of stories.

Now, I’m going to talk about Chloe.  Right now, I don’t know what to feel about her.  I do like that she’s not pure evil as society would portray most female characters like her.  Chloe can also be rather tough and I can sympathize with her situation.  In the last episode, we learn that Chloe has an abusive step-father her mother married after her real father died.  This episode does give the step-father depth but it doesn’t excuse him beating up Chloe and harassing Kate.  Chloe dreams of leaving Arcadia Bay and making it out on her own in the big city.  However, some of her actions are very questionable, such as attempting to exploit two insane people who could kill her if she so much as makes the wrong move.  One of them, Nathan, actually did in the first episode.  Chloe also encourages Max to use her powers as much as possible, which causes Max’s nose to bleed and for her to pass out.  If that’s not enough, Chloe plays with guns and lays on train tracks, the latter nearly getting her killed.

When you save her in a destructive way, Chloe does thank you but asked if you could’ve found a less destructive way to do it.  I don’t know if this is a Final Destination Paradox, meaning that Chloe’s fate is to die, or if she’s just too dumb to live.

The game play is similar to TellTale with no QuickTime events.  You pick dialogue but you don’t have to pick it right away.  You explore different areas, talk to people, examine various items and take pictures.  If you discover certain information about people, you can rewind time and use it to get closer to them.  You can also rewind time if you don’t like the choices you made.  Sometimes, the game play is rather frustrating on the PC if you can’t line the camera right.  Other times, the mouse refuses to cooperate with you.  You have no idea how many times I had to rewind time until I could get my mouse to cooperate.

As you play, Max will automatically fill her diary with character profiles and her version of what happened in the story.  You will also receive text messages from various characters that Max will automatically answer if you press the right button.  There will be a point where you get a text message from Chloe during Jefferson’s class and, if you try to look at it, he’ll scold you.  I mentioned a scene that’s very tragic.  However, you can prevent that tragedy if you say the right things.  You won’t be able to rewind time in that scene, so be very careful.  It’s frustrating but, I have to admit, I’m glad that they’re giving Max limits with her powers.  It makes her more human.

This game is tragic and yet addictive.  I give it 9 out of 10, it gave me a bit of an emotional reaction but not strong enough to get the full ten.

Life Is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis (Playstation Store)

When Max Caulfield returned to Arcadia Bay, she thought it would be just another typical high school life.

Unfortunately, for her, she couldn’t have been more wrong.  Not only does Max find herself at the center of typical teenage drama, she also discovers that she has the power to rewind time.  Can she use it to save Arcadia Bay from an oncoming tornado, or will the power corrupt her?

After playing several Episode stories back to back with the main character being an innocent virgin losing her love interest to the slutty mean girl, this is a breath of fresh air.  While Max is still the virgin and Victoria, the mean girl, might be sexually active, it’s not as black and white.  For starters, Victoria does have more than two brain cells to rub together as demonstrated in the game opening.  She answers the question correctly, though still secretly brags to Max about it.  Max is also not completely against sex, despite being a virgin.  While she is capable of slut shaming and derides herself for it afterward, Max will also remark, after seeing posters promoting abstinence, that looking at that makes people want to have sex.  Even if she’s friends with a religious girl who believes this stuff, but doesn’t try to push it on Max.  In addition, there is a male Victoria, Nathan, and, unlike in several Episode stories, this game does not give him a pass because he has a penis.  Nathan’s not right in the head and, while it’s implied that he has a troubled past, the game does not excuse him for this.  He is every bit as irredeemable as Victoria and he’s not a love interest for Max to cure.  Depending on how you play the game, he’s an obstacle for both Max and Kate, the religious girl who’s good friends with Max, to overcome.  There’s also a character, Chloe, who listens to punk music and smokes pot but, unlike in many episode stories, you don’t lecture her on the evils of pot.

That’s her step-dad’s job and, let me tell you, he’s a real a**hole.

That’s right; this is not your typical high school game.  While Victoria is the mean girl of the story and the most popular, not everyone’s impressed with her.  When you talk to the skater boys, they admit that they don’t like her.  A teacher Victoria has a crush on, Jefferson, does not find her so attractive that he’s willing to break school rules.  Even Max’s geeky friend, Warren, isn’t interested in Victoria, though there are several not so subtle hints that he’s interested in Max while his friend, Brooke, is interested in him.  Did I mention that all three of these characters have stereotypical geeky interests?  This is another breath of fresh air, considering shows, such as the Big Bang Theory, where the boys all have geeky interests.  The girls in that same show, even the scientists, don’t like comic books and video games.  Max admits to owning Battle Royale and watching Full Metal Alchemist, though she hasn’t seen every geek thing out there.  You can even have Max read a poster about geek girls forming their own club and approving.  Max has geeky interests and has a tendency to zone out, ignoring everyone around her.  Therefore, you can bet that she’s someone I can relate to very well.

Speaking of being able to relate to people, this game has several scenarios drawn from real life.  I’ve already mentioned some details, such as abstinence groups, pot smoking and girls with geeky interests.  However, I’ve also said that not everything is black and white and it shows.  For instance, Victoria is not your typical mean girl character.  She is smart, as I pointed out earlier, and, unbelievably, she does have a sense of honor.  When you choose to be nice to Victoria, she agrees to take a picture she posted of you without your permission off the internet and tells you that this doesn’t mean the two of you are friends.  Don’t get me wrong, Victoria’s still screwed up, as she manipulates a friend of hers into shaming her roommate for posting an article she doesn’t like.  Victoria also takes several missing person photos of Rachel Amber and shows no concern for a girl who, for all she knows, could be in a serial killer’s basement.  The only thing that makes her less screwed up than Nathan is that she hasn’t killed anyone.  That’s right, Nathan actually killed someone and it’s how Max first discovers her powers by using them to save the girl he shot.  You do have the option of reporting Nathan to the principal but, since he’s the son of one of Arcadia Bay’s richest families, the principal won’t do anything about it.

Even if you do the right thing, you still get in trouble.

While Telltale did not make this game, it has a similar style.  For starters, you do make dialogue choices for Max.  If you pick the wrong thing, you can make use of her power to rewind time.  You can also explore several scenes and take pictures using Max’s camera.  Throughout the game, you’ll have access to her diary and phone, which you can use to check your messages, read character profiles and the story from Max’s point of view.

This game is intriguing and unique.  I give it 8 out of 10; amazing but doesn’t get a strong emotional reaction out of me.

Fables The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: Cry Wolf (Steam Store)

Bigby’s finally solved the murder of Faith and Lilly.  Now he only has to bring the Crooked Man to justice.

The last episode ended on a cliffhanger with Bigby meeting the Crooked Man.  T

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hose of you still interested in finding Faith and Lilly’s killer might be disappointed in the resolution.  Thankfully, the game is more about the huge conspiracy in Fabletown than it is about that.  Which, if you ask me, is a little more interesting.  As for who the killer is, it’s the one the fans most suspect.

Be warned, I have a few more spoilers to discuss.  One is about the social commentary on prostitutes at the end.  For starters, I should tell you that the one who killed those girls and the one who put their heads on Bigby’s porch are not the same person.  The latter is Nerissa, The Little Mermaid, and this is where the social commentary enters.  She talks about how the world considers prostitutes like her to be disposable.  If one of them dies, people won’t bat an eye.  It’s something Nerissa refuses to let happen to her friends, so she stuck their heads in front of Sheriff Bigby’s office to get his attention.  This is something that separates Wolf Among Us from other video games.  Don’t get me wrong, prostitutes are quite common in adult video games but this is the first time I’ve seen a prostitute treated as a person and not window dressing.  Let me explain that, more often than not, prostitutes are what the main character pays for on the side being little more than sexual fantasies.  In this game, the prostitutes may be victims but one manages to take an active role.  In the second episode, it’s Nerissa who leads Bigby to Crane by insisting he pretends to be a regular customer.  In this episode, if you bring the Crooked Man to trial, Nerissa will speak against him by pretending to be a witness.

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Truth be told, she wasn’t actually there but she didn’t expect the Crooked Man to remember her and she was right.  I’ll admit, Nerissa does dress a bit revealing when on the job and it is partly fanservice.  However, remember her profession.  When she’s finally free, Nerissa dresses casually.

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Personally, I don’t think putting a woman character in revealing attire is sexist.  It can be, if done poorly but, if you analyze each of your characters and you feel at least one of them would dress like that, you can pull it off.

The game play is typical of TellTale games.  You pick Bigby’s dialogue options, you have to make important choices and you have to press the right button for Quicktime events.  In this game, you get to fight Bloody Mary and it is awesome!

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Yes, the original Bloody Mary from the urban legend.  She can walk through mirrors, make copies of herself and is a real match for Bigby, in his original wolf form.  That’s right, Bigby completely wolfed out!  You even get to see Bloody Mary in her original unglamoured form and it is terrifying!  This is a woman who kills the children playing Bloody Mary in front of a bathroom mirror for kicks.  Even the Magic Mirror is afraid of her, I am serious.

As for the Crooked Man, you can either bring him to face judgment or kill him.

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Either way, it’s rather anti-climatic.  For instance, everyone at the Crooked Man’s trial is against him.  Tim claims that people in Fabletown rely on him, yet we see no evidence of that.  Speaking of Tim, he is also absent from the Crooked Man’s trial which feels like a major cop out.

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As the Crooked Man’s biggest supporter, he could have spoke on his behalf giving Bigby a true challenge rather than only convincing the people who hate him.  Speaking of copping out, I discussed Snow’s reasoning to have Toad and Colin sent to the Farm, which I did not approve of.  It doesn’t matter if you stick up for Colin or give Toad money, Snow still sends them there.  Then again, Toad could have been lying about Snow claiming the money didn’t matter.  This is a guy who complains about the cost of glamour and has a sports car parked in front of his home.  He probably screwed over himself and TJ, the one I really feel sorry for, and blew the money on expensive watches.

This game is intriguing and a little disappointing.  I give it 7 out of 10; good ending yet a few wasted opportunities.

Fables The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep’s Clothing (Steam Store)

After discovering Crane’s sick pastime, Bigby continues the hunt for Faith’s killer.  What he didn’t know is that he’s uncovering a plot that not only involves Faith, but all of Fabletown.

That’s right, there’s a huge conspiracy in Fabletown and it involves the Crooked Man, the same one from the nursery rhyme.

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You don’t see him to the end, so I’ll discuss the Crooked Man more in my next review.  However, I do want to take a moment to applaud Bill Willingham for his creativity.  For those of you who haven’t picked up any Fables comic books, it has a similar premise as Once Upon A Time.  Many people call the latter a rip-off of the former, but Bill Willingham himself said that’s not the case.  I will admit that I feel Once Upon A Time has the easier job with adding new characters.  That show is on ABC, which Disney owns, and believe me when I tell you that Once Upon A Time takes advantage of this.  Bill Willingham does not have the Disney Company to fall back on, so he must improvise with characters from poems and nursery rhymes.  Which is why Georgie Porgie is a pimp, Bloody Mary is a gleeful murderer for hire and the Butcher runs a shop near the Baker and the Candlestick Maker.

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I am not kidding about that last one.  You have to admit, for a man who doesn’t have Disney to fall back on; Bill Willingham is very creative with what he does have.  I do remember King Louie in the comics, who many people know originates from the Jungle Book Disney movie and had no role in the original book.  I actually took the time to research that, and I could find no record of Bill Willingham facing copyright trials for it.  However, I did come across a statement from the author saying that you need to do proper research before you publish.

I should tell you that Bill Willingham is conservative and, while I don’t agree with his views, I do enjoy his writing.  He himself admits that he never intended for Fables to be a mouthpiece for his political agenda.  All he wanted was to tell a story about fairy tale characters living in the modern day.  His views accidentally popped in as he wrote, which is something that happens to me as well.  This story is no exception and, I should warn you, I will give away spoilers as I write.  So skip the next paragraphs if you haven’t played the game and wish to go in fresh.

One of the Crooked Man’s operations is at the Butcher Shop Bigby visits and he’s been enslaving Fables to make cheap glamour.  For those of you who don’t know, glamour is a magical substance used on animal fables to make them appear human.   It’s rather expensive due to being difficult to mass-produce and the animals that can’t afford it must live at the farm.  Bigby makes a statement about how people are so desperate get stuff cheap, they’ll do anything without realizing the cost of it, which I rather agree with.  However, I do not agree with how Fabletown treats their animal citizens.  I understand that the citizens must lay low, but that doesn’t make it right.  The first act Snow White enforces when she takes Crane’s place is that all Fable animals must go to the farm.  Something both Colin and Toad take issue with because the city is their home.

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Even in the comics, the animals call it a prison sentence because the government won’t let them leave.  In fact, the Fables go as far as to appoint a human to control the farm.  Is it any surprise to see many people choose not to send Colin and Toad to the Farm? However, that doesn’t do them any good.  Another thing I will talk about in my next review.

As for what the Crooked Man has on the Fables, I never discussed Faith’s situation in previous reviews.  She is the princess from Donkeyskin married to Lawrence in the original Kingdom.  When the Adversary took over, Faith and Lawrence were a couple of the lucky, or unlucky, people able to escape.   In the fairy tale world, Lawrence is Faith’s Prince Charming, able to rescue her from her father and give her a comfortable life.  In our world, he can barely hold down a job forcing Faith to prostitute herself so she can support them both.  Nerissa, the original Little Mermaid, is in a similar boat, as she must prostitute herself to survive.

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Then there are Fables such as Beauty and Beast who live comfortably by our standards yet have expensive tastes.

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This leads them both to be indebted to the Crooked Man similar to how Corrine found herself indebted in Flowers in the Attic and resorted to cruel measures to keep the life that she’s accustomed to having.  While Beauty and Beast haven’t done anything that drastic, they both have expensive taste and they’ve paid for it.  Playing as Bigby, you are free to call them out on this, which I’m sure many people will.  I don’t know about you but, after seeing how Fables such as Faith and Nerissa live, it’s rather hard for me to sympathize with Beauty and Beast.

Speaking of Fables who have it worse, Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol is in this game.  He’s all grown up and still handicapped as the mundies remember him.  Let me explain that, in the world of Fables, the character’s strength is dependent on the memories of the mundies.  This makes some Fables invulnerable and others as weak as any normal human, called mundies in this franchise.  In the case of Tiny Tim, while the mundies remember him, they see him as the handicapped child in A Christmas Carol partly responsible for Scrooge’s redemption.  It’s speculated that this is why Tim will always be handicap and there’s no cure for his condition.  Either that, or there is a cure and he can’t afford it.  Since the Crooked Man gave Tim a job, he speaks in favor of him.  However, he’s not against the Fabletown government.  When talking to Bigby, he claims that Fabletown needs both the Crooked Man and the government to survive but a war is the last thing the town needs.  While Tim does not agree with everything his boss does, he points out that Bigby doesn’t agree with everything Crane does either.  I loved this interaction because it talks about the shades of grey underlining what seems black and white.

The game has other character interactions that make it worth playing, and even show former enemies becoming friends.  Colin, for instance, is one of the original three little pigs and he sleeps in Bigby’s apartment.  If you haven’t figured it out, Bigby is the Big Bad Wolf who tried to eat them.  Yet Colin regularly visits Bigby with no fear and even sticks up for him.

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Another interesting case is The Woodsman from Red Riding Hood, the first suspect in the murder of Faith.  At first, the roles changed to Bigby being the one enforcing the law and The Woodsman being the suspected perpetrator.  In the first episode, The Woodsman reveals that he originally intended to rob the old woman Bigby ate, but ended up saving them instead.  It’s not until you go to the pawnshop and see the Woodsman trying to get his ax back from the Jersey Devil that you team up with him and he encourages you to bring Faith and Lilly’s killer to justice.

The game play is typical of Telltale with you picking various dialogue options for Bigby.  Sometimes, you have to make choices that supposedly influence the story, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.  You also have to participate in QuickTime events that don’t sneak up on you as badly as they did in Game of Thrones or Guardians of the Galaxy.

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This game has an extra feature where you can collect a profile on a Fabletown citizen as you play.  Let me warn you that does mean you’ll have to replay a bit of the game if you want to collect them all.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, an adult take on classic fairy tale characters.

Game of Thrones Episode 6: The Ice Dragon (Steam Store)

This is the final chapter for the Forrester family.  One of the older brothers died in a campaign to free Ironrath from the Whitehill Occupation; forcing the living brother to pick up the pieces.  Gared’s found the North Grove, but he’ll have to work extra hard to gain the trust of the inhabitants.  Meanwhile, Mira’s scheduled for execution in King’s Landing unless she marries an evil man.

The Ironrath plot goes one of two ways depending on which brother you killed in the last episode.  As Rodrick, your goal is to negotiate with the Whitehills to prevent war and save your brother, Ryon.  If Asher survives, he must take Rodrick’s place as Lord of Ironrath and convince the Whitehills that the war is not over.  Since Asher survived in my play through, I’ll be reviewing that one.

First, I should tell you the terms of Ramsay Snow’s deal.  In the last episode, Ramsay told you that the Boltons would stay out of the Whitehill and Forrester conflict.  They will resolve this through war and the last house standing wins.  Personally, I feel that Roose Bolton would side with the Forresters.  No, I don’t mean that he would do so out of the goodness of his heart.  Remember, the game points out that the Forresters are the better artisans and take care to chop down the trees they need.  The Whitehills, on the other hand, are not only shoddy artisans, but reckless in their endeavors to harvest Ironwood.  Roose Bolton may be evil, but he is also practical.

If Asher survives, Ludd Whitehill feels that his house is victorious.  However, Asher refuses to bow down to the Whitehills.  In this plot, you see a new side of responsibility in Asher as he tries to hold the reins after Rodrick’s death, refusing to let him die in vain.  You also see a hint of a romance between Asher and Gwyn, the reason for his exile to Meereen.

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Yet, despite his exile, Asher still loves his family as they do in return.  Talia is someone you do not want to get on the bad side of.  She may be as refined as Sansa, but she shows a spirit similar to Arya.  Let me give you a little spoiler, if you choose to poison Ludd Whitehill at dinner, Talia volunteers to pour the wine.  Elissa isn’t shy herself because she’ll offer to drink from the glass first to save Asher when Ludd insists Asher take the first drink.  However, Gwyn’s character is still lacking in my mind.  I get that she needs to side with her family but if the Forresters submitted to the Whitehills, that would just make things worse.  Therefore, Asher has to fight with everything he has.

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Another spoiler alert, Gared is the only character who will survive no matter what you do.  This is ironic, because he’s not a true Forrester.  He himself must gain the trust of the inhabitants of the North Grove.  As for who they are, let’s just say that Lord Forrester had a few lapses in honor.

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However, Gared does face one important decision.  In the previous episodes, Cotter’s wounds are fatal.  It doesn’t matter if you tended to the wound, he will still die.  As Gared, you have to decide how you will end his suffering.

Mira’s plot in King’s Landing is rather strange because, to me, she always felt the least like a Forrester.  I get that Mira’s in King’s Landing because Elissa signed her up to be Margeary’s handmaiden.  She wanted her eldest daughter to learn to behave like a southern woman.  However, she’s never truly interacted with The Forrester family.  Yes, I get that would be a little difficult since she’s in a different location.  Asher also had the same issue but we get to see him interact with his family and show affection for them.  In the case of Mira, all we hear about how much she loves her family is through letters she gets and that her actions at King’s Landing do contribute to Ironrath in small ways.  I realize that the Forresters are supposed to be like the Starks, separated through tragedy but still trying to pick up the remains.  In the show, we see the Starks interact with each other before tragedy falls, giving us a sense of family and sorrow as they’re torn apart.  Since the situation in the game is different, it would’ve been nice to provide some flashbacks to show happy family times, making Mira a true Forrester in my eyes.  However, considering what happens to her, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.

As I said in the first paragraph, Mira has to choose between death and an abusive marriage.  Remember that Lord who helps you out in King’s Landing, Morgryn?  Well, spoiler alert, he’s evil and wants control of Ironrath through Mira.  Let me admit, I accidentally read a spoiler about Mira’s fate in the Game of Thrones Wiki and I knew she would live or die depending on my choice.  I’ve grown rather attached to Mira so, at first, I was going to choose marriage.

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Then I decided to have her die rather than marry Morgryn and have Tom, the coal boy who helped her, die in her place.

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For those of you who don’t know, Telltale’s working on a second season and, considering this outcome, I don’t think we’ll be playing in King’s Landing anymore.  This means that the plot will have many unanswered questions, such as why Tom wanted to help Mira in the first place.  It’s what TV Tropes would call shoot the shaggy dog.  Then again, considering how things usually turn out in Game of Thrones, maybe it’s not that much of a shock.

The game play is typical of TellTale with you picking various dialogue options for the characters you play.

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Some choices will have a huge impact on the story and, this time, I actually mean it.  During fighting scenes, you have to press the right key at the right time in order to live.  At the end of the game, you can compare your choices with that of other players.

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Since this is the true final episode, you can watch an epilogue of the Game of Thrones characters talking about each of the Forresters and their thoughts on them.  Ramsay talks about Ethan and Rodrik, Margeary talks about Mira, Jon talks about Gared, Daenarys talks about Asher and Cersei gives her opinion of the Forresters as a whole.  Let me tell you, it’s beyond awesome.

This game is depressing and yet addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10, had me a bit shaken up but I didn’t like the King’s Landing story.

Game of Thrones Episode 5: A Nest of Vipers

Things are finally ending for the Forrester family as Asher returns to Ironrath with an army.  Meanwhile, Mira found the Whitehill’s contact in King’s Landing and Gared gets closer and closer to finding the North Grove.  Can Rodrick still manage Ironrath with all this craziness and a traitor?

I’m going to give a slight spoiler for those of you who haven’t played the game.  There is a traitor among the Forresters and it all depends on who you picked to be your Sentinel in the first episode.  That’s right; the guy who doesn’t get the job throws a tantrum and collaborates with the Whitehills.  This just makes me believe that neither one of them can be trusted if they turn on you the minute they don’t get their way.  I will give some credit to the writer’s for Talia’s character, since she shows some real moxie in this episode.  She tells you about the traitor and recommends killing him.  However, if you choose to have Rodrick comfort Eleana in this episode, Talia walks in on the two of you having sex.  I have to say, Talia took it pretty well for a highborn girl from a medieval setting.  However, she’s not quite as adept with handling Ramsay, not that I blame her.  That’s right, Ramsay Snow makes his final appearance in the game and it’s definitely a memorable one.  He makes his first appearance at the end of Episode 4 and stays for the beginning of Episode 5 to tell you the good news.  You read that right; the terror of the north with no regard for life whatsoever is the one delivering good news.  Ramsay is still as terrifying as ever to deal with, but I’m still happy to see him due to having mixed feelings about his character.  I am both afraid of and attracted to Ramsay Snow.

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Don’t judge me.

Asher’s plot is my favorite, partly due to Daenarys and partly because you get to fight in the pits.

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Spoiler alert, Daenarys will not give you any of her Second Sons, but she will give you gold so you can hire your own sellswords.  She also offers to have Malcolm work for her, claiming that an alliance with House Targaryen will be beneficial to both families.  I said in an earlier review that Asher reminds me of Han Solo and it still shows.  Some of the speech options show his own sense of humor and I do like Asher’s dialogue with Beshka.  You can also win over the slaves in the fighting pits by either sticking to their rules or showing them a new way.

Since not much happens in Gared’s or Mira’s plots, I’ll have to combine their stories into one paragraph.  Gared is still trying to find the North Grove, but he’s come across a slight detour with Cotter and his sister.  I’ll admit, I did enjoy hearing Cotter’s back-story and learning that the Free Folk can be every bit as prejudice as the rest of the Game of Thrones world.  As for Mira’s story, she’s lost every contact in King’s Landing and things don’t look well for her.  This poor girl can’t catch a break.  However, I did like her conversation with Tyrion at the end.

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The game play is typical of Telltales, with you picking various dialogue options.

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You also get to participate in QuickTime events, my favorite being the fighting pits, as I said earlier.  As Gared, you also have the opportunity to hunt rabbits.  Some choices you make have a huge influence on the story because this is the first episode where you get to decide who lives and who dies.  At the end of the episode, you can compare your choices with other players.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 7 out of 10, some of the storylines felt a bit weak.

Game of Thrones Episode 4: Sons of Winter (Steam Store)

Westeros falls on dark times and the Forrester family is no exception.  Gryff rules Ironrath and Rodrick must fight for his right as Lord.  Asher goes on a mission for Daenarys in exchange for some of her sellswords.  Mira discovers that the Whitehills have a spy in Kings Landing while trying to get back in Margeary’s good graces.  Gared faces execution at The Wall for murdering a fellow brother.

I’m going to talk about the story that really upset me first and that is Gared’s adventure.  As I said earlier, he faces execution at The Wall.  The real kicker is I went out of my way to not murder Britt and remain true to my vows.  I even recited the oath aloud as I clicked on each sentence.  I am not lying.

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Doesn’t matter if Finn vouches for you, Frostfinger still doesn’t believe it and has you sentenced for execution.  Therefore, according to The Wall, you can’t defend yourself against other people who try to kill you.  Better to let them murder you or the Watch will do it themselves.  When I had to pick a dialogue option for Gared about the Watch, you can bet that I had him say they betrayed him.  Jon Snow gets one little scene before he leaves for Craster’s Keep.

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If you tell him it’s an accident, he’ll believe you but he’s powerless to stop Frostfinger.  Those of you who watch the show might see the irony in this.  Those of you who haven’t might want to skip this next part to avoid spoilers.  The Night’s Watch betrays Jon himself when he ascends to Lord Commander.  His aim is to unite the Watch and the Free Folk against the true enemy, the White Walkers.  However, many of the more old-fashioned members don’t like this new turn and trick him outside, stabbing him one by one.  Mysandra resurrects Jon, but it destroys his hero worship of the Night’s Watch.  If Telltale makes a second season, it would be interesting for Gared and Jon to meet and bond over their shared betrayal.  Gared breaks out and continues his search for the North Grove.

In order to give a proper review, I need to discuss what happens at Ironrath.  This is when Gryff’s rule becomes intolerable as he uses brute force to assure his position.  It’s very similar to how a bully will use fear to rule over those weaker than them.  Therefore, Gryff is little more than a thinly veiled Joffrey, which is the closest we’ll get to seeing him in the game.  To ensure their position, the Whitehills demand that Eleana, betrothed to Rodrick, marry Gryff.  Again, we have an obvious love triangle between a hero and a villain with Eleana having no affection for the villain whatsoever.  However, I will applaud her for taking matters into her own hands.  Needless to say, this gives Rodrick more allies in his fight for Ironrath.  However, the trouble isn’t over when you deal with Gryff.  Ludd Whitehill wants to make a deal with you and let me tell you something The Whitehills suck at making ironwood, so they have to threaten the Forresters into helping them.  While Roose Bolton is an evil and ruthless man, there is no way he’d still side with the Whitehills after seeing their horrible work.  The meeting at their estate does show one key difference between the Forresters and the Whitehills.  Ludd Whitehill cares nothing for Gryff due to being his fourth born son.  Rodrick, on the other hand, loves Ryon, despite him being fourth born, and will do anything he can to bring him back.  Did I mention that, when you leave Ironrath, you have the option of leaving Talia in charge?  I didn’t care for her, at first, but her biting Gryff in the third episode and openly rebelling against the Whitehills shows that there’s more to this young girl than meets the eye.

However, Talia still has a long way to go to catch up to Mira in my eyes.  Margaery might fire her and she still risks her life to discover who’s working for the Whitehills in King’s Landing.  Mira’s plot is about making a deal with her fellow handmaiden, Sera, and snooping around Tommen’s coronation to discover who works for the Whitehills.  I love how the dialogue options can demonstrate that she’s not to be underestimated.  You can also give Mira sweet dialogue options, though whether they’re genuine or she’s playing innocent to get what she wants is up to you.  There is one scene I found rather funny.  When Mira asks about Lyman, a fellow nobleman says that her ears are too delicate to hear such things.  Keep in mind that, as a handmaiden, Mira cleans chamber pots, which are old-fashioned toilets.  Yet she is far too delicate to hear of subjects such as sex, violence and drug addiction.  That logic astounds me.

Last but not least is Asher’s plot, beginning with when you have to explain to Daenarys how you found her dragon.

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I’ll admit that dealing with her can be rather intimidating.  I’m just glad Joffrey or Viserys, Daenarys’s brother, never got dragons.  It’s best not to think about it.  Anyway, you have a hard time convincing her to lend you her sellswords until you agree to go on a stealth mission for her.  You also get to find out about Beshka’s past and, let me tell you, the mission Daenarys sends you on is a conflict of interest.  I won’t give too much away for fear of spoilers, but you do have to stop Beshka when she gets out of hand.

The game play is typical of a game made by Telltale, but executed quite well.  You have to pick dialogue options for each character you play, as I said before.

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You also get to experience quick time events and, let me tell you, they sneak up on you.  My favorite part is when you get to go on a stealth mission for Daenarys as Asher.  That, and beating up Gryff, but it was a little more personal on that one.

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This is the one episode where the items you collect actually play a role.  For instance, if you collected medical supplies when you were at the Maester’s in Episode 1, you can now use them to heal a fallen comrade.  At the end of the episode, you can match up your choices with that of other players.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; fun but didn’t get a true emotional reaction out of me.  Being upset over stupid decisions does not count.

Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 2: Under Pressure

After the resurrection stone brings Starlord back from the dead, everyone wants to find out its deal.  Meanwhile, Nebula’s back and she’s ready to take vengeance for her father’s death.

This story picks up where Episode 1 left off, with Starlord’s resurrection and everyone wondering what happened.  You can bet that the Guardians are not going to believe that Starlord came back from the dead and, when they finally do, they’ll want to investigate the relic that made it possible.  To do this, they have to go to Yondu.

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That’s right, our favorite blue-skinned pirate finally made his appearance.  The meeting even brings a few funny scenes, such as Yondu and Rocket meeting for the first time.  That’s what I love about Guardians of the Galaxy; it can be humorous without undermining the tragedy in the story.  Believe me when I say that there is some serious tragedy.

The main plot of the game is Nebula retrieving Thanos’s corpse from either Nova Corp or the Collector, whomever you gave the body to.  However, there is a side story involved with Rocket, should you choose to take it.

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Yes, when I said the game involved serious tragedy, this is what I meant.  The side story explores Rocket’s past and reveals that he once loved, and still loves, a female Otter named Lylla.  Even though her character is, to use a common saying, stuffed in the fridge, the story of how the scientists treated living beings as science experiments is still a serious tearjerker.  Add what happens after we meet her and it gets worse, much worse.  Just watching this scene and seeing Rocket’s emotions afterward made me cry.  Even after I played the game, everything about Rocket’s side quest put me in a seriously bad mood.  Even as I write this, I feel like crying.  Despite the effect the scene had on me, I still recommend that you take a break from the main story and explore Rocket’s side quest.

The rest of the story involves Gamora trying her best to fix things with Nebula and failing.  Unlike Rocket’s back-story, Gamora’s plot actually ties in with the main story.  The language of the relic is Kree and only Nebula can speak it.  However, it’s tough luck getting her to cooperate.  I wish I could give a more detailed review of the main plot but the problem is that I still find myself affected deeply by Rocket’s side quest.  Therefore, it’s a little hard for me to focus on everything else going on in the game.  I will tell you that Yondu has the hots for Gamora which, considering Starlord, who Yondu raised as a son, and Gamora’s ship tease in the movies, I find a little creepy.  However, there doesn’t seem to be a ship tease between Starlord and Gamora in the games, more like a deep friendship.  Then again, I could be wrong.  I will admit that I kind of like the hint that Yondu and Starlord’s mother might have been involved.

The game play is much like your average Telltale, picking dialogue options for Starlord being the main aspect.  However, I’ll admit, from the description of the episode and having not seen the trailer before playing, I thought that you’d play Rocket for the whole episode.   Since Rocket’s my favorite character, you can bet that this excited me.  While you can play as Rocket if you choose to take the optional side quest, you mostly play as Starlord.  The game also features QuickTime events requiring you to press the right key or button in order to survive.  Let me warn you, it will come when you least expect it.  You can also explore the ship and, once again, check your monitor.  However, the second part didn’t feel quite as fun as I found it in the last episode.  Mainly because you learn nothing new about the characters or places in the codex, save for a few places and characters that the game adds.  In addition, you can’t respond to email people send you; you just read it.  However, it is a bit cute to discover that Groot believes in chain mail.  At the end of the Episode, you can compare your choices with ones from other players.

This game is tragic and a bit of a disappointment.  I give it 7 out of 10, two points added for Rocket’s side quest.

Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords (Steam)

After Ramsay Snow murders Ethan Forrester and hands their livelihood over to their rival house, The Whitehills, the family struggles to maintain their once great house.  Fortunately, Rodrik returns to become the new Lord under dire circumstances.  Meanwhile, Mira Forrester secretly plots to overthrow the Whitehills while working as Lady Margeary’s handmaiden in King’s Landing and Asher, the exiled Forrester, is on his way home from Meereen with an army of sellswords.

I should warn you; this is the second episode of a TellTales game, so spoilers are unavoidable.  For instance, Rodrik supposedly died in Episode One and then came back in Episode Two, his death turning out to be an exaggeration.  Personally, I felt that was a cop out that they centered so much drama around Lord Forrester and Rodrik’s deaths, forcing Ethan to be the new lord.  Then they destroy all the drama surrounding it by revealing that Rodrik’s alive and he can take over as the New Lord.  I’ll admit, I actually liked Ethan and his struggles with having responsibility thrust on him at a young age.  This was why I wasn’t happy to see Ramsay kill him at the end.  I think it would have been more dramatic to keep Ryon dead and see how the Forresters truly struggle.

Mira Forrester’s scenes are some of my favorites, partly because they include Tyrion, who’s my favorite character in the show, other than Daenarys.

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Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Mira, her struggles and how you can make her a total badass, if you so choose.  Though I think Tyrion might have been a little sloppy in his assistance.  Let me put it this way, this is the same man who told Lady Stark that, if he were to plot an assassination, he wouldn’t hand the assassin a dagger that could be easily traced back to him.  When Joffrey’s killers frame Tyrion for the murder, he points out that, if he were to murder Joffrey, he wouldn’t do so in a way that leaves him standing there holding the cup.  Tyrion also had to see who Cersei’s spy was on the council, so he deliberately told each member of his plan to betroth Myrcella to a different ward.  I think that, if Tyrion were to ally with Mira, he would do so in a way where his alliance would not expose her or himself.  For one thing, he approaches Mira while she’s with Sera, the other handmaiden, and not asking to speak to Mira in private.  Tyrion also failed to dismiss the Lannister guard before bringing Mira to the meeting.

Speaking of Sera she has a small part in this and it’s something I actually like.  She is a bastard and, while we see many male bastards in the show and learn how hard life is for them, we never learn what it’s like for females.  In the world of Game of Thrones, no matter how bad things get for men, women always have it worse.  Therefore, you can bet that life would be worse for a woman bastard, something I wish the show would explore and, I hope the game will take the chance to.  No matter how bad things get for men, they always have the Night’s Watch as an option.  I’ll admit, it’s not a great one but it’s better than nothing.  How would a woman bastard be able to cope in Westeros?  In the case of Sera, she needs to secure a marriage to a man of high rank in order to establish her security.

Gared joined the Night’s Watch and he hasn’t fared well.

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I don’t know what the popular opinion about The Wall is, but my mom absolutely hates it.  She finds it dull with only a few matters of interest.  Personally, I like The Wall but that’s because I’m in love with Jon Snow, who gets to make an appearance in this game and advises Gared in life as a member of the Night’s Watch.

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So far, nothing really happens except that Gared gets into a few fights and has trouble getting along with many of the other recruits.  Gared also talks to Jon Snow, the one redeeming feature about The Wall, about the Red Wedding.  They even discuss why Gared wants to be a ranger.

We heard about Asher in Episode One, but we never really get to meet him until now.  I’ll admit, I like Asher’s journey as well as his companion, Beshka.  You can tell that they’re both good friends who’ve seen each other through the good and the bad and are trying to survive in a harsh climate.

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They both made a living as sellswords and have quite a few enemies to deal with.  I was happy when Malcolm comes to get them and tells Asher the plan to save House Forrester.  I already said their plan is to hire an army of sellswords to take back House Forrester, but what will they hire them with?  Sellswords cost money, which they don’t seem to have in abundance.  Maybe they plan to pay them with Ironwood, which is their livelihood, but you only get to keep half of it if you managed to convince Ramsay that the Forresters are the better craftsmen.  Even then, you give over another half as dowry to convince Elaena Glenmore to marry Rodrik.

I particularly loved how Episode Two ended.  Talia sings at the funeral for Ethan and Lord Forrester and the former’s last words influence the lyrics in her song.

I found this particularly moving not only because of the beautiful song, but also because of the shift of scenes to the other Forresters and Gared dealing with the aftermath of their own decisions and their own struggles to save their family, even if they don’t live at Ironrath anymore.  It’s enough to make you cry.

The game play is typical of TellTale games.  You make dialogue decisions for each character you play and the game compares the more important ones to what the other players decided.  I’m just going to say right now that your decisions don’t really matter.  For instance, there’s one scene where you have to choose whether Rodrik kisses Lord Whitehill’s ring out of respect in order to let his younger brother, Ryon, the Whitehills’ hostage on Ramsay’s orders, attend the funeral for his father and brother or refuse and allow Rodrik to keep his dignity.

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No matter what choice you make, the outcome is inevitably the same.  So don’t kiss the ring and let Rodrik rule the house with his head held high.  You can also explore scenes with the character you play and collect items for your inventory, even if that doesn’t really accomplish anything.  There will be quick time events where you have to press the right button, so don’t drop your guard for even a second.  The Wall also has a game play event where you can demonstrate Gared’s skills in strength, swords and crossbows.  I’ll admit that I actually liked that part, even if shooting the crossbow is a little tricky due to the constant movement.

This game is intriguing yet doesn’t seem to explore its potential.  I give it 6 out of 10, a bit of a letdown but maybe it will get better.

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