Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter Review – Rising Action (PS4)
Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter begins with a dead man. I don’t want to ruin anything, but, since the dead body is literally the very first image you’ll see after starting up Episode 4, I’ll go ahead and just tell you that it is Britt, the jerk that killed Gared’s family in the first episode and the one who Gared kills in Episode 3. Starting off with the cold, dead Britt is the perfect way to start off Episode 4, as it not only highlights the overall tension in the episode, but it also shines a light on its failures.
Episode 4, much like the previous episode, is a nail-biter. There’s a dragon, bloodshed, and a whole bunch of action-packed sequences. It is, in my opinion, probably the most intense episode out of the bunch. I sat on the edge of my seat while playing it, captivated by the building intensity of each of the individual plotlines and the occasional and startling surprise appearances and events.
Each playable character in Episode 4 seems to have gained quite a bit of confidence in himself or herself, and each character really seems to be fed up with all of the nonsense that House Forrester has been subjected to. I don’t want to give anything away, but be prepared to make more aggressive choices and perform more aggressive actions than in the previous episodes. Not only are there more aggressive conversations between various characters, but there are also a great deal of fight scenes in this episode. While the rising amount of action makes the episode highly entertaining, by the end of Episode 4 I did feel a bit tired of all the QTEs, and wondered if Telltale might have overused it a fair bit for this episode.
Whatever Happens, Happens
And while Telltale perhaps spent a bit too much time putting QTEs in this episode, they also probably spent too little time on really trying to make past choices meaningful. I know I said in the review of Episode 3 that the choices you have to make in Game of Thrones felt like they don’t matter, but this is really highlighted in Episode 4. I’ll use good ole Britt as my example. At the end of Episode 3, I tried really hard not to kill him. I made sure to not finish him off at the end of his and Gared’s little skirmish, and I really tried to talk him out of attacking. Despite my best efforts, Britt ended up dead anyway.
I would be okay with that, if the Night’s Watch didn’t want Gared punished for killing the guy in the very beginning of Episode 4. No matter what you do, even if Finn vouches for Gared, the Night’s Watch will still want to punish him. While playing the episode, the whole interaction between Gared and the Night’s Watch ends up making little to no sense whatsoever. These types of confusing scenarios happen a couple of times during the episode, making it all too clear that the game doesn’t value your choices in the least. This led me to care far less about what choices I made later on in the episode, and took away some of the power I felt as a player of the game.
Despite these shortcomings, Game of Thrones: Episode 4 – Sons of Winter is still an enjoyable experience. While I left the episode feeling like all the choices I had made were, and still are, essentially worthless, I also wanted to dive right into Episode 5. The rising action and a few well-placed, surprising events kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I played through the episode, and I have a feeling that the next episode will be even more intense.
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