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Video Game Review: Game of Thrones, Episode 2

February 3, 2015 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Game of Thrones, Episode 2
SPOILER ALERT: The guy on the left knows nothing.

Please note that since each episode of Game of Thrones features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final five episodes. To read our thoughts on that, refer to our review of Iron from Ice.

After setting a lot of things in motion in the first episode, with critical decisions aplenty and a surprising ending, Game of Thrones’ second act (The Lost Lords) does little to advance the story in meaningful ways as it crams four separate plotlines into less than two hours of game time.

Two of those stories follow characters you controlled previously — Gerard Tuttle, who arrives at The Wall, and Mira Forrester, who remains in the service of Margaery Tyrell — while you’ll be adding two new playable arcs. The first is that of Asher Forrester, the exiled brother in Slaver’s Bay that is now making his way as a sell sword, while the second we’ll let you discover for yourself.

Asher’s story begins in Yunkai, and although it offers some welcome action sequences, it’s short on decisions that affect the game. You get to choose whether or not to kill a couple of people, but beyond that it’s mostly him and his travelling companion, a woman named Beskha, exchanging chitchat. Asher comes across as likable, but thus far he’s more Daario Naharis (the self-professed “simplest man you’ll ever meet”) than Jorah Mormont in terms of complexity.

Back in King’s Landing, Mira’s tale is a mixed bag. She’s presented with probably the most significant decision of the entire episode — whether or not to betray Margaery’s trust — before being shoehorned into a negotiating session after Tyrion Lannister just happens to walk past her on his way to said meeting and invites her along so he can “have some fun.” It felt far too convenient and completely out of place in the meticulously crafted world of Game of Thrones.

If you’ve watched the show you’re in for a lot of deja vu with Gerard’s introduction to the Night’s Watch, which mirrors Jon Snow’s experiences too closely for its own good. You’ve got the obvious rival (a bully), the weaker friend (who runs afoul of that bully) and even the acting Lord Commander, Frostfinger, that dislikes you for no obvious reason. The appearance of Snow to dispense advice doesn’t add a lot, and the combat trial mini games feel like little more than filler. Plus, given the permanent nature of taking “the black,” we’re wondering how they’ll weave this back into the main storyline.

At the centre of it all is House Forrester, and its dwindling influence. For all the branching paths, it’s pretty clear this is what Game of Thrones will ultimately come down to — your ability to re-establish the house’s stature, how you go about doing it and what you do when you get it. And for all the brushes with well-known characters, it’s obvious that the Whitehills are the ones in your crosshairs. They show up again in The Lost Lords to remind you just how villainous they are, and we’ll admit we’re already looking forward to getting all Valar Morghulis on them.

OVERALL (3.5/5)

The Lost Lords pushes storylines forward incrementally and helps to clarify the big picture of what’s at stake, which could be a blessing in future installments. Viewed exclusively as a standalone, however, it’s lacking any particularly memorable moments.

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Video Game Review: Life is Strange, Episode 1

February 1, 2015 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Time travel isn’t just used as a chance to rethink decisions, either. It’s also necessary to solve the game’s various puzzles. For instance, at one point you need to recover a flash drive that’s in another girl’s dorm room, but it’s being blocked by another student for boy-related reasons. A conversation between the two of you may go nowhere initially, however you’ll pick up information that can be used in a second attempt at the same chat, which gets to the root of the issue.
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Blu-ray Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

December 29, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
While the broad strokes of the turtles’ origin have been retained — a leaked mutagen covers the four turtles, who are then raised and trained in the sewers by their rat father/sensei Splinter — many of the details are different. This includes the introduction of a new villain, Eric Sacks (played by William Fichtner), who bioengineered the mutagen along with the deceased father of news reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox), as well as the omission of Hamato Yoshi, the rival of Oroku Saki (AKA Shredder) and master of Splinter.
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Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX

December 26, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
As good as KH II is, however, Birth by Sleep might be the best game in the series. Despite being a PSP game originally, it never feels technically inferior to its PS2 counterpart. More importantly, the prequel features the best, most coherent story in the series, dealing with more interesting themes and concentrating on a cast of original characters (Terra, Aqua and Ventus) along the way. If you’ve had trouble following the story arc of the two main entries, this helps clarify some of the lore.
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Video Game Review: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

December 22, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Collecting and unlocking loads of content has long been one of the LEGO series’ top draws, and on that front Batman 3 features an embarrassment of riches. There is a ton of characters to unlock, hidden items to find (including rescuing Adam West, the original Batman), bricks to hoard and inside jokes to the DC universe to uncover — and that’s written as someone that’s hardly a denizen of the comics, so those that are better versed in the fiction should get even more out of it.
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