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It finally happened. I was more excited for this episode of the Game of Thrones game than I am for the HBO show.

I’ve actually fallen behind in the Game of Thrones television program, which is about halfway through its fifth season. But I wouldn’t dream of missing an episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones. I felt my preference start leaning toward the game after I finished the third episode, but as I excitedly booted up Sons of Winter (the subtitle of the fourth episode) on Xbox One, I realized that I’m way more engaged in the story that Telltale has written than the one that HBO is televising.

And now that I’ve finished the latest episode, I still feel that way.

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What you’ll like

Your characters have more on the line than ever

One of the big reasons I’m so into this take on Game of Thrones is because of its characters. The main Forrester family is still on a course for destruction, but its case has looked hopeless up until this point. That changes in this episode as your characters finally get the opportunity, the power, or the bravery to take some action.

But now that I can see an out for Mira, Rodrik, and the rest, it emphasizes how much is on the line for them.

This brings everything back to the center of Telltale’s gameplay style: the choices.

Do I test someone’s love for their family and risk them potentially killing someone from mine? Should I betray one of the few friends I have just to get a piece of information that may help my house?

More than ever, I can feel the poisonous hope that things will work out pushing me to make decisions for my characters that are riskier and potentially even crueler to the people around me. And that’s exactly what I want from Game of Thrones.

Storytelling is zippy

I’ve now finished two-thirds of Telltale’s six-part Game of Thrones series, and I’m still impressed by the pacing of the developer pumps into these episodes.

The story is constantly bouncing around between the four main stories, and that keeps things from ever turning into a bore. The writers know who to put a beginning, middle, and end into every scene, and that infuses the larger story with several tinier arcs that are satisfying on their own.

What you won’t like

Tech is still a bit wonky

It’s well known at this point that bugs are a big part of Telltale games. Some have reported losing saves due to corrupted data. I’ve not experienced that, but I can definitely report that the fourth episode has some occasional audio problems where voices get out of sync with the characters. The game can also take a moment to load in characters when the camera changes angles. It’s distracting — although these are not problems that ruined anything for me.

Conclusion

As we start to reach the conclusion of Telltale’s first Game of Thrones season, I can’t help but continue to love the original story that the studio is weaving. It has everything that show has, but it feels more weighty. And that’s why I’m certain that I’ll continue to prefer what the game is doing compared to the show.

Score: 89/100

Telltale Games provided GamesBeat with a Xbox One download code for the purposes of this review. Game of Thrones: Episode Three is out this week for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, and Android.

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