[Steam] Winter Sale- Hidden Gems II; The Eleventh Hour

Personal Note: If you found any other hidden gems, or just have something to say, say it in the comments! It's the eleventh hour and people can actually hear you now!

Inspired somewhat by the recent post of Hidden Gems, I found that it's largely become completely congested. As such, I'll coalesce a lot of the deals posted by the guys there here, instead. I'll add others in case I find any of them in the original thread.
Personal Favorites
Puzzle Games found by crabbit
Random picks by ND1Razor
Unusual Games found by thelazyreader2015
RPGs loved by thelazyreader2015
Games Thrice Reposted by ParanoidAndroid1309
strikan33 posts the base list
With some other titles, Art4dinner recommends:
Gramis Silently slides:
A small list by thinkforaminute
Story rich, atmospheric game dragged into the light by BabyMustache
Less than a quid by Dux0r
A list of openish world RPGS from thelazyreader2015
Wishlist and personal favorites from gpt999
Misc Recommendations
With the large quantity of the old deals posted, I'd love to see any other hidden gems there might be out there. I'll post the two major things from the previous thread (The massive posts on Coop games and the massive post on games less than three dollars) below, and I'll post any other collections or mild reccomendations I find above.
submitted by Ullyses_R_Martinez to GameDeals [link] [comments]

[ADWD/GAME] Some criticism of the story of the Telltale Game of Thrones game

For some time now I have been slowly writing a critique of the story and lore presented in Telltale's Game of Thrones, and I thought I'd share it here, partly for some discussion in the long wait for The Winds of WinteSeason 7, and also because I ran into the character limit on Steam and needed somewhere post the rest of my review!
Please not that I've only focused on the story of the game, and how it fits in with the wider A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones world, but I will just say that the engine is still awful, the game stutters through all seven hells when changing scenes, and the illusion of choice is more apparent than ever before. Anyway, let's get to the meat of any Telltale game - the story.
Also, it helps to read this in Mr Plinkett's voice.
House Forrester - They are what I'd call a forth-rung House (like how House Tollett is sworn to House Royce is sworn to House Arryn is sworn to House Baratheon, House Forrester is sworn to House Glover is sworn to House Stark is sworn to House Baratheon). Then why does this incredibly minor House have sole ownership to the ability to construct the defensive equivalent of Valyrian Steel swords? According to the game, this incredibly rare and valuable resource apparently only grows in two places south of the Wall (both places conveniently obey the contours of the political regions of two minor forth-rung Houses), and House Forrester are the only ones who can work it - why then aren't they richer than the Lannisters, or the Starks, or at very least the Whitehills? If there was a minor House that uncovered the art of re-forging Valyrian Steel they would make enough money to buy and sell the Iron Bank of Braavos. Why is this House so seemingly poor? Is the only reason they are so poor despite their huge deposit of natural resources due to the need to shoehorn in a sense of urgency and foreboding into the plot? Every problem this House runs into throughout the course of the game could be solved if they reached their hand into Ironrath's treasury (which should be overflowing due to the demand of the products of the miracle wood that grows only in their backyard) and hired a sellsword company. Also, why aren't they rushing to the defence of House Glover? This game takes place at the tail end of season three, and throughout season four of the show. During this entire time House Glover's seat of Deapwood Motte is under the control of the invading Ironborn. Why aren't we helping to free our liege lords? More to the point, why haven't the Ironborn invaded Ironrath, considering how valuable Ironwood is?
House Whitehill - My biggest gripe with this House is that when you take their location and their religion into account they make zero sense. Ask yourself this: how did a House, sworn to the Boltons, situated north of Winterfell, end up following the Faith of the Seven, the religion of the south? Telltale's decision with House Whitehill just baffles me. The only thing we knew about House Whitehill before this game is that they followed the Faith of the Seven, and every decision Telltale made with them doesn't take this one fact into account. I liked the design of their seat, Highpoint, and I felt it really fit their status, but House Whitehill would make much more sense being sworn to House Manderly (a powerful third rung House in the North that follows the Faith of the Seven, and has numerous vassal forth-rung Houses sworn to it), and having nothing at all to do with this game.
Also, where does this House make their money? It's repeatedly pointed out how House Whitehill can't work Ironwood, so it's not like they're trading that valuable resource - how then are they able to afford hundreds of Sellswords when House Forrester (which is literally surrounded by valuable natural resources only they can use) cannot also do the same?
If I had the ability to alter only minor things within this game, I would remove House Whitehill. Have a rival House, by all means, but make it one of the other Houses sworn to House Glover (e.g. House Branch, House Bole, or House Woods - all of which were introduced in the same sentence in 'A Dance with Dragons' alongside House Forrester). This would also handily explain why House Glover couldn't interfere in defence of the Forresters - they didn't want to pick sides in a skirmish between their vassals. It would also help to make the spread of Ironwood trees more believable, as it would be one large patch of Ironwood trees within the Wolfswood, as opposed to two separate patches spread out on opposite sides of the North. This in turn helps make the fight for resources more believable, whereas the Forrester vs. Whitehill feud displayed in the game is the equivalent of a border dispute between Alaska and Florida.
House Glenmore - And thus Telltale stops trying to fit in with the pre-established canon, and creates their own House (because somehow they felt that there weren't enough pre-existing Houses?)! We know they are from the Rills, and that they are likely another forth-rung House (sworn to House Rsywell). Then why does the Lord of this measly, unimportant family have a group of twenty Elite Archers? It's the equivalent of the Mayor of Ord, Nebraska (population 2084) getting a protection unit of 20 members of the Secret Service. For what it's worth, I hated the design of these archers. They didn't look like they fitted Westeros at all, and very clearly done to cut corners, because their awful uniform allowed Telltale to reuse the model. I found Elaena to be an interesting addition to the game, and enjoyed how they utilised the importance of marriage in creating wartime alliances. But before I start getting too positive, I hated her brother Arthur. Not because of his character (he didn't have any personality to hate, he was clearly introduced just to add to the body count), but his awful, awful nickname. "Here's a guy who practises archery, what should we call him?" "Quiver!". Ugh, so terribly unimaginative.
House Branfield - Another House Telltale invented, but they make far less sense within the wider world than House Glenmore. How did a minor House from the Reach marry into a minor House in the Wolfswood? What did either House stand to gain? How did this match get brokered in the first place? The War of the Ninepenny Kings created very odd friendships, I grant you (read up on how Peter Baelish became a ward of Hoster Tully if you need an example), but that occurred almost forty years before the start of the game, so that clearly couldn't of resulted the match between Gregor and Elissa! Both Houses could've made far better political matches within their own regions. It's also been pre-established how insanely rare this type of match is in both the books and the show. The only Reach/North marriage we know of is when Jorah Mormont married the daughter of Leyton Hightower. But let's break it down further: Jorah had recently distinguished himself as a fighter in the Greyjoy Rebellion. Jorah had also just won further renown at the Tourney at Lannisport, and asked for Lynesse's hand in marriage following his victory. Jorah was the future Lord of Bear Island, a principle bannerman to House Stark. Jorah was a widower, whose first bride was a match of politics. Lynesse was Lord Hightower's eighth born daughter, and her older sisters had already secured her father multiple alliances with his neighbouring lords in the Reach, including his liege lord Mace Tyrell. This match was made through a rare set of circumstances which certainly didn't occur for Gregor the Good.
Secondly, how did this House manage to lose their seat? It's mentioned that they lost it in the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion, but this goes against everything we know about King Robert and his post-war administration. He forgave literally everybody! Robert forgave House Tyrell, House Martell and all of the Crownlands Houses for defending the Targaryens. He forgave House Greyjoy following their rebellion. We know that some Houses, such as House Connington, or House Merryweather, or House Mooton - all staunch supporters of the Targaryens, with the former two each having members serve as Aery's hand of the King - had the size of their lands reduced, but they still kept a hold of their keeps, and parts of their land. Why are we supposed to believe that Robert took the lands off a minor House like House Branfield? We know that the male line is still around, as Malcolm Branfield (y'know, the guy they wrote out halfway through the game to hang around with Daenearys, despite never being mentioned in the books or the show) is still alive, and was certainly able to keep the line going. The entire reasoning behind House Branfield losing their seat goes against everything we know of King Robert and his philosophy of turning the other cheek, and just feels downright wrong within the wider story.
The Sentinel - Firstly, why is this forth rung House the only House to practise this? It's painfully obvious how Telltale wanted to try to recreate the Hand of the King position, but it makes no sense when we're playing as such a minor House as this one. Anyway, let's just ignore the that glaring inconsistency with the rest of Westeros. When Ethan became Lord, to fit the brash and offensive play style I had picked for him, I opted to make the warmongering Ser Royland Degore his sentinel. However, when Rodrik became Lord, why could I not switch to Duncan Tuttle? Ethan chose a new sentinel following the death of Gregor the Good, why could I not change it following Rodrik succeeding Ethan? I routinely picked the options that allowed me to play Rodrik as I wanted to play him: unconfident, appeasing, uncertain, and yearning for an end to hostilities. Why oh why could I not change my sentinel to Duncan in order to reflect this decision? Well, there's an answer, and it's to do with shoddy writing. Midway through the first of six episodes you are given a binary choice, do you make Ser Royland or Duncan Tuttle your Sentinel? Well, if you choose Ser Royland, Duncan takes it very well, and continues to prove his unwavering love and loyalty to House Forrester. He fights to protect them, he mourns their dead with them, he encourages his nephew to break his sacred vow and betray the Night's Watch to better serve House Forrester, he consistently preaches peace to bring an end to the bloodshed and keep House Forrester safe, and at the end of episode five it's revealed that he's actually been feeding House Whitehill information all along, prolonging the bloodshed and constantly weakening the future of House Forrester. Alternatively, if you pick Duncan, Ser Royland puts this slight aside and literally attacks House Whitehill to save the lives and livelihood of House Forrester (including at one point attempting to murder Lord Whitehill), both at Lord Rodrick's command and of his own volition, and the risk of his own life, only to have it revealed in episode five that... he's a spy for House Whitehill. Whose Lord he tried to kill. And whose soldiers he tried to kill. And who he's always trying to get us to take up arms against. The motivation for their betrayal makes no sense, their actions do not correspond with their betrayal in any way, and the fact then when decision is locked in from episode one only serves to show how poorly written this whole debacle is. Keep in mind how I pointed out how Telltale denies us the option to change Sentinel after changing Lord, meaning that their own poor writing even contradicts the (admittedly poorly constructed) lore that they themselves created. This is a Telltale choice in a nutshell.
Finn - Does anyone else think it doesn't make sense that Finn follows the Old Gods? He purportedly comes from around Raventree Hill, the seat of House Blackwood, who worship the Old Gods - but would the Smallfolk in that region not follow the Seven? I can understand that an ancient noble House like the Blackwood's would keep to their traditions, but their Smallfolk? We hear time and time again how prevalent the Faith of the Seven is in the Riverlands, it seems unimaginable that the Smallfolk surrounding Raventree Hill hadn't been converted over time. Infact in book four we see firsthand how the Smallfolk of the Riverlands react to people who don't follow their Faith (see the overall spread of R'hllor across the Riverlands, including the part where Septon Meribald leads the orphans in prayer, and the reactions when Gendry (a worshiper of R'hllor) abstains). We also know how exceedingly rare Weirwood trees are south of the Neck, so how do these Smallfolk practise their religion? Are we supposed to believe that Finn (and the rest of these apparent Old Gods worshippers in the Riverlands) all travelled to the Isle of Faces to worship? Or are we supposed to believe Lord Tytos Blackwood let all of these Smallfolk into his Godswood to worship? It makes no sense.
Also, in episode three, how was he able to read my map? Whilst we don't know what his profession was, we know he's a low born commoner. We also know he couldn't of learnt to read from a Septon, as Telltale made him worship the Old Gods (for some reason). Looks like Telltale missed the point when Tywin Lannister said "He was a well-read stonemason? Can't say I've ever met a literate stonemason".
Cotter - Go back and watch the scene from Season 1, where Osha is captured, wherein she and her Wildling companions get caught and threaten to kill Brandon Stark, a boy of 10. Then watch the Jon Snow scenes from Season 3. Notice how the wildlings treat Jon, a Crow whose has abandoned the Wall for Mance Raydar. Then watch Battle for the Wall in Season 4, and the ferocity with which the Free Folk attack the Night's Watch. Then look at Hardhome in Season 5, and the immediate reluctance most wildlings have at the prospect of joining forces with the Night's Watch, even though their backs are up against the wall, and their situation is beyond desperate. Now, with all this in mind, picture the moment when Cotter gets caught stealing weapons south of the Wall. Why, with everything we know of Wildling/Night's Watch relations, would Cotter choose to join the Night's Watch? Why would he befriend members of the Watch? Wildlings joining the Watch isn't unheard of in the books, but this only happens after Jon Snow lets them pass through the Wall. Cotter's presence in the Night's Watch completely negates the gravity of Wildlings like Leathers who take the black, and of the other Wildlings who agree to help man the Wall.
Also, like Finn, how can this Wildling suddenly master the science of reading? Is Telltale seriously suggesting that there are people north of the Wall writing and reading books? He also uses the phrase "Seven Hells" to express surprise. Why? He's a wildling, who almost entirely keep to the faith of the Old Gods (although there are a few tribes in the extreme northern reaches who keep their own unique deities). In the North, belonging to the Faith of the Seven is a rare thing (see my House Whitehill section), to the point where they're mostly situated to regions around the White Knife, in the southernmost part of the North. With this in mind, how did Cotter become so acquainted with the Faith of the Seven that he could pick up a phrase like "Seven Hells"?
Frostfingers - Oh look, it's the guy Telltale created because they didn't hire Ser Alliser Thorne's actor! Oh look, he's got all of negative features of Ser Alliser without any of the redeeming qualities that make Ser Alliser a well rounded character! Oh look, he's got an awful nickname. I sure hope this completely one-dimensional character isn't a sign of things to come (spoiler alert, it is). Frostfinger is actually representative of a number of characters in this game. So many characters are just carbon copies of show/book characters, and instead of making me care about them and invest in them (as I did with Ser Alliser Thorne), all I can think about is how shoddily written, poorly constructed and bizarrely motivated they are. Frostfinger is a poor imitation of Ser Alliser. Elissa Forrester is Catelyn Tully. Lord Morgyn is Littlefinger. Finn is Karl Tanner. There are other characters who, whilst not as blatantly a rip off as others, are equally one dimentional. Maester Ortengryn is there only to heal your character, and exposit some dialogue about the family tree, with no character of his own. Sylvi is the tough little wildling girl. Croft is the brash sellsword captain. And all of them are just so dull.
Jon Snow - Why was Gared sent to Castle Black? Send him to join the Night's Watch, sure, but why bother having Gared go to Castle Black? It's no exaggeration when I say he takes no part in any of the important events at Castle Black such as the debate over whether they should attack the Wildlings raiding The Gift, he's not there for the choosing of the next Lord Commander, he doesn't participate in the attack on Craster's Keep - all these events at Caste Black pass him by, his presence is beyond inconsequential. He doesn't give us a chance to see the other side of minor antagonists (like Karl Tanner, or Ser Alliser, or Janos Slynt), we don't get to see the very minor characters (like Othell Yarwyck, or Donnel Hill, or Three Fingered Hobb) fleshed out, we don't meet characters from the books (like Dywen, or Iron Emmet or Satin), and we don't get to revisit characters now dead (like Maester Aemon, or Pyp, or Grenn). We don't even get Samwell Tarly. Instead we get Jon Snow. Don't get me wrong, I love Jon Snow, but his appearance is both underused and unnecessary. When we first meet him he has just come back from the great ranging, most of his Brothers think he's still loyal to the wildling cause, and he is currently awaiting trial for breaking his vows. All of this, and yet he's able to dictate orders to Frostfinger, randomly pull his brothers out of training at a moment's notice, and escort new recruits on their way to take their vows? The only reason Gared went to Castle Black was to meet Jon Snow, so that Telltale could advertise the game as featuring Jon Snow. He could've been dispatched to Shadow Tower or Eastwatch-by-the-Sea (places that thusfar have only received passing mentions in both the books and show), and give us a chance to see a part of Westeros we've never seen (more on this later on).
Margaery Tyrell - Throughout the entirety of the King's Landing plot you never interact with ANYONE from any of the other four stories, and NOTHING you do impacts on the other stories whatsoever. Mira's entire story can be completely removed from the game and the story would be none the worse and still make as much narrative sense. This is because Telltale could get several actors from the cast of King's Landing, and needed part of the story to take place there to justify it. Enter, Lady Mira. The fact that Mira is Margaery's handmaiden is completely baffling to me. We know who is in Margarey's Household. We know that most of Margaery's ladies in waiting come from other branches of House Tyrell, and that the rest are daughters of her father's bannermen such as House Merryweahter and House Crane. The game tells us that Mira's mother, Elissa, arranged this, but this just raises so many more questions. It would be a very privileged position for someone to be a lady-in-waiting to the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, so what did Lady Elissa offer to broker this? If the promise of Ironwood tempted the Tyrells, then why doesn't House Forrester have more promising and frequent marriage offers in exchange for Ironwood (surely at least House Glover would be interested, if not House Stark)? Are we meant to believe Elissa utilised her ties to the Reach through House Branfield to tempt the Tyrells, despite the fact they haven't had political ties there in decades (See the House Branfield section at the top for extra reasons why this appointment is baffling)? Was Margaery comfortable having a handmaiden whose family was actively rebelling against the Iron Throne, and who were at war with both her family and the family of her betrothed? Was Mira with Margaery when she was betrothed to Renly? If she wasn't with Margaery when she was with Renly, wouldn't it make Mira's appointment all the stranger, considering every House in the North was in open rebellion at that time? If she was with Margaery when she was married to Renly, why didn't House Forrester declare for Renly? Why didn't they declare for Joffery once House Tyrell switched allegiances? Why didn't Renly/Joffery use Mira as a hostage in the War of the Five Kings, as they did with other highborn prisoners? Wouldn't Margaery and Mira follow different Gods, and wouldn't that affect the choice of handmaidens (also, for a series in which Religion plays such an important part, this game's complete absence of it is staggering, especially considering House Whitehill follows the Faith of the Seven)?
As well as been unfeasible within the setting, Mira's appointment also creates holes within the wider plot. Do you all remember how in Season/Book 3, Margaery used to keep calling on Sansa Stark whist Olenna Tyrell was trying to arrange a match with Loras/Willas Tyrell? Why, if Margaery was trying to get close to Sansa, didn't she use Mira? Think about it: Sansa and Mira are both from the North, they're both the same age, both worship the same Gods, both have lost family members as a result of the War of the Five Kings. It would be a great way to lull Sansa into trusting Margaery, by showing her another Northern girls admiration for her. So what possible reason did Margaery have for not bringing her Northern handmaiden along? The only one I can think of is that Sophie Turner said no to Telltale.
Sera Flowers - Sera's appointment makes even less sense than Mira's! By getting closer to Mira, Margaery does at least gain some influence with another House (albeit a minor, forth rung House on the other side of Westeros). By having a bastard take up a valuable place in her household Margaery not only gains nothing in return, she is actively losing out by not giving this place to the daughter of one of her father's powerful bannermen. It could've gone to a Rowan, or a Tarly, or a Redwyne or any other important family. Olenna and Margaery have demonstrated time and time again that they are very adept at playing 'the game of thrones', then why did they make this mistake by not offering the position to a more valuable handmaiden? Or rather, why did Telltale make this mistake?
Tom - I pushed this guy away at every opportunity, yet he just kept coming back for more. Why do Tom, Mira and Telltale think it is completely normal behaviour for the Queen's handmaiden and a coal boy to keep meeting in broad daylight, in front of other members of the Royal court? I played Mira as someone who cared little for the Smallfolk, particularly in her interactions with Tom. When we first meet, and he asks to do the fires in Mira's room? I sent him away, and told him to come back later. When Damien the Lannister guard was drowning Tom? I ran away, and left him to die - Mira doesn't want to get blood on her hands just to save some coal boys life! When Tom considers going into Tyrion's chambers to find the Ironwood decree, at great personal risk to himself? I threatened him into doing it - so what if he dies, the decree is more important than a coal boy's life! When Lord Morgryn's offer of marriage involves saving my life at the cost of Toms? You bet I take his offer, there'll be other coal boys! Then why did Telltale completely ignore my choice to make Mira not care about Tom? Why does she keep meeting up with him in public, why does she act happy to see him, and worried when he's in danger? Why should I keep bothering to play if Telltale is going to tell me how my characters feel?
Lord Morgryn - Lord of where? Who are you? Where do you come from? What's your relationship with House Whitehill? Why can't you have the same relationship with House Forrester? Can your presence in the story and the wider realm of Westeros be explained slightly more than not at all? Same goes for Lord Andros. Also, following a comment he made in episode six, I feel the need to point out that Lannister guards don't protect King's Landing, that's the Goldcloaks, otherwise known as the City Watch of King's Landing.
Ramsey Snow - Ramsey has no business showing up in this game. From the very first second the opening credits end he is the bastard son of the new Warden of the North, making him one of the most important political figures in the North. Why is he wasting his time with this supposedly unimportant House? At the time of the first episode, Ramsey should be busy flaying Theon, and waiting for his father to return to the Dreadfort. Why then is he traversing the breadth of the North - from the Dreadfort in the East to the Wolfswood in the West - to harass House Forrester? Moat Cailin is still being held by the Ironborn, as is Deepwood Motte, does Ramsey really have nothing better to do then sort out a rivalry his Father's vassal has? Shouldn't he be getting oaths of fealty from House Manderly, or House Reed, or House Mormont, or any other important House instead of this minor one? It's not like he's overly passionate about the cause, he just gives up half way through the game! The absolute nadir of Ramsey's appearances is when you get to put a knife to his throat, and you get a Telltale choice to whether to kill him... despite the fact we know full well that he is alive and well in the books and show and all tension is completely removed and the illusion of choice shines so bright that it is visible from space. He has no stake in this whatsoever, and he's only in the game because they wanted as many show connections as they could get - and it shows.
Battle at the Harbour - This 'battle' is the perfect metaphor for this game. Where on Westeros is this harbour? Let's say it's near Ironrath. It makes perfect sense right, as it would mean that Rodrick and company spend as little time as possible away from Ironrath, right? However, this means that Asher and company have to travel across a Daenarys-ravaged Slaver's Bay, past/through old Valyria, past Volantis (where the waters are teeming with slavers), past the stepstones, past the Sea of Dorne, around the Reach, past the Westerlands, past the Iron Islands (which at this point of time are still in open rebellion), past 75% of the North's coast before reaching this empty port potentially located North of the Wolfswood, a trip that should by rights take months. Conversely, if we say that the docks are on the Eastern coast of the North? Not only does that mean that Rodrick would have had to of left Ironrath undefended and Lordless for all the time it takes to cross the breadth of the North (keep in mind the words of Roose Bolton, "The North is larger than the other six Kingdoms combined") , but the ship would have had no make the same perilous journey, substituting Ironbon Reavers for more slavers and pirates. How did both Rodrick and Asher know which dock to go to? There is no visible landmark in the harbour, nothing to distinguish it for the two parties. Where are the harbour's inhabitants? We know that some locations along the Mander are deserted as of the latest book, with many of the people fleeing to the sanctuary of their liege lord in White Harbour, away from Winter and the Boltons. Where did these people go? If they went to their liege lord doesn't it prove that this dock isn't in Forrester territory, because as Lord surely someone would of mentioned the influx of refugees to Rodrick. Does this mean that Rodrick has travelled even further away from Ironrath than my previous estimate? By extension, doesn't this further remove all dramatic tension when you consider how in this month longer excursion Lord Whitehill didn't once try to take the severely undefended Ironrath? And Gryff's ambush working somehow manages to make less sense than this entire façade. How did he know where the meeting was supposed to take place, what with his spy (the one I chose not be Sentinel) being locked up in a dungeon? How did Asher and Rodrick know which Harbour to meet each other, and on which day? It's not like Asher's ship had a Maester and a flock of ravens aboard. Even if word was sent before Asher departed from Meeren, how did Rodrick know what day he'd arrive, the sailors have no idea what day they would be arriving on, let alone what time. How did Asher know which dock to go to? None of his crew know the area, and he was sent into exile years ago. How did the Whitehills know which of the exits the group would use? Is this dockside town completely walled in, with only one exit? Why would it be built that way? How did he know that Rodrick and Asher would be at the tail end of the group, and not, y'know, leading their small band of fighters, like leaders are supposed to do? Also, why weren't Rodrick and Asher leading their small band of fighters, like leaders are supposed to do? This scene was so poorly construct it's liable to collapse and any moment.
Battle at Ironrath - I get it that the Forrestors are the underdogs in this fight, but what possible excuse is that for this immense violation of the sacred Guests Rights? We gave Lord Whitehill and his retinue our bread and salt back in episode one! They were under our protection, and Telltale railroads us into breaking one of the ancestral traditions of the culture of Westeros, without any option to do anything else! They didn't either stop to consider that the player wouldn't want to break the guests and take revenge on them. They just ploughed ahead with the incredulity, and didn't stop to consider whether or not we would be invested with their characters enough to make them want to break character in such a substantial way! Just take a look at the karmic retribution of House Frey for the Red Wedding, or the story of the Rat Cook (which was included in both show and book) - why did Telltale force us into doing this?
North Grove - Boy what a disappointment! The whole thing only serves to highlight that Telltale didn't even believe they could concoct an interesting enough story out the A Song of Ice and Fire world without forcing a magic mcguffin into the story to try and give the story more of a hook. The North Grove is guarded (what precisely is being guarded, from whom, and why are just three of the many questions that aren't addressed, despite the fact that the North Grove is the main plot of this game) by Elsera and Josera Snow, Gregor the Good's bastards. This raises sooo many questions. Who guarded the North Grove before them? They can't be more than twenty five, has this sacred place only been protect for a quarter of a century? How did these two get there? As we saw with Gared, it's a difficult journey to make even with two wildling companions, so how did Gregor the Good make the trip with two children? Did they scale the Wall (which as shown in Season 3 is very difficult, likely more so with two children on your back)? Did they just walk through Castle Black (which you can't do)? Did no one notice how Gregor the Good was gone for over a year on a roundabout trip whilst taking his bastards to the North Grove (considering how Lord Whitehill will throw shade at you for any little slight, I find it hard to believe he'd let not only his two bastards, but also his extreme length of absence go without mentioning it)? Unless their mother took them, in which case how did a pregnant woman make this trip? If she did make the trip, why would Gregor the Good tell her where the North Grove was, whilst not mentioning it to anyone in his family? As they have the surname Snow it means they were publicly acknowledged bastards (hence why Ramsey is a Snow, but Gendry isn't a Waters), so why didn't Elissa or anyone else mention them (again, Lord Whitehill should've been harping on about this constantly!)? If they were South of the Wall until recently what did they do? Where did they live? Why do they hold the same prejudices about the Night's Watch as Wildlings if they are from South of the Wall? If his bastards have spent their entire lives in the North Grove, how do they know what House Forrester is? How are they able to recognise the Forrester sigil, and differentiate at a glance a necklace that had been made by Ironwood and not regular wood, did their father send a Maester along too? If they've spent their entire lives in the harsh frozen wastes, why do they have any emotional connection to Gregor the Good or House Forrester at all? Unless they went to the North Grove after they were born, in which case was the North Grove protected for even less time than my previous estimate? Why do the other Wildlings in the North Grove obey the command of a bastard woman from South of the Wall? How did she learn blood magic? How does she know the magic ritual to restore her power? How did she learn the Old Tongue? How did Josera learn to master his Warging abilities? If you go with the suggestion their mother was a Wildling, how did she ever come across Gregor the Good? If Gregor the Good taught her the Old Tongue, how did he learn it, and how come in the several years he would have to travel from Ironrath, make his children bilingual (likely without the help of a Maester, despite the fact one of their duties is educating) and travelling back to Ironrath did no one notice his absence? How did Gregor the Good come to know about the North Grove? Is it a secret past down from father to son, in which case why didn't Rodrik know about it? Considering how is this place is somehow known of by both isolated wildling tribes North of the Wall (like Sylvi) and commoners from the Riverlands (like Finn), how is it that this forth rung House has kept it secret all this time? Do their liege lords, House Glover and House Stark, know about the North Grove? If they do, why haven't they acted upon this? If they don't, how and why has House Forrester kept this a secret? Also, why does no one in the books or the show mention the North Grove, be it as part of a fairy tale or an actual location? If the location isn't past from father to son, did Gregor the Good just stumble upon whilst walking hundreds of miles from his home? If he didn't know the precise location, how did Josera and Elsera find their way? Did he just give his bastards vague directions and send them on their way? If he gave them the same map Gared received, are we to believe there are multiple copies of that map just lying around? If the North Grove is so powerful, and Elsera and Josera have spent their lives defending it, why are they content to begin the long march south to reclaim Ironrath at a moment's notice? If this place has magical properties to protect its inhabitants, why isn't Mance Rayder marching his people there instead (It would be a lot more convenient and much less bloody than attacking the Wall)? If this place has only been protected for a decade or so, why hasn't it been previously colonised by the Hornfoots, or the Thenns, or the Ice River Clans, or the Giants? If the magic was keeping them out, why did it let Elsera and Josera in, and Gregor the Good before them? And, most importantly, HOW IS THE OVERARCHING PLOT POINT OF THIS GAME RIDDLED WITH SO MANY PLOT HOLES? WHY ISN'T THIS PLACE EXPLAINED SLIGHTLY MORE THAN NOT AT ALL?
Conclusion - From the day this game was announced I kept going over and over the possibilities for this game. My first thought was a Recruiter from the Night's Watch, going from peasant villages, to market towns, to cities across all seven kingdoms, recruiting boys and men alike to take the black, and having some adventures along the way. Then I thought it could be similar to the Ser Duncan the Tall novella series, and have you play as a Hedge Knight, going from keep to keep to sell your sword, and maybe take part in a few notable battles and lesser known skirmishes. I thought it could take place during Aegon's conquering, or the Dance of Dragons, or the War of the Ninepenny Kings, or Robert's Rebellion, or the Greyjoy Rebellion. But Telltale chose to force themselves into a corner by picking the exact period of the show and books, having us play as a minor House, and yet somehow having these minor characters regularly having meetings the most important people alive at the time to the extend where I spent most of the game waiting for a character called Gump Forrester to appear. This game feels like such a waste of a great licence, with so much squandered potential. Take the Greyjoy Rebellion as an alternative setting. We could have played both sides of the War, such as one of Balon's sons who died during their father's war (or maybe Balon's brother, Victarion Greyjoy, and have him die at some point, which would serve to both explain his absence from the television series and keeping both book readers and show watchers in suspense whilst playing), a member of House Mallister at Seaguard, a member of House Lannister at Lannisport. We could have seen the coronation of Balon, the burning of the Lannister fleet, the siege of Pyke, the Tourney of Lannisport. We could've seen many show characters like Tywin Lannister, Ned Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Robert Baratheon, Balon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, etc, with none of the character interactions or appearances feeling as inconsistent or forced within the wider story as what Telltale gave us. This game could have fit in so succinctly with the wider story of both the show and the books, but every baffling decision made by Telltale just has everything stick out like a sore thumb.
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Ive been smashing through all of the classic HFY and after finishing all the "classics" and moving well on my way through the "must read" list. Felt I should return something back. First time. Be gentle, point out mistakes/hints/pointers. I havent written anything creative since fucking back in highschool which is over 7 years ago. Super rusty, but just adore this subreddit too much not to try.
What have we done? The cradle that nurtured us, that protected us, that raised us, an empty radioactive shell. A semi devoured husk of environmental problems. As harsh as space is, the future here, amongst the stars offers more hope, more of an actual future than the nuclear wasteland below. Ragnarok. Judgement day. The apocalypse. It had all arrived. The horseman of war rides out amongst the radioactive rubble. Surtr has engulfed the world in fire. Vishnu the destroyer upon his white steed fla