Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness was developed and published on Xbox One and Xbox 360 by Telltale Games. It was released March 25, 2015 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Telltale for review purposes.

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Where Episode 1 and Episode 2 of Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones adaptation gave us a slow but intriguing insight into what the series might have in store for us, Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness is somewhat lacking in the same kind of peril, intrigue and action that fans of the epic novels have come to expect.

I can forgive myself for having high expectations for the long-awaited Episode 3 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series. After all, the deep intrigue and much-improved action offered by the previous episode was bound to get players excited for The Sword in the Darkness. Unfortunately, after just under two hours of play, the experience has left me feeling ponderous and underwhelmed.

On the one hand, the stories of Gared and Asher progress nicely, with a couple of really strong action sequences and really, really excellent use of the lore relative to their particular circumstance. On the other hand, though, Mira’s tale stagnates because of the game’s inability to tread too hard on the toes of the HBO series or George R. R. Martin’s novels. Worse still is Rodrik’s tale, which barely develops at all and totally fails to capitalise on the momentum of the previous episode. In fact, so similar are his challenges in this episode to the last, that it felt genuinely repetitive and even a little frustrating at times.

Episode 3 is far and away the least enjoyable episode of the Telltale series so far. It suffers from playing second fiddle to the source material, possibly because it is one of the two mid-season episodes — but it is not completely without merit. Sword in the Darkness opens with an exciting action sequence that has perhaps the best free reign over the story we’ve seen so far, and it’s a sequence made better because of how nicely the episode rounds off. In-between these impressive bookends, Gared continues to become an ever more interesting character with a story that shows increasing impetus and promise for future episodes.

To find reviews of other episodes (as they become available), check out the Game of Thrones review hub.