After an incredible start, the past two episodes of Telltale’s Game of Thrones has seen a lot of up and down moments. Rodrick and Asher’s respective stories have been generally great, Gared’s story has been hit and miss, and anything Mira related seems forced and unnecessary. And this formula has largely gone unchanged with the latest episode, A Nest of Vipers.
Last episode’s cliffhanger with Ramsay Snow is where A Nest of Vipers picks up. What’s most troubling about his involvement with the Forresters is that his fate is protected by his story in the TV show. All of Rodrick’s interactions with Ramsay feel like they can only go one way, and this has been a flaw with including the TV characters so heavily – their fates are not determined by this game. As Rodrick, it was hard not to choose the safe choices, because I knew that riskier options weren’t going to alter in a more dramatic fashion.
Mira has a surprise visit from Cersei inquiring about her involvement with Tyrion, and she tasks Mira with finding out who Tyrion plans to call forward during the trial after the events of the purple wedding. You get to have some interesting dialogue with Tyrion and Cersei, but like previous episodes with Mira, her storyline seems to be stretched thin and doesn’t have the draw conflict-wise as other characters.
Asher is still on his quest to form an army to take back to Westeros in order to fight the Whitehills. There’s great action in his scenes, and the new characters introduced in Meereen are colorful and interesting, especially since their slave-fighting background gives them uneasy moral standing.
Gared’s story doesn’t go anywhere from where it left off in the previous episode. Gared and his companions sit still in the same camp area, and there’s little progression toward the North Grove that we’ve been teased about since the beginning. Much like Mira’s story, it seems stretched out to get the reveal to the finale.
Though most of the episode is forgettable, the final moments of A Nest of Vipers is tense, climactic, and utterly heartbreaking. I paused the game during the final choice, because I couldn’t bring myself to make the final decision. When I ultimately did, I felt defeated, broken, and ready to go into the finale. A feeling – while painful – is a firm reminder of the highs the story can reach, and an unfortunate bar to show how low the series has hit.
By the end of A Nest of Vipers, the bad taste left from the beginning of the episode is a tad more bearable, but waiting through over an hour of mediocre story makes it hard to justify. Many of the segments in A Nest of Vipers seemed to drag on and prepare the interesting story elements for the final installment.
If you’ve made it this far through the first season, you’ll find reason to hang on, and the final, grueling choice in the episode is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in any Telltale game. That final decision alone has fueled my interest going into the finale, but hopefully the gloves come off and this momentum is more consistent.
This review is based on a retail copy of Telltale’s Game of Thrones: Episode Five – A Nest of Vipers.
- The ending
- Set up for finale
- Filler scenes
- The fate of TV characters are obviously predetermined