After a two month hiatus, Telltale is back with the penultimate episode of its interactive Game of Thrones series. Known, in long form, as Game of Thrones: Episode 5 – A Nest of Vipers, it continues to amp up the game’s tension quotient and sets up what should be a thrilling finale. Along the way, new threats are introduced while familiar adversaries continue to torment our group of related protagonists, threatening not only their livelihoods but everything they stand for.
When we last left the Forresters, Mira had caused a scene in front of the King’s Landing elite, Asher and Beshka had committed murder while saving imprisoned slaves in a familiar locale, and Rodrik had decided to stand up against those who continued to torment his familial homestead. The most interesting situation, though, was that of Gared, the family’s former squire who put his life on the line in an attempt to find the North Grove. His decision to venture — with friends — into the unknown north of the Wall was certainly brave, but also potentially suicidal.
Despite finding unexpected allies north of the Wall, nothing comes easy for Gared during his time in A Nest of Vipers. In fact, his already scary situation becomes much more-so once a new threat is introduced. This sets up a thrilling conclusion to his arc, which Telltale will hopefully capitalize on with Game of Thrones‘ sixth and final episode.
Gared has been the most interesting character since the beginning of this series, and that doesn’t look like it’ll ever change. He’s not only the most dynamic and interesting personality, but his fearless ways and desire to help his adopted family are both admirable. The other Forresters have their moments, but none of their stories are as memorable as their squire’s.
When the wintry north isn’t showing its teeth, A Nest of Vipers is full of political chess, much like the episodes that preceded it. There’s lots of dialogue, and some important choices must be made, as the rest of the family tries to better its situation and get rid of its bullies. That’s not to say that this particular episode is boring and almost completely dialogue-based, because it isn’t. You will have to tread murky waters and deal with the consequences that come with your chosen words, but you’ll also get to do a decent amount of combatting.
In fact, while Mira is dealing with the overbearing eyes and desires of Cersei Lannister, Asher and his pal Beshka find themselves faced with another combat-based task related to their attempt at gathering an army. All the while, Rodrik continues to stand pat as the man of the house, despite his enemies’ continued attempts at bullying him in every way possible.
Rodrik’s arc is particularly interesting this time around, because new revelations come to the forefront and true progress is made. I don’t want to say anything more out of fear of spoiling anything, but his tale is certainly worth the price of admission. Really, the only downside here happens to be the continued drag of Mira’s segments, which have become increasingly dry as time has progressed. They’re integral, but slow and somewhat dull despite Tyrion’s always welcomed presence.
That said, the true star of this surprisingly short show is most-definitely its ending, which provides the kind of shocking conclusion that one would hope for. Prepare to have to make a pivotal and excruciating choice that will have you questioning yourself until the finale becomes available.
Still, while Game of Thrones‘ penultimate episode is an improvement over its most recent predecessors, it drags on too much to be considered great, and continues the series’ trend of being solid but unspectacular. The fact that it is an improvement is a big deal, though, because it fills us with hope that Telltale will deliver a fantastic finale.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
With an increase in action, Game of Thrones: Episode 5 - A Nest of Vipers exists as an improvement over the series' recent episodes, and sets up a potentially grand finale with a shocking ending.