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Game Review | Game of Thrones | Season 1, Episode 5 | "A Nest of Vipers"

Rodrik (Russ Bain) and Elaena (Amy Pemberton) share a quiet moment in "A Nest of Vipers"

Episode Summary: As punishment for Rodrik's retaliation against Gryff, Ramsay Snow decides to no longer take sides and tells the Forresters and the Whitehills to fight each other to the death. In Essos, Asher, Beskha and Malcolm are forced to look for another group of soldiers after their bargain with Daenerys Targaryen fails. (Wikipedia)

*** SPOILER ALERT – Do not read any further if you want to avoid spoilers ***

In this episode, Telltale decide to completely mimic the HBO series they are in continuity with and make the penultimate episode of the season a bloodbath, with betrayals revealed and the antagonists on top once again.

The only issue now is that I can’t see how this season can possibly be wrapped satisfactorily with how far apart the story strands are and how much each one seems to have left to go. I know that Telltale were reportedly working on a second season of Game of Thrones, but I’m hoping that they haven’t used that as an excuse to not provide some closure to this season.

The main shock this time out is that yet another playable character dies, although you actually get a choice this time rather than it just happening without any warning. This death actually has some weight to it beyond simple shock value too, as we’ve spent four episodes with both of them and had time to build an attachment to them.

Mira’s story-line is possibly the weakest of those featured in this episode, consisting of pretty much just three conversations, yet the fact that two of those conversations are with Cersei and Tyrion Lannister make them a lot of fun to see and hear those characters if you’re a fan of the show.

Beyond the Wall, Gared’s story-line fares marginally better, getting to know Cotter’s sister better before fending off an attack of undead Wildlings. Another long-term character is killed here, although the body isn’t burned so I’m expecting to see them again next time.

Asher and Beskha have a fun diversion recruiting some pit-fighters to their cause with gold from Daenerys after helping her forces take Meereen last time out. The action scenes again suffer from the Telltale style of play, but the interactions between all the characters involved are so much fun that you don’t really care.

Amaya (Jaye Jacobs), leader of the Meereenese pit fighters in "A Nest of Vipers"

Then there’s events at Ironrath, where Ramsay Snow’s visit results in the death of Arthur, brother to Rodrik’s beloved Elaena, for their family’s assistance to the Forresters. His death is actually quite gory for a Telltale game, but I suppose it’s fitting for a Ramsay appearance.

Just as an aside here, I want to point out that Elaena and Rodrik spend some time together, including a scene where they wake up and the game feels a little… prudish in keeping Elaena covered up. Considering there has been some nudity in other Telltale games (The Wolf Among Us) and there is a LOT in the show, it does make the scene feel a little silly as a result.

It’s not a case of wanting to see a video game woman nude (there are plenty of other games for that if that’s your thing), but it’s a completely innocent scene where nudity would be appropriate. Also, considering the usual brutal violence and foul language in the rest of the episode, it just seems odd for the developers to shy away from it.

Then there is the big reveal that Duncan is the traitor who has been feeding information about the Forresters to the Whitehills and I chose to make him pay for his betrayal with his life. Not exactly heroic, but satisfying after having to listen to him claim that he knows he is right.

"A Nest of Vipers" is a great episode with a fantastic climactic scene and a perfectly designed difficult player choice that will absolutely have a huge impact on the final episode. It’s going to be interesting, but will it be satisfying?




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