Since I began playing Telltale’s games I have longed for the decisions I make to mean something. So often in their games, players have the illusion of being in control, but the consequences are never as dire as they seem. This is not the case for Telltale’s Game of Thrones episode 5 – A Nest of Vipers. This episode includes such a difficult decision that players will feel compelled to replay it in hopes of changing the stakes. Episode 5 also serves to set up for what is sure to be an exciting season finale.
Overall, the scenarios in A Nest of Vipers are the same as in previous episodes with the Forrester family members trying to do whatever it takes to preserve their house from the pressures of a rival house and the tyranny of Ramsay Snow. Myra is still stuck dealing with the Tyrells, Lannisters, and the politics of King’s Landing. Asher is attempting to assemble a team of sellswords to assist in battle. Rodrik balances between protecting his people and preparing for war, and Gared is north of the wall searching for the mysterious North Grove. There is not much in the way of character development or movement, but A Nest of Vipers is the first time that some of our protagonists interact with one another making for one particularly thrilling moment.
One major takeaway from A Nest of Vipers is that Telltale certainly understands the unwritten rule of the source material – find a way to rip your fan’s hearts out. Without spoiling anything, the Game of Thrones television show and the books that precede them, are noted for heart-wrenching moments that somehow keep viewers and readers engaged. Episode 5 hurt me to my core, and I was as affected by moments in this episode as I was by critical moments in the HBO series. But by A Nest of Viper’s conclusion, I was already looking forward to a tumultuous Episode 6. Telltale deserves a great deal of credit for giving players the opportunity to experience Westeros and Essos in videogame form. The Forrester family characters are multi-dimensional and are represented with authenticity.
The inclusion of some of the television characters make for the only negatives in A Nest of Vipers. While Cersei and Tyrion feel true to form, Daenerys is not depicted accurately. The character’s story arc in the HBO series demonstrates that she’s vehemently opposed to slavery; but in A Nest of Vipers she is angry about a slave-master being killed in the previous episode. Ramsay Snow is as accurately depicted as Cersei and Tyrion, but the inclusion of this character as an antagonist puts the player in a conflict that is inherently impossible to win. A Nest of Vipers and this season of Telltale’s Game of Thrones would benefit from less interaction with the characters from the television series.
Overall, Telltale deserves praise for Episode 5 – A Nest of Vipers. The studio has taken a lower house that we could care less about and made the family members interesting and their story engaging. Both Asher and Rodrik have particularly thrilling moments in this episode, Gared continues to be strong and focused, while Myra is the most dangerous handmaiden in Westeros. Many of the events in A Nest of Vipers will tear at your heart, but that is a characteristic of Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin should be proud.
- Heroic moments
- Two protagonists meet
- Fits the source material
- Daenarys is depicted poorly
- Ramsay is an unbeatable enemy