Game of Thrones – A Telltale Game Series Episode Five: A Nest Of Vipers Review

Note: I’m experimenting with a new spoiler system in this review to discuss a major plot resolution. It should be hidden by default, but I can’t guarantee it on all browsers until I get enough user feedback. Caution advised.

01

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Format: PC (reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: July 21, 2015
Copy supplied by publisher

With it being the penultimate episode, a number of things needed to be resolved in Episode Five: A Nest of Vipers. This fifth chapter resolved some issues, but did not sufficiently tackle everything required in order to get us adequately prepared for the final chapter. While some teased revelations have finally come to a head, the fate of the Forresters is still so unaltered – and in some ways completely set back – that I fear the finale will become a heck of a rush job to get things square.

For starters, two of the game’s main plot threads achieved absolutely nothing this episode, playing for time more than doing anything productive. Mira’s adventures in King’s Landing, until now an increasingly exciting part of the story, treads water as our intrepid handmaiden chews the fat with Cersei and Tyrion Lannister. There’s very little on offer narratively, save for yet more teasing and potential intrigue at a time when events should have moved a lot further along already.

02

Similarly, Gared’s trek north of the Wall goes absolutely nowhere this episode. One potentially surprising event occurs, but its relevance to the actual story is minimal at best, and the character involved isn’t compelling enough to make it effective. All that really happens is that Gared and Cotter get into a bit of a debate, there’s an attack from a certain force, and all the aforementioned debating is soon forgotten as Gared and chums hightail it to the North Grove. Nothing was sufficiently advanced. May as well not have happened.

Asher’s scenes, at least, pick up the pace and give us something of dramatic note. Having helped free Mereen at the behest of Daenerys Targaryen, the black sheep of the Forrester clan is free to finally acquire his army – albeit a fairly unconventional one. His scenes are by far the most exciting, packed with some decent combat sequences, a great deal of banter, and a new selection of fun and interesting characters that should really help spice up the final episode.

03

Finally, Rodrick’s Ironrath trouble concludes one of the most sinister subplots, and I have to say that I’m fairly shocked, not least because…

EPISODE FIVE SPOILER

I somehow totally called it. Duncan was annoying enough that, in a prior review, I’d hoped for him to be the traitor, and it turns out he was. His reasoning, such that it was, felt pretty damn spurious, or at least misguided. Not sure what your choices where, but… I administered sharp justice.

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The episode’s concluding scene is beautifully done, and offers perhaps the most difficult choice in the series yet – the results of which are legitimately heartbreaking if you’re at all invested in the world thus far. It was a stark conclusion indeed, and one that will have a genuine consequence on the final episode. As of right now, there are more than enough Whitehills that are simply begging for death.

04

A solid ending, however, does not quite make up for the fact that A Nest of Vipers was fairly uneventful, and even felt rather short in comparison to the prior chapters. Most certainly, the lack of narrative momentum has put a dampener on things, especially since Episode Four was so damn good.

Sometimes, a slow installment can be an important one, setting things in motion and building necessary blocks for later use. With only one more to go, however, we should be past all that, and the relative lack of activity with Episode Five is something of a letdown. It has its moments, and it’s still as enjoyable a romp as any TellTale game, but it’s an average outing at a time where things should be at a near fever pitch.

Episode Six is going to have to pull out all the stops to regain the ground lost here. I’m hoping it does.

6/10
Decent

RandyTheBandicoot
Guest
RandyTheBandicoot

Spoiler tag works perfectly on Windows 10, even with Edge.

Mark Davenport
Guest

Spoiler Tag works here on Chrome (Windows 7).

I felt the final choice was amazing, but I agree some areas were super slow.

Eric Arraché Gonçalves
Guest

What I found weird in this episode was seeing Griff as good as new, since I thrashed his face on episode 4

TnTyson
Guest
TnTyson

Spoiler tags working a treat. Andoid, Chrome.

Erich FrommHell
Guest

On a somewhat related note, what did people think of the TV shows season 5 finale? It reminded me of the Twin Peaks season 1 finale, cliffhangers falling from the sky. Overkill.

p.s. Jim, just watched you over at Videogamer with S. Miller Esq. Pure class. Maybe you could get one of the lads onto one of your vids or podcasts in the future?

Fengor
Guest
Fengor

Okay TellTale, you’ve proven to everyone you can make big boy stories that tug at our heart strings, and make us question our moral compasses. Can we get a season of Sam & Max making fart jokes and sexual innuendos now? Pretty please?

TheMemoman
Guest

In testing the spoiler tag I’ve done spoiled myself. I blame no one else but me for my disgrace.
Just fine on latest chrome windows 8.1 x64 bit.

Dr.Sun
Guest

Latest Chrome on Windows 7 works fine on my laptop.

Kh1326
Guest
Kh1326

I did some trawling through forums on Steam and it turns out the conclusion of the subplot varies on the choices you made when interacting with them during the previous episodes.

Aging Baby
Guest
Aging Baby

Spoiler tag:
1) Doesn’t work in RSS feed (quite predictably), I see the full text (similar to how it looks if you click to open it).
2) Doesn’t work if you have JavaScript disabled (quite predictably), I can see the full text (similar to how it looks if you click to open it).
3) Does work in Pale Moon 25.5.0 (quite predictably)

I recommend posting spoilers only after a couple of paragraphs (definitely after the fold), so you won’t just mindlessly read them and can actually see the spoiler box coming.

John Law
Guest
John Law

Spoiler tags worked on latest version of Firefox. And in my play-through [SPOILER] was a different person, so good on Telltale for that. This episode was pretty rocky for me; maybe it’s just because I’m playing each episode the day they come out, but I’m noticing the technical jankiness more than ever with GoT. Clearly ‘Tales from the Borderlands’ is where the A team went, as it feels smoother, while being better written to boot. That said, the ending was fantastic and it gives me high hopes for the final episode, at least for the Ironrath storyline. Can’t say much… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

I think, overall, it’s pretty clear this didn’t have to be 6 episodes, and it would have been a much better game if Telltale stuck with their usual 5 episodes.

Warwick Stubbs
Guest

Spoiler tags work for Ubuntu 14.04, Mozilla Firefox.

Cheers.

DirgeNovak
Guest
DirgeNovak

SPOILERS AHEAD
The traitor was Royland in my playthrough, so I assume he’s simply the one you went against most of the time. That’s pretty disappointing. We’ve known there was a traitor for a fairly long time (was it ep. 2?), so either his identity is determined too soon and later choices have no impact on it, or it’s determined after we learn there even is a traitor, which makes no sense at all.

Pretty much agree with the review. Nothing much happened outside of the final Ironrath scenes. Disappointing. But then again most penultimate Telltale episodes are kind of meh.

Ben
Guest
Ben

A “Stark” conclusion indeed, Jim, you cheeky monkey.

ZombieBillNye
Guest
ZombieBillNye

I still don’t understand what, if anything, the Kings Landing and North of the Wall stuff is even leading up to. I can’t think of anything that even could help with what I would call the main storyline dealing with Asher/Rodrick. I know what happens to all the cool people in King’s Landing Telltale writers. How is that going to help the Foresters?

I don’t know what the policy for spoilers is down here, but damn, that ending was brutal. Especially with everything the set up in this episode. The next episode better be good, or I’ll be very, very sad.

ElektroDragon
Guest
ElektroDragon

A BEAR! A BEAR! ALL BLACK AND BROWN AND COVERED WITH HAIR! I saw one on a trail recently and got very SCARED!

ChuckV
Guest
ChuckV

The spoiler tag worked correctly with Safari 7.1.4 running with OSX 10.9.5.

Azure
Guest
Azure

Spoiler tag works in Chrome, but didn’t work when my RSS reader, Feedly, grabbed the text of the review. That’s a minor issue though.

Ragna
Guest
Ragna

Running Chrome…..whatever the latest version is, and spoiler tag works perfectly 🙂

darkmage0707077
Guest
darkmage0707077

Spoiler works fine on Firefox 39.0

Great review, Jim. Shame this episode wasn’t as good as part 4 was, but they’ve held my interest thus far, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of a doubt.

Juhis
Guest
Juhis

It’s a bit disappointing this GoT series, was hoping for something more since the source material is for the most part, in my opinion, excellent.
Oh, and by the way the spoiler thing worked fine, for me, at least on Chrome, Firefox and Explorer. Stayed nice and hidden and revealed itself upon clicking.

Robby
Guest
Robby

Spoiler tags work for me on Chrome via mobile (Android). I’m disappointed that the episode appears weak. It seems like Telltale’s penultimate episodes are always somewhat lacking.

Turi
Guest
Turi

Spoiler tag worked here on the chrome 43 on linux mint 17.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Spoiler tag works on Chrome 44 and Firefox 39 on Linux and Safari on iOS 8.4 and 9 (iPad is in the public beta; not brave enough to do it on my phone).