Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 05.08.2015

Review for Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers on PlayStation 4

As the penultimate Game of Thrones episode of the season (and no second season yet announced), there is an awful lot to clear up. Who is the traitor in House Forrester? Can Asher acquire an army and make it back to Westeros in time? Will Gared find the North Grove? Will Mira manage to do anything at all? Some of these questions will be answered with Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers. To read about the previous episodes, be sure to check out these links:

Episode One - Iron from Ice | Episode Two - The Lost Lords | Episode Three - The Sword in the Darkness | Episode Four - Sons of Winter

The previous episode finally began to give a feeling of progression; that perhaps the tide would turn and that House Forrester would actually have a shot at a happy ending. Gared managed to escape his execution, leaving the wall behind and travelling North to find the North Grove with the few friends he had made. Mira found out what House Whitehill's allies were planning in King's Landing and took a stand against them. Rodrik gathered new allies from his old flame and her family, and with their help he managed to both take back his home and find a way to rescue his brother, not to mention laying a beating on a much deserving Gryff in the process. Finally, Asher was tasked with assisting Daenerys' mercenary troops in taking over the city of Meereen. His promised reward? An army to take home and save his family. His mission was a success, now he will be heading back to Westeros with mercenaries called the Second Sons to do just that... or will he?

This new episode feels a step backwards in each of the individual protagonist's story arcs, with much of the developments of the previous episodes and the potential benefits being quickly undone. It is very strange to see the story development backtrack in this way, undoing plot points and making certain story developments pointless. Some of these changes are quite frustrating, making actions from previous episodes equally pointless. There is, however, a positive side to these events, in that nothing is predictable, much like the other stories set in this world. A Nest of Vipers does have some appallingly frustrating moments, and the game seems to take a perverse joy in building the players' hopes just to tear them away and leave them with less than they started.

Everything starts immediately following the cliffhanger of the previous episode. Rodrik walks in on Ramsay Snow with his sister Talia and from the very opening moments gamers are hit with some very difficult decisions. Ramsay asks questions of the player that clearly will result in serious and negative repercussions regardless of their answer. Telltale and Ramsay's actor, Iwan Rheon, have done a superb job in bringing the twisted and dark creature from the show to the game, making it a perfect transition that further explores his depraved mindset. Rodrik's arc quickly returns him to the terrible state he has been in for much of the series, with seemingly all he has accomplished being pulled away from him as he is surrounded by enemies and betrayals. All of the villains of this season have been well crafted; Ramsay and the Whitehills have quickly managed to become thoroughly hated by all, and although it's not possible to have much revenge against Ramsay if the story is going to keep canon to the TV show, the Whitehills are fair game. Hopefully, even in the event of an unhappy ending, some retribution at least will be brought down on them.

Screenshot for Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers on PlayStation 4

The other playable characters have similar experiences in this episode. Mira finally made some bold steps last time, only to now make foolish mistakes and choices, costing her friendships and allies - House Forrester can expect little help coming from her. Gared's quest for the North Grove again runs into delays and roadblocks, with chilling repercussions. Even Asher takes one step forward and two back as promises of an army are possibly pulled out from under him and, worse still, he may end up losing long-time friends and family.

A Nest of Vipers feels quite divergent when it comes to the matter of choice and the impact the player has on the world. On the one hand there are some big reveals this episode and they will massively change the finale based on choices made (in fact, there is one choice here that will very much require a second save file to experience both of the branching pathways), while conversely, there are some aspects that seem to disregard previous choices or lead to the same outcome, regardless of the illusion of choice. In the previous episode, for example, Rodrik finally had the opportunity to pay back Gryff Whitehill, a scene where those in control could decide just how much damage to do before having him thrown into a dungeon, even to the point of possibly blinding Gryff, yet regardless of that decision, in this episode Gryff is seen uninjured and unmarred. These sort of discrepancies continue when it comes to seeing "armies" gather up. It's understandable due to the budget of the TV show that there are only tens of actors on-screen, as opposed to the thousands described in the books, but the same limitation shouldn't really be an issue here. It breaks immersion a little to see this supposed "overwhelming force" refer to about nine people.

There are lots of parallels between the Forresters and the Starks, and this is becoming more apparent as these episodes progress. Mira mirrors Sansa in that she is cowed and useless, with moments of promise and bravery quickly ruined. Gared has gone through much of what Jon had, being hated at the Wall, befriending Wildlings, and so on. Young Ethan became the Lord of his House only to be betrayed and killed like Robb… As the parallels continue to grow, it's hard not to see that a happy ending is quite unlikely for House Forrester. In true Telltale fashion, the characters have developed well and many will have grown attached to them, and the upcoming finale will be fascinating to see, whatever the outcome.

Screenshot for Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Game of Thrones: Episode Five - A Nest of Vipers is possibly the weakest episode thus far. Although there are some fantastic moments, it suffers at points where it feels some of the progression of the story from previous episodes took a step backwards. This, in combination with the limited gameplay segments, makes for a disappointing entry in the series. It is, however, saved thanks to a great third act and a finale that will leave players desperate to get their hands on the last part, and with an episode title of "The Ice Dragon" there's a lot to look forward to. Stick with Cubed3 for the conclusion to this great tale, coming soon.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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