The penultimate episode of Telltale's adaptation of the Game of Thrones series is the shortest one released by Telltale, clocking in at about an hour and a half rather than the usual two hours. I don't really mind this as I'm more than willing to pay five dollars for that amount of gaming experience.
Telltale's version of George R.R. Martin's setting is a good deal toned down from the original source material, which is saying something given the number of bodies dropped left and right in this game. Still, I'm actually pleased to say they've managed to insert a (possible) sex scene into the game as well as kill enough of the cast that it can officially qualify as part of the GRIMDARK subgenre.
The good kind.
This retroactively applies to all previous episodes as well. Which means that it is going to be listed under the Grimdark section of my Labels from now on. Congratulations, Telltale! Either way, this is a fairly dark episode and one which left me feeling pretty kicked in the guts after the relatively upbeat and triumphant Episode Four: Sons of Winter.
|What they're looking at is horrible.|
But you can sleep with Lady Glenmore.
So there is that.
Oh and you can hunt some rabbits with your friend's kid-sister, who may be flirting with you but I hope not because while Westeros girls are considered adults early on, I don't roll that way and hope Gared doesn't either.
Then zombies attack.
|I hope she's not meant to be Gared's Ygritte because she looks about fourteen to me.|
The fact I know it purely depends on a decision made in Episode One rather than more coherent well-reasoned motivations. The weird thing is the traitor continues spouting he's doing it all for House Forester to the bitter end, despite the fact the consequences of their action are catastrophic. I really would have been happier if the traitor had revealed they were doing it for money or position because, at least, that would have made sense.
Cold-blooded? Yes. Despicable? Yes.
Understandable? In Westeros? Yes.
You win or you die.
I buy a man deciding to cash after being on the losing side. I don't buy a man who, because of a relatively minor decision, throws the family under the bus and tells me to my face it was for their own good.
That takes Ramsay Bolton levels of self-delusion.
|"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"|
In a weird way, I think the game glosses over a lot of stuff it should be covering while also feeling padded. A good section of this episode introduces Asher to a bunch of murderous pit fighters and gladiators which are now, due to Daenerys taking over, out of work. They have an interesting leader, a former friend of Beskha (possibly lover), and a lot of complicated history which gets completely shoved aside so Asher can jump in the pit to get some Russel Crowe's Gladiator going on.
The illusion of free-will thing also shows up again in the game. Telltale is not very good at making one's decisions matter but there's some exceptions this time around. They may simply be whether or not certain characters die but, at least, that's consequences. Besides, the final choice will, hopefully, not be suddenly rendered moot in the finale of the game.
But I'm not counting on it.
|Peter Dinklage doesn't phone it in like in Destiny, so I'm grateful for that.|
I will say A Nest of Vipers has successfully gotten me pumped for the finale of the game. I don't know how they're going to resolve all of the outstanding plot issues but the writing has been good enough that I'd like to see them try. Unfortunately, this episode substitutes action for characterization and a few of the characters behave in a wholly unbelievable manner. That hurts a game which relies so heavily on its supporting cast.