REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES EPISODE 5 “A NEST OF VIPERS”

So fans of Game of Thrones are probably familiar with what the second to last episode means for Game of Thrones. Executions, green fire and weddings. In short, it all goes down here! This usually lets the show have some sort of conclusion in the last episode, which isn’t an issue with games. We do need a climax for the last episode, but I can confirm that this last episode concludes with stuff going down. Talk about a cliffhanger! Actually I won’t. You need to see what I’m talking about for yourself.

But lets backtrack and look at each story on its own. First, Rodrick. We have a follow up with the cliffhanger last time, where Ramsey Snow showed his stupid jerk face that sets the stage for the finale. The Boltons, the rulers of the North, won’t be satisfied until one house kills the other. We don’t see how the peace talks from last episode will impact the ending yet however. We have some bonding between Roderick and his new wife, not sure if this scene is here if you didn’t get the marriage to go through, and concludes with the discovery of the spy within the Forester ranks. Roderick helps open and bookend the episode and does so well, setting the stage and ramping up the drama towards the end.

GOT 1

Asher finishes his mission by recruiting his army and preparing to join his brother in the North. The success of this could depend on your decisions, but for the most part it’s an action scene. It mostly sets up stuff for the final episode. Mira once again gets little to do here. We get some conclusion with Sera, the other handmaiden to Margaery, and even get another one on one with Cersei. It’s an interesting exchange too. The Mira I’ve been playing as has changed a lot over the series. At first she was standing before the queen, pledging loyalty to Margery and relying on her good will. But after a slight slip up led to her being cast from her ladies favor, she became more self reliant and even reckless. It’s an interesting parallel to Cersei, who now comes to her as someone in a similar situation, using secrecy and espionage to protect their respective families.

We also get what could be last exchange with Tyrion, one which went either really well or really wrong, depending on how honest you are with him. We won’t know the outcome until next time. I’m noticing a theme here. Gared gets to know Cotter and his sister a little more and we run into the White Walkers, the resident zombies of Westeros. There’s little here to get excited about and it feels very bland when compared to the other scenes. Nothing bad but it’s competing with scenes that feel like they are leading to a climax or in Mira’s cast have strong character development.

GOT 2

The one main criticism I have is with a scene right at the beginning. Telltale is pretty infamous for it’s animation being, well, shit. It’s stilted and unreal, but I’ve overlooked it because I felt like it didn’t really hold the game back. Aesthetics, the appreciation of beauty encompasses the graphics and music of a game, is probably the least important aspect. Super Mario Bros looks like shit, there’s only a handful of enemy and backgrounds repeated and barely any animation. But it plays so well that it’s easy to over look. In most shooters the graphics matter for all of a few seconds, and then it all comes down to gameplay. And in this regard, the graphics haven’t brought the game down, they served their purpose and little more.

But now we have a problem where the animation is poor and can’t keep up with the voice actors. There’s a big dramatic scene right at the beginning which is held back by the animation, which the voice actors are really giving it their all. Namely the voice of Talia, Molly Stone, who has done very little outside of a couple of TV shorts according to IMDB, who really sells what her character is feeling, which the animation does not. I haven’t really been naming actors, since they do their jobs and little more. No ones really recognizable aside from the show cast, which is a shame because there’s plenty of guys who could bring more life to these roles like Steve Blum or Nolan North.

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Even people I do recognize seem to be hiding in the background, like Laura Bailey and Matt Mercer. But Molly deserves the shoutout, I hope to hear her in more things after this. Also a shout out to Yuri LowenthalSasuke from Naruto, who I never recognized as Finn until now. I can typically pick his voice out of a crowd but he changed it up so well that I never recognized him. Kudos.

A Nest of Vipers is a great penultimate episode! Asher and Rodrick finally unite at the end, setting the stage for the finale, while Mira gets some welcome character development. Unfortunately Gared’s plot felt tame in comparison and the opening scene suffered from a bit of Uncanny Valley syndrome due to great voice acting but poor animation, which I will henceforth lovably dub the Telltale affect, though to be fair I spotted it first in Assassins’s Creed 3. Faults aside, the final episode is due out this autumn, where we will finally get our conclusion to the Game of Thrones game…there needs to be a less awkward way of saying that!

Rating: 8/10

+ Great lead up to climax

+ Strong character development for Mira and Asher

+ Awesome cliffhanger

– Animation holds back opening scene

– Geralt’s scene feels lacking in comparison to others

MATT HANCOX

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