You Win or You Die: Telltale’s Game of Thrones “A Nest of Vipers” – Review

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Telltale’s Game of Thrones epic series is nearing a close as the penultimate episode packs more than a few punches. Rodrik faced off with Ramsay, Mira got between Tyrion and Cersei, and Asher finally returns to Ironrath in “A Nest of Vipers”.

Full spoilers for the episode under the cut!

The episode opens right where we left off in episode 4 with Ramsay intruding House Forrester’s hall and intimidating Talia. Considering last time Ramsay was in this location he murdered her twin, we can be a little apprehensive as to why he’s here. Turns out he’s heard what we’ve done with Gryff Whitehill and he isn’t pleased.

He leads you and Talia into the forest as we come upon Arthur Glenmore who’s in the infamous Bolton-flaying pose. Talia is mortified and Rodrik is enraged (as I was). Ramsay goes on to taunt you saying “you’d like to kill me…wouldn’t you?” (f*ck yes!) and he even offers you his blade to stab him…

This brings us to our first choice in the game: stab Ramsay or not.

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As satisfying as it would’ve been to stab him, our knowledge of the show and ASOIAF universe reminds us that we are not in control of Ramsay’s fate. A sullen and even a tad frustrating detail but Iwan Rheon’s voice acting nonetheless brings Ramsay’s sadistic nature to life.

When I received my results, I wasn’t shocked to see that I was in the majority of those who chose not to stab Ramsay (67%) as many have surly picked up on the above detail.

For those who want to see what happens when you do stab Ramsay, click here!

Ramsay then guts Arthur forcing Talia to watch (even if you try to shield her) proving that his sadism has no bounds. He tells you after that he is no longer apart of this house vs house battle and is instead leaving it to a “last house standing”. Rodrik vows it will be House Forrester. As the cart is wheeling away Arthur’s mangled corpse, his sister Elaena (and your betrothed) arrives and is horrified to see what has become of her brother. After a few exchanges, you are given another choice: to console Elaena or not. If you choose to, you two are intertwined as one…until Talia arrives.

Talia is embarrassed, naturally, but nonetheless has important news for Rodrik regarding the traitor. She has fulfilled her task in discovering their identity and has even found the documents he’s been smuggling to the Whitehills detailing your every action as lord. She vows to tell you the identity only if you promise to kill them leaving the decision up to you.

Next we are thrown into the fighting pits with Asher as we fulfill our role by finding an army to fight for House Forrester. This was one of my favorite parts of the episode as the combat felt smooth and genuine. I also really liked the character Bloodsong and his fighting style was unique to the game (and a nice yet subtle throw back to The Red Viper). You are given another choice once you have Bloodsong at your mercy: spare him or kill him.

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If you spare him, he’ll join your forces. If you kill him, you stab him through and the pit fighters are impressed. However, if you spare him, they’re still impressed by your speech and join you anyway so sparing him is really in your best interests. I was again in the majority by sparing him (62%).

Meanwhile the events North of The Wall and at King’s Landing play smaller yet significant roles in this episode. Mira has been tasked by Cersei to find out who Tyrion plans to use as witness for his trail. You are given another choice: tell him Cersei’s intentions or lie. I was again in the majority that tried to lie (64%) but alas, Tyrion’s wits sniffed us out.

Up North, Sylvi hesitates to go farther North and we have our first confrontation with the wights in an action packed sequence to fight to survive. You burn the wights with no casualties and proceed to find The North Grove. After getting some information from Sylvi regarding the North Grove, our curiosities only continue to grow as to what lies there (an ice dragon, perhaps?).

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Back at Ironrath, we have found our traitor. Depending on who you chose as sentinel, it will either be Duncan or Royland. I chose Royland so I felt having Duncan as the traitor felt more organic than if it were Royland. I didn’t hesitate to run him through (as promised, Talia) ignoring his warning of the ambush to come. I was a bit shocked to see the results to evenly divided (50% choice to spare him as the other chose to kill him).

Finally, the conclusion was the most heart-wrenching decision to make as of yet. Asher makes his homecoming with his formidable force of pit fighters behind ready to for war. We are hopeful that we actually might win this war against the Whitehills until the ambush strikes. As the majority of your force leaves the hold, the Whitehills close the gate behind leaving only the Beast, Asher, and Rodrik to deal with the Whitehills. The Beast does his best to open the gate but is thwarted and it’s up to Asher and Rodrik. As one must stay behind to hold the gate open, you have to decide who stays and who will lead the next attack.

Everything slows down and time stands still for a moment as you must make your decision: Rodrik or Asher?

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I chose Rodrik and he sure as hell went out with a bang taking out as many Whitehills as possible before meeting his untimely demise.

Again it seemed the audience was evenly divided as 50% choice Rodrik while the other half chose Asher. (Follow the links to see each character’s last stand)

Telltale’s penultimate episode exceeded my expectations and only further whet my appetite for the conclusion. If you need something to pass the time until Season 6, I strongly urge you to play this game. It is faithful to the series, intense, and satisfying in a way only Game of Thrones can fashion.

It is available on PC/Mac, Playstation, XBOX, and on 7/23 will be available on iOS and Android! Its versatility makes it easy for anyone to pick up and play and the compelling narrative makes it hard to put down!

Overall, I’d give the episode a solid 4.5/5 stars! (Again, only downside being Ramsay’s invincibility.)

What did you think of “A Nest of Vipers”? What choices did you make? Let us know in the comments below!

16 responses

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    1. Well, depending on who goes with you North of the Wall, there can actually be casualties in the wight sequence.

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    2. My choices:

      Stab Ramsay (yeah, I knew it was pointless, but I couldn’t resist)
      Kill Bloodsong (I figured it was the only way to impress the Pit Fighters…)
      Hide my intentions from Tyrion (Since the guard was listening outside, I figured it was my safest bet…)
      Kill the traitor – Duncan in my case (like you, I felt I had to keep my promise, I did feel kinda bad about it later though. Is it really JUST the sentinel choice that determines who the traitor is though? I figured some of the other choices made later might also play a part…)
      Leave Rodrik behind (the Pit Fighters were obviously more likely to follow Asher. It seemed like the practical choice… Sorry, Rodrik…)

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    3. I’ve only played episodes 1&2, but for some reason I’ve this bizarre compulsion to play each four times making a note of different choices. Then I forgot about it.
      /me runs off to play some more…

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    4. I haven’t finished the 4th installment yet so I didn’t read much of the spoilery stuff up top but I really like the game so far.

      Ethan had serious potential to be my favorite character but then he was taken away. 🙁 I’m now fully invested in Gared.

      I like the way the story is going. Whenever there’s a game adaptation of something I like I’m always scared the dialogue or art will be cringeworthy but not the case here! Definitely a thumbs up from me! Looking forward to episode 5!

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    5. Havent read it because i havent played it yet, but thanks WIC for spoiling me with the header. Now i know whats going to happen before i play it… Next time, please no spoilers before the jump!

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    6. I left Asher behind, but now I’m thinking I might actually replay the episode and leave Rodrik behind. The pit fighters are wayyy more likely to follow Asher.

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    7. I chose…

      – Not to stab Ramsay. I really wanted to though. And this is my biggest problem with the game thus far… having a book/show character have this much plot relevance ensures you know that nothing you do will ever affect them. Yes there are other big characters in the game, but none of the others are as mindlessly violent as Ramsay. Will he please just die already? I’m just sick of his character.

      – Kill Bloodsong. I pretty much felt I had no choice. Also he was annoying me.

      -Told Tyrion why I was visiting him. I know this probably will lead to something bad in the finale, but… maintaining a lie to someone when it’s completely obvious they know it’s a lie seems pointless to me. Yes I got dragged out of the cell by the guard (idiot), but I also trust Cersei about as far as I can throw her. Of all my choices, this is the one I am most uneasy about.

      – Kill the traitor. In my case this was Duncan. Treason and betrayal… really gets me angry. More than just about anything else. It makes me a Stoneheart/Manderly fan by default because I want to see Freys and Boltons die. So immediately I was predisposed towards killing the traitor. But his rant about why he did it struck me as the whining of a jealous man who couldn’t handle that a 10 year old (how old was Ethan exactly?) didn’t give him a shiny title. The real straw was Gryff being gone from the jail, and it made the traitor’s claims of having done what they did “for the good of my house” strike me as total hypocrisy: only an idiot or a traitor would think anything good would come of releasing that insecure jackass. In the end, Duncan got off easy by getting a sword in his chest. I wanted to burn him alive.

      Leave Rodrik Behind. Urgh… this was unpleasant. I guess I chose this because I like Asher and think he is more likely to lead to a positive outcome in the finale. Of course after this (and seeing Gryff there did NOT help), the only positive outcome in my eyes is to turn the Whitehills into the new Reynes or Tarbecks. I’m tired of them. They are big into humiliation like the Freys are. Even if you kneel to them they still clearly plan to kill you anyway. Also they seem to have massive plot armor since not a single Whitehill has died yet (I thought this was a feud, not straight up bullying). Therefore… they should all just die. Feuds end if nobody is left to take revenge anyway.

      Of course, since this is both ASOIAF and Telltale, I don’t expect that to happen or even be an option. But also I’m getting really tired of downer endings. If I get one in this game (and if there are no good endings), then i’m throwing it in the metaphorical bin.

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    8. Stabbed Ramsay even if I knew it wouldn’t matter.
      Didn’t kill Bloodsong so that he would join the army.
      Didn’t kill the traitor (Royland) but I should have. I may go back and replay.
      Told Tyrion the truth. Probably should’ve lied but I thought he would figure anyway so I thought “f*ck it”.
      Left Rodrik behind. I felt his story had run its course and this was the perfect scenario to let him go, as a hero. It also felt anticlimatic to kill Asher just when he had finally arrived to Westeros.

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    9. Had to skip down here to avoid specific spoilers, but just wanted to ask…
      Why in the FUCK would you give us a summary in the header, and then directly under it say “spoilers under the cut”? I’m still on episode three but thanks for all that.
      Really tho, that’s like giving someone with a peanut allergy a brownie, then waiting for them to take a bite just to say “THERE’S NUTS IN IT!”

      FUCK YOU.

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    10. Vinny Chase,

      Right, so you’ve played every game and have seen every movie that’s been out for the past few months? If I spoiled something you were looking forward to, right now, that’s you’re fault right? No, that’s me being a dick.

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    11. Goddammit… curse Telltale for that choice at the end (and so many others in their games). Rodrik was really growing on me. But in the end, I think it’s best for Asher to live.

      The final episode might actually have a massive book/show spoiler in it, given that it’s titled The Ice Dragon. I know ice dragons are alluded to several times in the books. It would raise the stakes considerably if they were real (and even more so if the Night’s King has one or more at his disposal). If there’s one in the North Grove, or even just a vague hint of their existence there, it would send hype levels through the roof.

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    12. Sam the Slayer:

      Lol, makes no difference, Pit Fighters will follow Beskha and Amaya

      For mine Rodriks the Lord of the House, and his recovery is in keeping with the fortunes of the House which is why I chose him to survive, narrative wise something makes sense of Asher coming in from the cold to sacrifice himself

      This is the first meaningful choice, can either make the story one about Rodriks recovery and re-ascension or about the exiled second son who comes home to lead the House

      I’m a lot more attached to Rodrik, loved the bit where he just throws the cane into the fire

      Like the books though this is about “struggle” and not good vs evil, so like the Starks/Lannisters I expect some Whitehills to die, like Gryff (so wanted to stab him for that smug smile) and perhaps Ludd Whitehill. Quite possibly Gwen or Elaena depending on who you chose perhaps

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    13. Wonder what will happen in final episode. Gared may find the North Grove, but he can’t return to Ironrath easily. Mira may die for all I know. (But hey, our only KL PoV may yet survive). Where does Whitehills get all these men? Andros has yet to find an army for them, and it looks unlikely that he will be able to. Ryon may be killed, too. :'(

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    14. Prediction: finally, in the last episode of the season, your choices actually WILL matter and could significantly effect the outcome of the game. So you could have a choice that gets Mira killed or allows her to live. Same with the others.

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