Game of Thrones Episode 5 is a gripping and emotional addition to the season of 6 episodes, and aside from a few out of character plot points, it works rather well as a whole. If you’re continuing further, I will assume that you have played up to Episode 4, so SPOILERS AHEAD FOR EPISODES 1-4
Considering that this a Telltale Game, this review won’t really be using a standard format, considering the fact that the game is a point and click with dialogue options that affect the story. Therefore we will simply talk about the quality of the story of the game, how much player agency there is, and the voice acting/ technical quality of this episode.
The story of Rodrick Forrester, as always, remains at the front of the most intense and weighty scenes. After being left with Ramsay Bolton, the sadistic bastard of the Warden of the North, Rodrick and his family don’t exactly have a very pleasant meeting with him, but at the end he does concede that the Bolton’s will no longer be involved in the war between the Forresters and Whitehills, therefore setting up a race for Rodrick to gather his army, specifically from Asher. Throughout the episode, Rodrick’s plot still contains the strongest scenes and his house’s struggles remain the central anchor of the plot. At some point in the episode, the traitor mentioned from earlier in the season is revealed, and this is probably the weakest part of the story. Let’s just say the traitors reasoning is illogical at best and downright stupid at worst. Other than that, Rodrick and the Forrester Family’s struggles are still gripping and tense.
Speaking of weak scenes, after successfully freeing Mereen, Daenerys has the most out of character exchange with Asher, going back on her promise of mercenaries and instead rewarding him with gold. Daenerys, set up as almost as honorable as Ned Stark, does not go back on her word so easily, and this scene just seemed like setup for the more interesting characters that Asher later recruits for an army. Either way, Asher’s story is slightly lighter than the others as usual and delivers some fun scenes with some great action and good dialogue. His story significantly advances by the end of the episode, and players should be very satisfied with his end.
Meanwhile, Mira Forrester in Kings Landing spends most of the episode dealing with the fallout of her stunt from the last episode, to the point where she is attempted to be used by the queen in the wake of the King’s Death. Her plot, and specifically her shaky relationship with Margaery advance very little, but she is set up nicely for Episode 6, and her dialogue with the snakes and vipers of King’s Landing remains curt, tense and meaningful.
Finally, the story of Gared is only setup for Episode 6, as he remains where we left him for the whole episode. While there are some interesting developments and creative combat scenes, Gared’s story still struggles to enthrall me, and ultimately I can’t imagine it will until he reaches the North Grove.
This is the Episode that finally provides major player decisions, specifically with Asher and Rodrick’s story lines. While Mira and Gared still remain without much player input, although there is some dialogue choices with Mira that may make a major impact later on, Asher and Rodrick both are affected in a large way by player choice. What will be interesting to see is if the choices I made with the two will really affect the story past this season, or will simply be more window dressing. Either way, going off this one alone, Episode 5 offer the most player agency of any of the episodes, and perhaps any Telltale Game, besides Walking Dead Season 2.
Voice Acting/ Techincal Quality
The voice acting of everyone not from the HBO show remains stellar as usual, with great performances specifically by Asher, Rodrick and Beskha. I don’t really think this is news, one of Telltale’s best qualities, one not mentioned as much as its others, is how well it casts its characters. As for the HBO actors, Ramsay Bolton and Cersei Lannister still shine as the best, with Ramsay being delightfully evil and Cersei being delightfully terse and quietly intimidating dialogue. Tyrion Lannister is much better delivered by Peter Dinklage, and his character seems to regain the drunk facade of confidence Tyrion boasted in the show. Daenerys Targaryen is bland to say the least, Emilia Clarke not really adding to the role, but her voice is by no means bad, it just doesn’t really work as well as it does in the show. Overall, the voice acting that isn’t from professional voice actors has improved significantly and is much more enjoyable than before.
As for the technical quality of the game, it continue with the watercolor graphics of the other episodes, this time showing more sweeping shots of King’s Landing or Mereen, for example. There is one scene where this particular boat is cartoonishly out of place I wonder why they left it in, but overall the watercolor graphics of the game still impress me artistically. The game is a cohesive artistic whole, and the watercolor painting that reminds me of the paintings of old serves the game well. Everything still runs fine, and I don’t really think Telltale has ever had much problem with it s games, technically speaking.
Overall, Episode Five is solid on its own, but sets up Episode 6 extremely well. A solid addition to the series that leaves me waiting for Episode 6.