Episode three of the Batman – The Telltale Series has been released, and I can’t help feeling frustrated by the series. The skeleton of something great is there in the DNA of the game, but bad optimisation, odd and not enjoyable story choices and some bad character designs are turning me off of the series more and more. The action and story heats up in the new episode – New World Order – but there are enough misfires to make this a wholly average entry to the series.
Episode 3 picks up with Bruce Wayne being confronted by the board of Wayne Enterprises after the shocking revelation that his father was part of the corrupt group of men leading and manipulating Gotham. He is voted out of his own company and, in a twist that annoyed me to no end, Ozwald Copplepot is named the new President and CEO of Wayne Enterprises. I literally dropped my controller in disgust when this happened; the scenario was so ludicrous and contrived it was almost painful to watch. Following that moment of hackneyed exposition Bruce gets a lead on the Children of Arkham’s next move and confronts the group at a train station. All hell breaks lose and Batman fights the leader of the Children in an actually terrific sequence that was unfortunately marred by the stuttering that is becoming more and more aggravating as I play through the series.
The rest of the episode explores the relationship between Bruce and Selina Kyle as well as the continuing deterioration of Harvey Dent following his facial damage incurred at the end of Episode 2. Dent now physically looks like Two Face and he is starting to slide into psychosis, and it is being handled far better then many other aspects of the game. There are more twists as the episode, including a reveal of the leader of the Children of Arkham that is oddly chosen and will be interesting to see play out. The choice Telltale made for the main villain is yet another new twist to the formula, and one I hope they take time to explain and explore.
One of my biggest gripes of this take on the Batman lore is what they choose to explain and what they don’t bother looking into at all. Cobblepot is obviously a bad guy but somehow his record is clean enough to be named Chairman of a company he has never been associated with and they do not delve into that at all.
All of the ‘Children of Arkham’ had parents that were sent to Arkham Asylum by Thomas Wayne, yet they were able to amass huge resources to mount an armed uprising in Gotham. The only one we really know is Cobblepot, but it clearly states in the game his family lost their fortune, so how is he successful enough to plot against Batman and take over Wayne Enterprises? The developer seemed to want to go for shock and awe by choosing to have so many alternate takes on the Batman Mythos as well as tweak the characters substantially, but I felt that many of their choices fall flat in execution.
There are still some bright spots in this Episode that I enjoy such as the fight scenes and the crime scene investigations, exploring areas looking for clues and piecing together what happened is quite enjoyable The burgeoning romance between Selina and Bruce is also well implemented and enjoyable to delve into as it is something other Batman games have not really tried to tackle. Unfortunately, the odd pacing and plot points, lack of any real optimisation on the PC platform, and some characters that just don’t work continue to bog down the experience for me. There are now two episodes left and my major issues will not be alleviated as they are on a definite path for the story, hopefully the rough edges can continue to get smoothed and those further episodes will be a better experience.