“Episode 3 has rekindled my interest in the series…”
So far, Telltale’s Batman series has gotten off to a slow start. Introducing various new ideas to Telltale’s now classic storytelling model, the series has not been afraid to try out fresh methods. Most notably, it has taken a key focus on Bruce Wayne as well as Batman himself and pushed comic book elements such as in-depth detective work which previous gaming iterations of the universe have overlooked. What it has lacked up to now is drama, at least until the very end of the previous episode. A lot of talking has gone on whilst characters are introduced and background story is set. Episode 2’s finale, saw us making some genuinely critical decisions, however, alongside some aggressive negotiations, making Episode 3 all the more exciting.
To recap, Episode 2 ended with Penguin hijacking the Mayoral debate between current position holder Mayor Hill and popular competitor Harvey Dent. Aware of an impending attack, Batman and Catwoman team up to intervene at the event, but not before both candidates are drugged and forced to reveal their true feelings towards the city and people of Gotham. The scene ends in a violent brawl, climaxing with the decision to protect either Harvey or Catwoman from a near-lethal attack. The ending certainly picked up the pace ahead of the series’ mid-point in the episode to follow.
Without a doubt, Episode 3 of Telltale’s Batman series is the best one yet. The episode is the most thrilling so far and some genuinely surprising revelations and decisions come to light. Following the events at the Mayoral debate, Harvey waits in the hospital as the now last surviving candidate, as Bruce enters to visit his fallen friend. During a heartfelt conversation between the two, however, the Bat-Symbol lights up in the skies above Gotham, and for the first time, The Batman is called for help. Nostalgic fans will enjoy even these opening minutes of the episode, with indications of Harvey’s transition to becoming Two-Face and the epic inception of Batman’s relationship with the GCPD.
The themes of the episode evolve quickly into respective paths for both Bruce and Batman after this point. For perhaps the first time, both share equal limelight throughout the episode, with both their story arcs being equally as engaging. Bruce fights to maintain control of Wayne Enterprises after the revelations about his father’s relationship with the mob come to light. The company’s board seeks to unwittingly replace him with Oswald Cobblepot; a move which Bruce knows would spell chaos for Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman discovers a plot to spread a more lethal strain of Penguin’s drugs through the city when reporter Vicky Vale tips him off on the Children of Arkham’s hideout. Needless to say, neither arc turns out positively for our hero, but the evolution of each is told through fantastic storytelling, es ever.
The twofold finale of the episode could easily go down in Telltale’s climax hall of fame, with the last half hour being the most gripping segment of the series to date. Batman finally catches up with the Children of Arkham’s leader, but his efforts to save Gothamites from the impending chemical attack leave him injured and in need of help. Catwoman steps in once again, carrying an injured Bruce to her apartment and helping tend to his wounds. Players are then left with the risky decision of how to progress their relationship. Statistically, it seems only 10% of players so far have decided to keep things clean…
The following morning, Harvey arrives at Selina’s apartment seeking to repair their relationship. Upon seeing Bruce, however, his true struggle between Dent and Two-Face is unleashed. Bruce is left to take down Harvey with either words of support or his own trusty fists. The acting behind Harvey’s struggle stands out as a high point for the character so far in the series, if not as a high point for the entire roster as a whole. Once the situation is diffused, a reluctant Bruce Wayne heads down to Wayne Tower, where he is expected to step down as CEO of his company peacefully. It is here that a surprising revelation unfolds, with the true identity of the villainous Lady Arkham being unveiled. A compromised Bruce is injected with Penguin’s drug and fleets into an uncontrollable rage, as the episode fades to black…
Episode 3 has rekindled my interest in the series and is the first cliff-hanging episode to really leave me longing for more. Thrills, depth and substance are all present in the story now, as well as elements of genuine surprise and intrigue. As characters develop along increasingly dark paths, we are left to wonder just how much further heroes can fall in the city of Gotham. If we are lucky, Episode 4 will offer us something just as special with a healthy side of answers and more.