“…this one really gets you drooling for whatever comes next.”
Harvey Dent is Mayor of Gotham, but he is a disturbed man who’s darker side is out of control. The Children of Arkham have risen in power, but they have hidden themselves away as they plan for their next move. Bruce Wayne was caught on live television attacking the new CEO of his company, Oswald Cobblepot. Not knowing he was under the influence of Penguin and Lady Arkham’s powerful drugs, and already feeling betrayed by his closest friend, Harvey has sent Bruce to the one place that can “help” him; Arkham Asylum…
Episode 3 ended with an exciting and explosive climax. The identity of the leader of the Children of Arkham, aka Lady Arkham, was revealed as none other than the reporter Vicky Vale, just moments after she had injected Bruce Wayne with her drugs. Amplifying emotions he already felt too dangerous levels, this left Bruce compromised, and dangerous. When he wakes up at Arkham, he is dazed and confused, with the drug still in his system. He manages to fight its grip when a pair of inmates enter his cell to attack him, taking the beating until an unlikely ally emerges. This is the point when you know that this episode is going to be a good one!
As Bruce looks up to thank his saviour, a man with green hair stands staring back at him, with a smile on his face and a seemingly friendly, albeit upbeat nature. When the doctors arrive, the man denies fighting the other inmates for Bruce but is keen to be his friend and help him get to know the place. The doctor agrees, but when Bruce asks his name she interrupts, saying that he has never told anyone his name, simply going by John Doe. We the fans, of course, know exactly who the man is, and if Telltale were looking for a way to get out attention they succeeded.
It is not clear whether or not John has gone fully Joker yet or not. Presumably, since nobody calls him this and Bruce does not recognise him, what we see is just the beginnings of his maniacal ways. John, on the other hand, knows a lot. He knows the identity of Lady Arkham, he knows how to get you out of the asylum, and it is even implied that he knows a thing or two about your secrets too. His portrayal of a disturbed yet trustworthy character does him great credit in these opening scenes too. Telltale achieve a unique but wildly effective personality for their would-be Joker, making the surprise of seeing and interacting with him even more enticing.
Upon your successful exit from Arkham into the care of your trusty Butler, Alfred, the excitement slows down for a while but the story itself has hit new levels of interest. Things have changed in your short time away. Public opinions towards Bruce Wayne have diminished significantly. Harvey has taken an iron grasp of the slipping Gotham City. The absence of the Batman has been noticed. On his way home, Bruce is stopped by Harvey’s new enforcers, and the player must decide how to handle the situation. Whichever way you choose to act, Bruce’s next move is to formulate an antidote, before heading out on a lead that John of all people has given him.
Donning the identity of Batman, we are taken to the scene of the Vale’s family home. Vicky Vale, aka Lady Arkham, has clearly already been in attendance, though, with only a bloody murder scene left being. On the upside of this, it is the perfect setup for us to once again test our detective skills in Telltale’s unique way. We find that Vale has taken control of her father’s warehouse and logistics, presumably in order to try and distribute her non-lethal drug once again. Gordon is informed, but moments later we discover a child hiding away. After a brief discussion, a familiar-looking drone appears, controlled by Oz, but the young boy manages to save Batman from it. A relationship is sparked, and whilst it is not clearly stated, the feeling is that this boy could become our Robin.
The appearance of the drone suggests that Batman’s tech has been compromised, but after informing Lucius of the news Bruce is forced to confront Harvey. The announcement by the Mayor that Wayne Manor is to be seized by the city forces his hand, but the player most choose to go with Batman or Bruce to speak with him. This is when we find however that Gordon has been compromised too, and that Harvey has taken almost complete control over Gotham. His next move, despite your talk, is to march upon Wayne Manor.
While all of this transpires, Penguin is dangerously close to hacking the Batman computer network, leaving the player with the most genuinely difficult choice yet; stop Harvey and risk your identity, or stop Penguin and risk your home. Even the end game stats show that players were almost 50/50 on this and the other choices to be made in the episode, showing how much of a real mind bender Episode 4 has been. Whatever you choose to do, this instalment has no real right answers, and certainly, doesn’t have a happy ending…
The fact that there is so much to say about this episode alone shows just how far the grip of the story has finally come in Episode 4. Characters are built in advance of this instalment, and the background has been fully set, leaving this penultimate chapter with all the room it needs to really hold your attention. With the introduction of The Joker being so unexpected and the growth of Gotham’s troubles reaching its peak, this one really gets you drooling for whatever comes next. Episode 5 has a lot to live up to, and even more loose ends to tie, but fans by now will be convinced that it will come their way with a little more than just a bang.