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BATMAN - The Telltale Series

is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure video game developed and published by Telltale Games and distributed by Warner Bros. read more

7.5

Batman - The Telltale Series, Children of Arkham

Author: Daniel Gaudiello
30-Sep-2016

Category: Review

After episode 1 of Batman - The Telltale Series, what's next for our Caped Crusader as the mystery behind his parents and the cause of their death begins to unravel. Also, what will this revolution, Oswald Cobblepott talked about, have in store for Gotham City?

Batman - The Telltale Series Episode 2 Review

Introduction

I did not like Telltale Games. Before Batman - The Telltale Series, I played two previous titles they created. I first played Back to the Future The Game and then later The Walking Dead. My problem with Back to the Future  was that while it had all the right elements in place, it lacked the gameplay I'm used to. The game lost my interest. Later I tried Telltale Games again when they released The Walking Dead. I was discouraged again by its gameplay and puzzle solving. So when I first heard a Batman game was being designed by Telltale, I was skeptical and hopeful. I hoped that Batman would right the wrongs that I found with the other two titles I played. I bought it just because it had the name, Batman. I was right.

This game is top notch. The gameplay reminds me of the older games, but they overhauled it to suit a Batman game. There are some light puzzles. Lot's of decision making and some decisions are remembered to affect the story later. It reminds me of what my colleague said about the Mass Effect franchise. Now the game is classic Batman, however, Telltale designed a whole new story for this game. It has elements of Batman, but I've never seen or read anything like it before.

Batman - The Telltale Series is available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Steam.

Narrative

If you did not read the review my colleague made for episode 1 please go and read it. There's a good chance this story will confuse you if you didn't read it or play through part 1. Episode 1 review is here. Also, major spoiler alert for the story and events of episode 2 are coming. Now that my PSA (Public Service Announcement) is out of the way, on with this review.

Batman episode selection screen
Wow after episode 1 events, I was drooling and getting impatient for episode 2. Falcone is in jail, The Wayne family is under scrutiny, and your friend Oswald is talking about a revolution coming. We start this episode at the spot where Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed.

After Bruce and Alfred talk, you reinvestigate the crime scene because you have repressed memories of that night. After that, you have Harvey Dent arrange a meeting with Falcone. He's in a hospital after getting roughed up by the Batman. You two talk and he explains some information that Bruce certainly didn't know. Then a cop from outside busts in and kills Falcone with her gun.

In the next scene, you find out that she was drugged by injection. She has no idea what she did, and she doesn't know who injected her. You analyze it with your phone and send it to the Batcave for further analysis. In the Batcave, you see that it is a synthetic compound that makes the person lose their better judgement and act on impulse.

You decide to go to Mayor Hill since he is the only person who knows more about your parents and what went on in the past. You choose to go as Bruce Wayne of Batman. So when you go as Batman as me and probably 90% of players chose to do, you go stealth. Once he scared you lean him near the balcony and ask him what went down. The classic Batman scare tactics were so fun. He does say that Catwoman screwed up a job for Penguin.

As Bruce, you schedule a meeting with Selina at a bar to warn her. She plays it off like she can just leave Gotham. As they are talking, Penguin's thugs come in and a fight ensues. You and Selina fight together until they're all unconscious. You and Selina leave out the back before the cops arrive. You then choose to be a gentleman or go to kiss her. Either way, she leaves afterwards.

You have no idea where Oswald Cobblepot is. So in the Batcave, you use a hack to find the signal from Oswald's cell phone. You have three areas in Gotham and you need to find the signal to pinpoint where he is. It's a fairly easy puzzle. After that, you triangulate the three points to see where the center is.

Now you go to see Oswald as Batman. He is in Falcone's old club from the end of the first episode. You find out that Penguin wants to crash the debate Harvey Dent and current mayor Hamilton Hill are having. After some talking, this big Hulk-like thug kicks your butt. You contact Harvey to make sure he's ok while you're driving the Batmobile to the debate.

You end up on a roof across the street from the building with Commissioner Gordon. You argue, but in the end, Gordon knows you're on the same side. Catwoman shows up to assist. You and her gain access to the building through an air vent.

Once inside you must use stealth so that Penguins thugs do not harm the hostages. You have to link three different attacks together. One for each of the thugs in the first room you enter. You must link one of the attacks to Catwoman because you are not fast enough to take out all three thugs by yourself. If you remember when you entered Falcone's club in episode 1, you will do fine. Not to mention there were double the amount of thugs in the club.

After that, you and Catwoman will be in the stage area. Penguin is holding the mayor at gunpoint. While he is there the mayor reveals that he is the one that put the hit out on the Wayne family causing the killing. Then Penguin shoots him. Penguin then moves to Harvey Dent. Batman and Catwoman try to stop him but get shot at. Batman rolls out of the way and Catwoman has a bullet graze her forehead . She goes down dazed, but otherwise alright. Now the biggest choice of the series so far. You see thugs rushing toward Catwoman, and Penguin about to drop a spotlight on Harvey. You choose who to save. No matter who you choose, Penguin escapes and the story moves on accordingly. In the end, regardless of your final choice, you see a short but important cutscene and the episode is over.

Gameplay

Now the gameplay is very different than previous Batman games. It's simple but can get hectic and timing can be unforgiving at times. You rarely move with the control stick. In episode 1 when chasing Catwoman on the rooftops, you automatically had a running scene, you got control during combat.

Moving ninety percent of the time is automatic. In this episode when you and Selina leave the bar, you follow her without touching the controller. Combat can be unforgiving. I remember I put the controller down to light a cigarette, thinking there was just dialogue. NEVER EVER DO THAT! I died because the combat prompt came up and I didn't have the controller in my hand.

Batman dealing out justice.
The game is like one big interactive cutscene. However, that's not a bad thing. The controls are crisp and clear. I'm playing on Steam with my trusty Xbox 360 wired controller. The greatest thing is that they map out controls based on your input device. When I started playing, it said exactly what button to press.

There is no learning curve. The controls are one maybe two button combinations that pop up as the movement slows down to give you time to hit the appropriate buttons. However, you still have to have some speed. If you miss, like me, you could die. Luckily you get to retry a few seconds before your screw-up occurred.

Graphics

These graphics are ripped right out of a comic book. They don't look hyper-realistic like Batman Arkham Knight, however, they work out real nicely. They are still in high definition just not realistic looking. For this game you don't need realism, you need substance. The look gives you a feeling of grit without having the super realism junkies write this game off.

Batman using his grapple gun.
Yes, this above picture looks good, but you can tell when you look at the face and textures on the buildings. It's not supposed to look realistic. I like the look and feel of this game. It's a fresh look at the Batman games with an original story that easily angers you when it's over with a cliffhanger. Like any game of this generation, there are some scenes of certain things that look realistic for the most part.

Bruce in front of the Batcomputer in the famous Batcave.

Final thoughts

While I originally was having ill thoughts about this game, I was so wrong. This game isn't just Batman - The Telltale Series. I can see this game spawning sequels and even animated movies. You can realize that the creators are fans and took their time making sure this game pleased Batman fans and Telltale enthusiasts alike. I am not a fan of previous Telltale titles, but this one makes me want to give the next Telltale game a chance.

Pros
Cons
 + Responsive gameplay
 - Unfamiliar controls
 + Compelling story
 - Unforgiving time for control input
 + Graphics are ripped from comic books
 - Puzzles are too easy


SCORE: 9/10

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