As the middle point of the second season of Telltale's Batman series, episode 3, "The Fractured Mask," has the task of leading the story in the direction it will follow for the rest of the season. The events of episodes 1 and 2 have led to this point, and it's episode 3's job to show the player some of the pay off for their choices, as well as set the stage for future events. Whether the latter task is accomplished remains to be seen, but the former can at least be evaluated.
In episode 1 your major choice was choosing a "partner" to help you in the coming conflict. Both sides want the same thing, but it's their methods that causes friction between the two. While that choice does follow you throughout episodes 2 and 3, the road not taken is still seen and still runs parallel to you. Episode 2 offered up a far more tense situation for your choice, the context of which was blurred given the outcome not really matching with the predicted one. Once again, your choice here doesn't make a difference, as in the first act of the episode the playing field is leveled again.
This is a common complaint with Telltale games, that the choices don't actually matter because the events the game needs to have happen will always happen, even if the choices give the illusion that there will be multiple, very different, endings. It's a flaw in the series that I've always tolerated, but it does get tiring. To those who feel the same, the best way to make peace is to accept that the choices presented don't lead to different endings, but rather change how you get there. They alter the journey, not the destination.
Episode 3's major choice was not as polarizing, based on the player stats calculating the percent of players who took the same door as you. Where episode 1 and 2 were nearly 50/50, almost 90% of players chose the same option as I did. It's an unsurprising outcome, as it asks you to choose whether or not to protect someone close to you. The consequences are a hollow threat, as you know that all the pieces will likely remain on the board, so why do something that could damage your good standing?
Performance took a small dip since the previous episodes, with a few stumbles and stutters whenever a scene changed. Controlling Bruce/Batman still feels odd, causing him to often run up along railings and walls when you're just trying to walk a straight line. It's like trying to stay balanced for a sobriety test. If the game had asked me to recite my ABCs, it may have well led to a game over!
The story of episode 3 was interesting to say the least. It's becoming clearer what the end result will be for a few select characters, but since it's also one I was hoping would happen, the lack of surprise is made up for the satisfaction in writing. You'll be playing as Bruce for the most part, with only two sequences giving you control of Batman.
Season 2 of Batman is shaping up nicely, and if the quality of writing stands up for the last two episodes, I'd rank this season above the first. The repeated themes of "blurred lines between friend and foe" and the damage secrets have on a relationship will turn off some who played the first season, but I'm confident that anyone who was a fan of season 1 will find the second to be just as, if not more, enjoyable.