Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2 – Children of Arkham Review
Greg Johnson / Oct 3rd, 2016 No Comments
The first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series had a strong focus on Bruce Wayne rather than Batman. The more human Wayne continues to be the main character in Episode 2 – Children of Arkham, but players will be able to step into the role of Batman more often if they so choose.
Related: Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows Review
It is clear in this episode that Telltale is providing its own unique take on Batman lore, and possibly even creating some of its own. Combined with the struggle between Bruce Wayne and Batman, this makes the game all the more engaging.
The Wayne Truth
The second episode showcases everything Batman is known for. There are detective elements, the never-ending fight to end corruption in the city, and a possible romance between the caped crusader and one very specific cat burglar.
The Children of Arkham are introduced in this episode, along with a mysterious new villain that remains to be uncovered. Will this villain turn out to be a classic Batman bad guy or will it be a new enemy developed by Telltale?
While the first episode mostly featured Bruce as the playable character, Episode 2 allows players to choose between stepping into the role of Batman or continuing as Bruce. Whether you choose to handle situations as Bruce or Batman has a large impact on the game.
The best example of this comes when players must decide to pay a visit to Mayor Hill as Bruce or as Batman. Bruce can use cunning and guile to get the answers he needs from Mayor Hill, while Batman uses intimidation and force.
Regardless if you choose to put on the batsuit or Bruce’s business suit, the choices you make will drastically effect the game’s plot. With a broad range of choices available to players, Batman/Bruce can be vicious or compassionate, and appear naïve or experienced.
Batman/Bruce is learning that there is no black or white in terms of people and morality, and the game’s storyline follows this theme of internal growth.
Driving Me Batty
How choices are made seems to be second nature for anyone who’s played any Telltale titles at this point. The controls are functional and familiar, but we experienced some delay when responding to quick-time events. There were also some moments where we pressed the wrong button, but it still registered as a success in the game.
There is a gameplay feature in this Telltale adventure that was specifically built for Batman. Players have “takedown choices,” which allows Batman to scope out his enemies before a fight to develop a winning strategy. These choices don’t deal with moral issues, and therefore don’t affect the story, but it is how Batman, the superhero with no super powers, would go about handling things.
At one point, an enemy was standing next to a table where several hostages were being held. Players must decide how to approach this opponent. Do you use a nearby chair to take him out stealthily or do you just fly in and smash the enemy into the table?
A New Bat Cast
Batman would not be Batman without the supporting characters that help build him up. In the game, Alfred fits the protective surrogate father role, while Jim Gordon is a loyal friend who truly believes in both Batman and Bruce.
However, the roles of these characters can change in the game based on player choices. A more brutal Batman begets a Jim Gordon that sees him as more of a threat than an ally. A more devious Bruce shows an Alfred that treats him as a child in over his head.
The second episode also fleshes out the story of Oswald Cobblepot, providing some justification for his actions. It will be up to players to decide if these reasons are valid.
The entire voice cast delivers these various portrayals perfectly, and it is only made better by a very Gotham soundtrack. Whether Batman is in the middle of a fight or just walking down the street, the music accompanying each section of Batman: The Telltale Series gives players a sense that something is lurking in the darkness.
The entire presentation creates a very noir vibe for Batman. The game recreates the spirit of Tim Burton’s take on Batman while also encompassing the more modern, gritty portrayal of the Dark Knight.
Batman: The Telltale Series is telling its own version of the Batman story, but it is doing so while also showing a clear understanding of Batman’s classic themes and motivations. Episode 2 – Children of Arkham further explores the internal struggles of Bruce Wayne and his quest for morality, and this shines through in the episode’s writing and voice acting.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2 – Children of Arkham was reviewed on PS4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
tags: batman , Batman: The Telltale Series Review , Episode 2 - Children of Arkham , review , telltale games