Previously on Batman: Children of Arkham
Bruce Wayne discovers unsettling news that his family was involved in gangster related activities, thereby tarnishing his family name and his involvement in the Mayoral election. Unwilling to accept the rumors about his family, Bruce becomes his alter ego, Batman, to uncover any clues about his family’s past. Cobblepot and a new villain figure emerge during the Mayoral debate to publicly reveal the truth about Bruce Wayne’s father’s corrupt past and the fruition of the so-called Children of Arkham. The classic Telltale story defining decisions at the end of the episode involves either saving Harvey Dent from ultimately becoming Two-Face or saving Catwoman from getting shot.
New World Order
Depending on whether you saved Harvey or Selina in Episode 2, doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on the story in Episode 3. In my playthrough, I saved Selina in order to get Harvey to physically become Two-Face. After the events of Episode 2, Bruce visits Harvey in the hospital to see how he’s recovering. Because I chose the Two-Face path, Harvey’s head was heavily bandaged from his attack. It was difficult to predict early in the episode if Harvey would continue to wear his bandages the entire episode, but thankfully, as the episode progressed we got to see his iconic facial deformation. Almost half of the episode revolves around Harvey’s slow mental deterioration, so where does Selina fit into this episode?
Because I decided to save Selina, she was seen at the beginning of the episode avoiding Harvey at the hospital and later found working with the mysterious villain at a Sky Train depot. If you allowed her to get shot at the end of Episode 2, Selina will not be found at the beginning of Episode 3. Following the fight scene with the mysterious villain who you don’t defeat in this episode, you’ll inevitably get injured and use Selina’s apartment as a safehouse. While mending Bruce’s wounds, Selina reminds him that she’s been saved twice by him (she will say this if you saved her in Episode 2). The remainder of the dialogue can be predominantly driven by flirtatious remarks or by simply denying her advances. A majority of players (including myself) chose the playful route of flirtation and were rewarded with an opportunity to sleep with her. After you spend the night at Selina’s apartment, you have the choice to steal back your missing equipment before you get breakfast prepared.
It only took a surprise visit from Harvey to make me realize that I made a terrible mistake by sleeping with Selina. This obvious deception from both his girlfriend and best friend triggers Harvey to act like the Two-Face we are familiar with (via film or comics). The fight scene that ensues is brilliant with Harvey fighting his inner voice and Bruce, simultaneously. After Harvey loses the fight against Bruce, Harvey decides to leave the apartment cursing both Selina and Bruce for their actions and his own. The episode comes to a thrilling end with Bruce reading (or fabricating your own) speech of resignation as CEO for Wayne Enterprises.
With Bruce’s family past haunting his career, Bruce is asked to step down from Wayne Enterprises until his name gets cleared. This allows Cobblepot to gain the power that he feels is rightfully his. Since there is no major decision to make at the end of this episode, the next episode will be affected by how well you cooperate with Cobblepot or how defiant you are to expose the truth during the speech. After Bruce ends his speech, he descends into the crowd of reporters and stands next to Vicki Vale. Lo and behold, she injects Bruce with the strange neurotoxin plaguing individuals in Gotham and reveals herself as “the Children of Arkham, […] Lady Arkham.” Perhaps one of the biggest cliffhangers in TellTale history, Vicki Vale is one of the most unlikely characters ever to be a villain in the Batman universe.
If the first two episodes weren’t enough to whet your appetite, then the third episode will definitely reel you in. Now that character introductions have been established, Batman Telltale Series is able to delve deeper into its unique story. During the fight scene with the mysterious villain, I was anxiously awaiting a cinematic where the mask flies off or the villain reveals himself dramatically. Instead, I completely forget about the identity of the villain because I was too busy getting engrossed in the romancing and protection of Catwoman. Episode 3 ensures that the player’s attention flows with the story and not hung up on little details. The shift of attention from the mysterious villain to Catwoman is similar to a magic trick so that when the villain’s identity is revealed, the player is caught off guard.
TellTale games have always been keen on letting the player choose their own story based on the decisions made along the way. With Batman, however, I was hoping that there would more impactful differences depending on the choice you made at the end of Episode 2. If you saved Selina, Harvey physically looks like Two Face, whereas if you save Harvey, he still acts like Two-Face, but physically looks indifferent. One other issue with Batman has been frame rate issues, at least in Episode 1 and Episode 2. Gameplay is smoother now that the pesky frame rate issue has been resolved (at least on PS4), which definitely adds to story immersion. I never realized how detracting the low frame rate was until after I played Episode 3.
Stay tuned to The Noobist for a review of Episode 4, which may release late November! Check out the trailer below for a teaser of Episode 4 Guardian of Gotham.