The second series of Telltale’s Batman delivers the goods again in an above average episode of the caped crusader’s escapades.
The story picks up exactly where the last episode left us – with Catwoman walking in the lair of The Pact members (Harley Quinn, Mr Freeze, Bane and John Smith AKA the soon to be Joker we assume). Of course, that was quite a way to leave the episode considering Bruce had some ‘interactions’ (what these are depend on your previous choices) with Catwoman in the last series. Was she going to rat you out? Would she help you with your undercover adventures? Kind of neither actually, as the whole shock introduction was glossed over within five minutes of playing the episode. As it progresses you can kind of see why the developers would do that – there’s a lot crammed in to this episode.
It really felt to me that a huge amount happened in episode three. The main characters throughout the game all felt completely different towards me by the end of it and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I had damaged my relationship with some of my acquaintances beyond repair, but repaired others beyond how I imagined I could at the end of the last episode. I had gone from being Jim Gordon’s closest confidante to almost being arrested by him, from asking Lucius’ daughter to trust me to telling her my biggest secret and from being John’s best friend to leaving him guilt-ridden at his actions towards me. It was great to see the story pushed along like this but honestly, I feel like I have whiplash from how much changed.
This doesn’t even touch on the plot twists. I won’t spoil too much but it seems the Agency are not who we think they are and there’s a reason why it’s maybe not such a bad idea to band together with The Pact. Best of all though, it seems Riddler will continue to be felt from beyond the grave, and (given he’s one of the most interesting characters introduced this series) that can only be a good thing.
This Riddler influence means that I can happily praise the setting too. My favourite part of the entire series so far was Riddler’s water tower/murder trap from Saw. It left me feeling tense, nervous and utterly freaked out – I’m so thankful we returned here this episode even if it was just for one chapter. It’s a great setting and really gives a lot to the general gameplay. Not to mention the many levels meant that the fighting I did here felt dynamic, drawn out (in a good way) and fresh.
Sadly, despite the dynamic combat I experienced throughout this episode, I was left feeling disappointed with a lot of the ‘exploration’ I had to do. I wouldn’t really class walking around at a snail’s pace and interacting with objects one after the other as ‘exploration’ to be completely honest but I get the impression that’s what it’s meant to be. Either way I felt like the drained a lot of the excitement from the game so Telltale, if you’re reading this, please change this up in future games. I’m not asking for The Witness style puzzles but there has got to be a more creative way of breaking up the cutscenes and making a game interactive.
Finally, I just want to touch on something I’ve mentioned in previous episode reviews. I still really enjoy Harley and John as characters. I can’t really see where their character arcs are taking them, but I like it and can’t wait to see where it ends. As time goes on I can’t help but feel that Harley and Bruce are influencing John more than we think, and Harley is being pushed to the limits of her sanity. I’m currently more invested in them as characters than I am Bruce Wayne.