Game: Batman The Telltale Series: Episode Two Children of Arkham
Platform(s): Windows, Ps4(reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
The first episode of Batman The Telltale Series made some aggressive moves. It put a new spin on classic Batman Characters and asked an incredibly important question. What if the very thing the Batman has been fighting for is a lie? What if his Thomas and Martha Wayne weren’t Gotham’s saints? What if they were just as bad all the doctorate wielding super villains. Episode Two starts strong and begins to explore just that before quickly shifting gears to establish its villain.
Children of Arkham has a clear focus; this episode is about Oswald Cobblepot. Oz’s past and the downfall of the Cobblepot name are laid out for everyone to see and if he weren’t the Penguin and if his actions weren’t so grandly villainous you may even start to feel sorry for the guy. Penguin is evil that much is made clear in this chapter. In episode one Oz only speaks in hushed tones of a revolution on the horizon, in episode two he and his mysterious new partner bring the first spark to ignite it. It’s clear that the Telltale writers are trying to ride Fox’s Gotham’s reinventing of the Penguin as a young, charismatic character. The problem is he never feels that way. He enters briefly, says some menacing lines and fires a gun. So far the promise of Oz and Bruce’s childhood connections making the Penguins charcter more meaningful seem squandered.
Oh, I get it, he’s the Penguin
We also get a brief look into the past of Thomas Wayne. It’s the shocking actions of Thomas that start to bring up the slightest feelings of sympathy for Oz, as well as begin to put a strain on Bruce’s relationship with Harvey Dent. As the Wayne name continues to be tarnished Harvey is forced to distance himself from Bruce. These conversations present the player with options to lash out at Harvey. While doing so would be understandable it may be better long term to continue to support Dent from behind the scenes silently.
Bruce’s relationship with Alfred also seems to take some turns in this chapter. In the first episode, Alfred is warning Bruce not to take things too far. In children of Arkham he’s more supportive of Bruce’s actions as the bat, even going as far as to say Gotham needs Batman. You can credit this change to his need to show Bruce his support after lying to him about his parent’s ties to Falcone. Just the same it could prove interesting for their relationship going forward.
Big guy has quite the grip
Unlike the first episode, we don’t get a whole lot of the large scale crime scene investigation segments that I loved so much. A few basic tactical takedowns and a whole lot of over the top dialogue. One choice in this episode did stand out to me. You’re presented with the option to approach a possible interrogation scenario as either Batman or Bruce Wayne and for the first time, I felt I was in a scenario that was better suited for the playboy millionaire rather than the Dark Knight detective. Batman the Telltale series, continues to tell a better Bruce Wayne story than we’re used to seeing in video games.
In its second outing Batman the Telltale Series gives us a few big surprises, establishes an over the top villain but ultimately doesn’t shine in the same way as its first act. With new mysterious character introduced and more new questions raised than answered Telltales latest title is shaping up alright. We’ll have to wait to learn the truth about the Wayne’s in episode three. You can pick up Episode two now for $4.99.
Score: 6 out of 10
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