The Batman Telltale series has so far managed to breathe life into a character that’s attracted a great deal of attention over the years, in many different forms of media. It could be said that the same applies to Telltale Games too, where before this series it began to feel like the whole concept they are famed for was becoming stale. Without droning on, one can only hope Batman – The Telltale Series Episode Three “New World Order” can continue with the great storytelling, whilst bringing thrills in the action.
I had to bite my tongue when discussing the previous episode, but now, I will freely go over the high-octane ending that leads us to this latest episode – don’t say you haven’t been warned.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been placed in such a predicament as “Children of Arkham” did. In true Telltale fashion I had to decide between two options that would test my moral compass undoubtedly. Do I attempt to save Bruce’s closest friend Harvey Dent, who just so happened to distance himself from all things Wayne, or do I lend a hand to the potential love interest Catwoman a.k.a. Selina Kyle? Even under the guise of the Batman, the choice wasn’t easy in the slightest. Having chosen Selina for purpose of my main playthrough, and witnessing a gruesome attack on Harvey, I wasn’t prepared for the mental torture I’d face in episode three.
Storytelling is absolutely what Telltale do best, and although the life of Bruce may be an altogether slower paced side, it allows the player to better understand those around him and to figure out just how difficult it is to juggle both sides of the lifestyle. I was absolutely mortified seeing a disfigured Harvey, I felt what Bruce must’ve been feeling, knowing that we could’ve tried to help him, but instead Bruce is having to hide his guilt.
An emotional rollercoaster is exactly what “New World Order” provides, because throughout the 90 minutes you’ll definitely find moments of joy, excitement, sadness, anger and guilt. Not to mention a rather steamy segment that’s sure to get you hot under the collar – there’s nothing too graphic though, it’s mostly implied.
Many different characters make their mark within this part of the story. The Harvey Dent character shows the foundations of who he is set to become, and it’s rather brilliant how they’ve conveyed his lack of mental stability. Oswald is absolutely infuriating, which means that’s a job well done too. I can’t tell you about the other standout, however, it becomes apparent who’s really orchestrating the chaos in Gotham, and it’s a real shocker.
Everyone wants to know about the Batman side of proceedings, obviously. Sadly, I was rather disappointed on the whole. Whilst the return of the detective style interaction was welcome, where clues must be found and appropriately linked together to come to a useful conclusion, the combat was a little lacklustre. QTEs are QTEs, but the action that follows a correct input has been far better than what’s on offer here. Even the finishing moves are rather ordinary.
That’s not the worst of it though, there are really annoying technical issues that shouldn’t be present. Sound simply cuts out from time to time, whether it’s during a conversation with Alfred, or racing down the street in the Batmobile. Visually it plays up too; the screen randomly flickers and weird things occur such as Catwoman’s arm becoming contorted behind her head. No one wants such problems as it takes the shine off what would have been a great episode of story progression.
Almost everything Bruce-orientated was pretty much spot on, I’ve seldom felt such a range of emotions before in a Telltale game, but it’s a sure sign that a top job has been done to connect the player to the characters. Action-wise it’s the most disappointing, with dull combat scenes compared to what we’ve already seen. If I were to search for a positive in the Batman exploits, it’d be the fact that “New World Order” offers a long overdue reminder that although he’s awesome, he’s still human and isn’t invincible.
There’s no excuse for the issues though, and it saddens me that the episode overall falls short of the standards I’d gotten used to. That being said, you’d be a fool to give up on Bruce at this stage; allow Telltale to win us over next time…I’m sure it’ll be intriguing episode.