Telltale really dropped the ball in episode three of their Batman series, allowing technical issues to rear their ugly head and spoil proceedings that were only otherwise let down by some rather dull combat. I thought such problems were behind them, but maybe it was just a blip and ‘Guardian of Gotham’ will reintroduce the smoothness we desire. Being the penultimate episode, this has a lot to live up to in order to set up the grand finale.
Well, who saw it coming? Lady Arkham, the architect of the Children of Arkham group terrorising the city, was none other than nosey reporter Vicki Vale. It was an absolute curveball thrown our way, leaving us with a few questions, the biggest of which was ‘Why Vicki, why?!’ as she injected poor Bruce with that ghastly drug. Let’s just hope he managed to keep his cool and not do anything rash under the influence…
Oh, he battered Penguin in broad daylight before being committed to Arkham Asylum – not the best way to win over the people of Gotham. I must point out, even though Gotham is left without its nocturnal protector, it’s bloody great to be in the place where legendary villains are either initially created or end up spending their days of redemption for insane crimes that have been committed. There’s a certain young fellow residing there now, coming to Bruce Wayne’s aid in his hour of need. Bruce has no idea who he’ll eventually become, but as any casual fan will realise, this is a mad partnership given their history.
After seeing many incarnations of the character whom is most helpful in Arkham, Telltale have tried to give him a fresh lick of paint, despite holding onto their classic erratic behaviour and trademark actions. Given how these scenes played out within the confines of Arkham’s equivalent of a day room, I can’t see us meeting ‘John Doe’ again this season, but the future looks menacing for the streets of Gotham – that damn place gets no peace does it?
I found it quite difficult to watch Bruce Wayne be incapable of basic stuff as a result of that injection, which is testament to Telltale forcing us to care. They’ve managed to build a really strong connection between Bruce and the other characters, and the same can be said for the players and these characters with villainous personalities. There’s a real hatred to be felt, especially towards that conniving scoundrel Oswald Cobblepot, he’s truly obnoxious and smarmy. Two-Face on the other hand, I flip between feeling sorrow and aggression, for it is Batman’s fault that he’s in such a mental state, but then he’ll make a decision that costs innocent lives.
One of the biggest decisions of the episode will lie within your hands, choosing to take on Harvey or Oswald as Batman (you won’t be in Arkham all episode), and in turn you’ll sacrifice something of your own. It was a no-brainer for me and my first choice was thoroughly satisfying, with a greatly enjoyable fight scene to go with it. Everything but the kitchen sink is used in a battle of wits and determination.
The Batman side of proceedings are vastly improved, not only in terms of combat, but the usage of all his shiny toys for the detective part too. Assessing crime scenes make for a great time to cool-down after some intense storytelling or fisticuffs, and being able to figure out what went on has a Sherlock Holmes level of deduction to them. The balance between Batman and Bruce still favours the latter, but it’s all done so well throughout the episode.
The same can’t be said for the audio and visuals. I’m appalled at the state in which some of the cutscenes are in. At times, mouths are moving, with no sound emanating from them, whilst sound can occur without the picture changing from a temporal frozen state. All the things that have haunted Telltale since the early days of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us etc. are present.
It’s a good job ‘Guardian of Gotham’ delivers in almost every other area; the tale advances at an exciting pace, the villains have gone from strength to strength, and beating up bad guys via QTEs has never been so fun. I cannot excuse Telltale for a repeat of the technical problems which really do hinder the goings on, but in an ideal world they’ll be eradicated for the final episode of the current series.
Please Telltale, give us a problem free conclusion in order to experience the climax in its best form. Bring on the finale!