It’s difficult for me to accept that we’ve reached the final episode of Batman – The Telltale Series, because all tech issues aside, the whole journey so far has been a thoroughly engrossing experience. ‘City of Light’ not only has to deliver a satisfying climax, but also one which isn’t plagued by stuttering, audio loss, and freezing. Is that too much to ask of our beloved Batman and seasoned developing veterans Telltale?
I got a little giddy in the previous episode, seeing the guy we all should recognise as Joker – even if naive Bruce has no idea who he is and what’s to come from their future encounters. That early peek at the Batman’s greatest nemesis gave even more context to the story being told, in that Gotham’s protector has seemingly only recently just begun his crusade. But I digress, and having already dispatched one crook, Oswald, it’s time to deal with Lady Arkham.
Arguably the most fulfilling part of ‘City of Light’ is resolution. Everything you want to know, or want to sort out, becomes a reality throughout the episode. Take the Harvey Dent situation for example; he’s hell-bent on destroying Bruce and bringing justice by the flip of a coin. His entire Two-Face persona shines through and by expressing the conflicting thoughts in his head it helps to deliver a masterful performance. Considering the severe threat of Lady Arkham, Dent could’ve been lost in the mayhem, but instead he received a fitting part to play and so did Bruce.
Coming face to face with Lady Arkham (Vicki Vale) for a supposed final battle was almost done to perfection. Batman doesn’t just appear at where she’s hiding out as if by magic, oh no, we are treated to a spot of detective work first. This serves as a brilliant way to understand the psyche of Vicki, and goes all the way in helping the player understand the motivations for her vengeful path. It makes a lot of sense.
Having already partaken in fisticuffs as Batman many times during the rest of the series, any action included in this conclusion has to take it up a notch. And it does. When the climax approaches, there’s a whole load of choices in order to prepare attacks in a crowded room where it’s all kicking off. Some of the moves are pure awesome; if you can’t appreciate throwing a Batarang at a hanging light beam, before dropkicking it into an enemy, then maybe this gaming malarkey isn’t for you – and that’s all just to get the adrenaline flowing before a QTE battle to top them all. Everyone knows that you’re just pressing the odd button combination, but it’s the choreography of the fighting which creates the excitement. Trust me, it’s exhilarating.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the environments you frequent in these story-driven games because you’re too caught up with the characters. However, being back at Arkham Asylum is unforgettable. Not for its clinical cafeteria, or bog-standard cells, but for the hidden depths which are surprising well-detailed.
Where does episode five go wrong? Nowhere really, except for a slightly contrived scene involving Catwoman. I understand the end-game of their arc, but it felt a bit too melancholy compared to the rest, and is badly placed in the grand scheme of things too. There’s also confusion from myself at the previous episode’s ending and how the severity of it doesn’t seem consistent with the start of this episode. But I’m really clutching at straws for negatives.
As far as finales go, this one has everything. All the loose ends are tied up, explanations are given, and the action is right up there amongst the best of the series. The minor negatives stem from the contrived nature of meeting Selina and a small consistency error, other than that it delivered greatly. Keeping ‘City of Light’ problem free allowed me to enjoy proceedings without any irritations or worries.
The greatest achievement of Batman – The Telltale Series is managing to make Bruce Wayne as much an integral and interesting part of the story as Batman. Telltale have done a terrific job overall and it’d be a travesty not to see a second series in the pipeline.
I urge you to pick up the entire season if you haven’t already done so; Gotham needs you!