Episode 3: New World Order
By Nick Schifani
A couple days ago the third episode of Telltale's Batman series dropped. So, naturally I jumped right in to play it. This episode, where it may have lacked in the action like its predecessors, it made up for it with some serious decision in Bruce Wayne's personal and professional life. The choices I made left me pausing the game and second guessing myself, fearful of what the reactions or repercussions could bring me in the near future. This episode kicked up the intensity. Even right up to the very end, where a pretty wicked plot twist occurred. All that being said, let's get this party started, shall we?
**WARNING! SPOILERS FOLLOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!**
I am loving this new take on Batman. Even for the most hardcore Batman "fans", this has to be a whole new take on him and the world we know about him. The DC characters you thought you once knew, are tossed out. For example, the TellTale version of Harvey Dent may possibly be my favorite take on the character. His love and affection for Bruce Wayne rivals that of Alfred's. It's remarkable for Telltale to take this character and spin him in a whole new way. I dig it!
There are subtle changes to each character that continue to build depth, and they add layer upon layer to each decision you have to make. In the opening scene, Harvey is in the hospital following the end of episode 2, and he asked a bit about Selina Kyle. As the player, you know the relationship Bruce Wayne has with Selina. Yet, you can make the choice to make Harvey think Selina still feels for him. Again, slippery slope here folks. What you say to Harvey will probably come back to bite you in the ass, not to mention you begin to see how Harvey may slowly shift into his Two-Face persona.
After the interaction with Dent, you are called off by the brand new Bat-Signal. It appears Lt. Gordon has constructed a new way to get a hold of the Bat’s attention. A quick conversation with James Gordon, starts the relationship between the two, and plants the seeds for them working together in the future. After you help save some of his men, the night is over.
The next day we head to Wayne Towers. As Bruce walks in the building, you immediately notice the glares on the publics face due to the revelations about his father, Thomas Wayne. The board is going to vote that day what they should do with Bruce Wayne, and they feel he should step down. And even with all this going on, Bruce is concerned with the Children of Arkham, and the cities demise. It really is a testament to how TellTale has written this version of Bruce Wayne. It's this scene that we meet Lucius Fox. (Side note: Voiced by none other than Dave Fennoy! Yep, TellTale has tapped back into his talents to voice another character for them. If you're a fan of their Walking Dead series, he was Lee in the first game). Then, the board votes for him to resign. To make matters worse, his replacement his Oswald Cobblepot!
Back at the Batcave, where we do some of our best detective work, we discover the Children of Arkham have somehow hacked into some Wayne Tech. They are using this to spy on Gotham City Police Department to know every move going on in the city. This hacking includes having bugs in the new mayor’s office. That new mayor is Harvey Dent. We rush off to warn Dent, and reveals the burned side of his face. Not only that, but his split personality, Two-Face, shows as he talks to himself and speaks of violent ideas.
We are lead to a train depot for a detective-style scene. Like the previous two episodes, where you link items of evidence to piece the puzzle together. The puzzles are not difficult, but still, it's a neat way to figure out what the Children of Arkham have planned. Thankfully, this leads to the only intense action of the game.
A train arrives with the CoA and their mysterious leader from the end of the last episode. Though they are not alone. Out walks Catwoman! What!? Has she been working with them all along!? It doesn't seem like she is doing this of her own free will. You expose yourself, and a fight breaks out. After some QuickTime Events, you have bested the villains… for now. This mysterious leader is rad. He moves around with ease, almost like a gymnast. I won't lie. Batman receives quite the ass-whooping. Luckily, Catwoman is there to save him.
The next scene is definitely for a mature audience, depending how you view sex scenes. Oh yeah, you read that right… sex. If the cursing and bloodshed wasn't a sign this was a different type of Batman medium, then this scene should do it for you. Funny note: as you get to make the choices to pursue having sex, you get the same amount of chances to stop it from happening. Looking back at it, that may have been a hint for the future, but Batman deserves to get laid every once in a while too… right? Anyways, next morning Harvey is at the door. The events that follow further push Dent to succumb to the villain we all know him to be.
Finally, like the episodes before it, this one ends on quite the cliffhanger. We are once again forced in front of the public as Bruce Wayne. It's the press conference to hand over his company to Cobblepot. Players get the choice to do it with professional courtesy or slander Oswald's name. Again, this is how Telltale shows off the dynamic character of Bruce Wayne. It's truly letting players pick how the public perceives Bruce. We get the options to make him more than a boring "trust fund playboy", options that will continue to build the Bruce Wayne you've always wanted. That "wicked" twist I was talking about earlier pops its head up here. We discover the mysterious leader of the Children of Arkham's name. He goes by Lady Arkham, so he is a she! And she is Vikki Vale! Wow, what a plot twist. I have to say, I did not see that coming. My jaw was halfway to the floor. Damn Telltale! This is turning out to be one hell of a story.
Overall, I continue to fall more in love with this type of Batman story. That has a lot to do with the incredible writing, and storytelling. The voice acting was the at the highest quality yet. Troy Baker (Batman), Laura Bailey (Catwoman), and Dave Fennoy (Lucius Fox) absolutely delivered in this episode. This is a bigger testament to Telltale in making sure they have the best voice actors in the business to back such a giant title. As far as the story goes. The choices are getting harder and harder to make. Towards the end each choice left me second guessing myself. The big plot twist and elaborate story lines have their hooks in me even deeper. Stay tuned for the final two episodes over the next couple of months. See you around nerds!