By: Nick Schifani
Episode 5: City of Light
How's it going everybody!? This week the final episode of the Telltale Batman series launched. While, I'm sad to know it's over, I am glad to see how it all ends. I've been on pins and needles for weeks playing out different scenarios of how it all ends. Who lives? Who dies? Will Bruce Wayne/Batman's image ever be the same? These are the questions I couldn't wait to have answered, so I jumped right into the game. As always I would love to know everyone's opinions about the game. So, drop a comment at the bottom, or hit me up on Twitter @WebHeadNick86 or @Nerd_901. I hope everyone who played this game enjoyed it as much as I did! Let's do this!
**WARING! MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW**
We start where the city has been become damn near warzone. After Dent blew up a city block, everyone is in a panic. Our pal, Cobblepot, isn't helping. He has sent out tons of drones and Children of Arkham thugs to start taking over the city. Batman drops into a fight to help stop thugs from killing some hostages. One of those hostages is the current police commissioner. Batman helps out, but it's too late. The commissioner is shot and in his dying moments he turns to Batman. He knows that Batman is the only person that can stop all this madness.
I like what the writers of this episode did for this episode. They helped set up the public seeing the dying commissioner turn to Batman for help. Maybe it had to do with how I have played through the story. Like, I have said in the past, I have not been a brutal Batman. Since I haven't been so brutal that could cause why the commissioner put so much faith in me. Whatever the reasoning, this will help with Batman's image with the public. Basically saying if the police commissioner can put his faith in Batman, why can't the rest of the city.
After some detective work we find out where Cobblepot is currently hiding. He is at Cobblepot Park, and he has the device that controls all the drone in the city. This was one of my favorite parts of the whole series. It had a little bit of everything. We got to work with James Gordon, have a intriguing conversation with Oswald, and got to save the city. And here is the kicker…we got to do that all as Bruce Wayne!! I have enjoyed every aspect of playing as Bruce Wayne in this game. Therefore, when this game allows the player to do meaningful work as Bruce Wayne, it truly is a joy to me. The more chances I get to play as Bruce Wayne the better.
This game could not end without addressing Selina Kyle. We had to have known there was going to be a spot in this episode that we tie up all loose ends. Selina would most certainly be a huge loose end. We catch Selina trying to skip town with some Bat-tech. This is a perfect set up to allow some serious dialogue between Bruce and Selina. After some back and forth banter, we ultimately get to decide how we want to end our relationship with Selina…for now. I chose to stick with showing Selina how I care for her. She tried to convince Bruce that she was only in it for the long con. We were allowed the choices of calling her out on her BS. Most Batman fans know how to let this relationship play out. Selina and Bruce are forever a couple in my mind. After a kiss goodbye we see Selina ride off. I thought this was a great way to get her out of the way for now and let us focus back at the matter at hand. Vicki Vale aka Lady Arkham.
Lady Arkahm has invaded Wayne Manor and taking Alfred captive. Of course, she has no clue Bruce Wayne is Batman. Clearly, she has no idea that taking the butler would royally piss of Bruce. We track her to her old foster house. The same house she murdered her foster parents. After some quick detective work we figure out why she killed them in the first place. It was all driven by hate. She was beaten and tortured as a child. Those people who were suppose to lover her locked her in a small room. There Lady Arkham was eventually born, fueled by hate and the thought of revenge. All of this was a nice touch for us to discover why Vicki was so troubled. In this room are some clues that lead us to certain place. Of course, that place is Arkham Asylum where Lady Arkham has Alfred.
Lady Arkham has her master plan in full swing. Children of Arkham thugs have taking control of the facility, and are moments away from releasing all the inmates. We show up to put a stop to all of this. But, we are a little too late. The inmates are let loose. This leads to another fun planned action sequences. We link different inmates to certain spots around the area, choosing one of two ways to dispose of them. It all leads us to cornering Vicki Vale, and the second we think we have her caught she turns the tables on us with a seismic blast from her staff.
Our adventure continues in the tombs of the asylum. Naturally, a Batman game would have us in a deep, dark place. Right before the final battle we are faced with what may be the biggest decisions of the series. Lady Arkahm has her staff faced towards Alfred. We are given two decisions. Take off the mask or attack Vicki. This may be a huge decision, but it sure as hell was an easy one for me. I knew I HAD to take my mask off. This left her a bit stunned, and vulnerable. I was too worried that if I chose to attack her it would have ended with half of Alfred's head blown off. I don't know about you, but last time I checked I kind of need all of my head attached. In the end I felt like I made the right choice. Mainly, because by the time the final battle ended I wasn't going to have to worry about Vicki Vale exposing my secret identity. She was going to take that to her grave as she was crushed by the tomb falling apart on her.
The game ends with a press conference being held by new police commissioner, James Gordon. We have the option to show up as either Batman or Bruce Wayne. Can you guess who I went as? That's right, Bruce Wayne. Like I've said before, I was always going to play this game as a Bruce Wayne story. We've seen so many Batman stories over the past decade or two. I was given the opportunity to tell a Bruce Wayne story, so I took it. I've always thought that Gotham needed Bruce Wayne in it's corner just as much as Batman. That's why at this press conference I was given another chance to boost Wayne's public image. Bruce wants to put some of his Wayne money to use. We have to choose between putting it into the police force or into Arkham Asylum. Again, this felt like another one that I HAD to do. I gave the money to the police force. I knew I HAD to put some distance between the Wayne name and Arkham. Thomas Wayne committed so many awful tragedies at that place; it only made since to no longer have the Wayne name attached to it.
Overall, this game was outstanding. Telltale hit a home run with this one. It told an incredible Batman story. A story that put a brand new spin on the Batman lure we once knew. Going into this game I expected a normal run-of-the-mill Batman story with the Telltale flare. Instead, we got something totally unexpected. We got a story where the Wayne's weren't beloved by everyone. Thomas Wayne was evil doctor that deemed humans his own personal experiments, and because of this Bruce's image was tarnished. I enjoyed the times I had to spend mending his image. It felt different and new. Of course, a Telltale game wouldn't be a Telltale game with it's issue running the game. The engine for the game would often drop frame rates or the sync was off. Nothing was too terrible until this last episode. In the final scenes of the game there were literal invisible humans fighting one another. At one point there was just a pair of eyes floating around the room. It's truly inexcusable. The ridiculousness of it all took a bit away from the game. During the final fight, the game desperately wanted to crash on me. By some miracle it never did, but I've heard of other plays complaining that the game crashed two or three times during this fight. I love you Telltalle, but you have to fix this soon! Besides this issue, this game was nothing outside of amazing. I will most certainly go back to it and play it a different way. I want to see what the other approaches would cause to happen. What if I played as a more brutal Batman? What if I was a less empathic Bruce Wayne? I want to see what that type of game play would have meant for me in the long run. In the end, this game was everything I wanted it to be and more. There is no doubt in my mind this game is one of the best I played all year. Most certainly a top ten for 2016!