By: Nick Schifani
Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham
How's it going everybody?! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hopefully you spent time with beloved friends and family. The holiday week didn’t stop Telltale from dropping Episode 4 of their ongoing Batman series. Naturally, I jumped right into it. But, because of the holiday I decided to hold off on the review. Well, holiday's over sucka! Here is the review! Enjoy!
**MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW**
We start with Bruce Wayne in a jailed room. We quickly discover that he has been sent to Arkham. Why you ask? Well thanks to Vikki Vale aka Lady Arkham, she drugged you at the end of the last episode. That caused Bruce to go all UFC on Cobblepot's punk ass. It's not long that we meet "John Doe", who is actually The Joker. Of course with the way that Telltale is telling this story of Batman, Joker isn't the bad guy we all know….yet. Joker saves Bruce from taking a beating from some pissed off inmates. The next few minutes is back and forth with this Joker. After my interactions with Joker I felt a little disappointed.
I can appreciate what Telltale was trying to do here with Joker. Or at least their attempt on him. How do you have a Batman game and not include the Clown Prince!? It feels like leaving him out could have been a mistake. Except, the mistake here was shoehorning Joker into their Batman story. It feels like they put Joker in for the "fans". He doesn’t serve a purpose to this game or story at all. Having Joker be the bridge to some senseless character-building falls flat and ingenuine. By the end of our time with him, he unfortunately feels wasted.
Bruce is able to get out of Arkham by is family lawyers. You know rich people stuff. Bruce finds himself in an altercation with some of Gotham's police force. What occurs here is a part of this series that really gets on my nerves. You get a chance to save face. Yet, when you reply to the question, it seems like it was a predetermined answer. It shows off the full affects of the drug that are still coursing through Wayne's veins. It causes him to get angry and he looks like an ass. It was upsetting to see I really didn’t have a hand in this. I have a specific way I want to play as Wayne and Batman. So, when something like this happens it gets on my nerves. I wanted to get through this altercation without looking like a dick head. I suppose that wasn't an option after all.
I've said before that I enjoy the detective modes in the series. I know I am in the minority with that statement. The main argument about those detective parts of the game, is it's way too simple. It does feel like a "connect the dots" game. So. I understand why it gets on most people's nerves. Though, for me I welcome the simplicity. This isn't a game that I am going into yearning for hard puzzle solving. This is a Telltale game folks. Not Uncharted or Tomb Raider. IF you came to this game for the puzzles, you should have known better.
It's evident that some of the choices you've made as Batman in the previous episodes weigh in on this one. During a key part of the episode you come across a small boy that is already frightened. Depending on how you have handled your Batman can cause the boy to become even more scared of you. If you have been a violent Batman it will cause the child to damn near pee his pants when he sees you. Luckily, for me I have been the Batman I envisioned, which is a little less violent. So, when I came across the boy he was not scared of me. It truly made me feel great about the decisions I've made in the past and how I've molded my Batman into the hero I've always known.
Lastly, this episode has what could be the most impact of all the decisions I think we have seen thus far. There comes a point where Batman needs to either go to Wayne Enterprise or back home. At Wayne Enterprise, Penguin is tapping into all of Bat-tech. It won't be too long until he could have control of the entire tech. Though, back at Wayne Manor Two-Face and some thugs have showed up to burn it to the ground. Of course, Alfred is there all alone. The player has to make the choice to either go to WE to stop Penguin from commandeering your Batman's tech, or go home to stop Two-Face. It was an incredibly hard choice, but in the end I knew what I had to do. I had to go home. Tech be damned. I'm Bruce Wayne I can always replace tech. But, I can never replace Alfred. He is the only family you have left. I knew I couldn't let Two-Face possible hurt ole' Pennyworth. The other decision is what to do with Dent after you have taking him out. Do you send him to Blackgate, where the same criminals are sent? Or do you send him to Arkham where you know his weak mind could get worse. Ultimately, I decided on Blackgate. Knowing who is currently residing at Arkham, I felt it was best to keep Dent away from those maniacs. I'm sure we will see in the last episode if that was the right choice.
While this episode may have been the weakest, it certainly left me wondering if any of my choices were correct. Other than how I I spoke to the child, I never quite felt at ease with any of my decisions. Even knowing I HAD to save my house and Alfred, there was a small part of me that felt like having my tech controlled by Cobblepot could be worse. What endless possibilities of terror does Penguin now possess with Bat-tech in his hands? Did ramming the police barricade as Bruce Wayne hurt my image more? Did I send Harvey to the wrong imprisonment? These are all questions I asked myself as the credits rolled. And by the look of how the rest of the gamers around the world decided, I was in the minority. These questions alone should show any average gamer what they are missing out on with Telltale's Batman story. The final episode is not too far ahead. Make sure to keep come back one more time to see how all this madness plays out!