The end is nigh. We have reached the final episode of Telltale’s slightly disappointing Batman series. Bruce Wayne’s life is absolute hell now. Alienated by those he loved, trying to unsully the Wayne name, all while trying to get to the bottom of one of Gotham’s biggest mysteries…just who exactly are the Children of Arkham? Will Batman save Gotham? Will Bruce Wayne pick his family name out of the trash? Episode 5 ‘City of Light’ has all the answers… or does it?
The excitement started quickly, as does the gameplay. It’s the final episode and I want to get in as much action as I can, but action isn’t everything. As usual, the episode was written very well. The story stayed suspenseful and above all else, fun and exciting. We get a nice endearing look into the childhood friendship of Bruce Wayne and Oswald Cobblepot. It adds a nice element to the rivalry between the two.
Leading up to the climactic duel there is a really cool fight that borrows the awesome mechanics from Batman’s crime solving ‘mini-game’. The fight allows you to plan out every move in the considerably large brawl and then act them out with a series a button prompts. This sort of thing is what makes this a fun series. The Batman parts, the unique combat. I just wished that we would have seen more of it throughout the series.
The end featured an amazingly epic final battle between Batman and ‘Lady Arkham’. The fight was a lot of fun and is exactly what this whole season should have been like. There was an amazing score this episode, but the music playing in the background just added to the thrill of the fight.
Speaking of the score, the entire series was backed by some really great music by Jared Emerson-Johnson who actually composes a lot for Telltale. The music did a lot to set the mood for a lot of the scenes and even in the main menu. One piece in particular that I liked the most was the one that played throughout the whole season that was very reminiscent to parts of the Rohirrim theme from the Lord of the Rings.
Overall I did enjoy this series, even if it sounds like I didn’t. This season tried things that a lot of the other Batman mediums seemed too scared to or deemed unnecessary. They took characters, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth specifically, and humanized them, they made Bruce Wayne represent something more than just snobby billionaire/Batman and they made Alfred more than just a trusty butler. It’s great that they didn’t take the easy route and just wrote what’s already been done.
The glitches weren’t as often in this episode, but they were still present. The ones that bother me the most are the framerate drops. It happens way too often and it’s starting to give me headaches. I don’t want headaches while I’m playing my Batman games. The load freezes are almost as bad. It really takes me out of a fight if the game freezes to load while Batman is in the middle of his duck and roll. During the climactic fight, my game froze to load about 7-8 times. Don’t forget the sketchy character models. Sliding around while their legs stay perfectly still, convulsing rapidly while they walk. Oh, you didn’t think I saw the guy sliding back and forth in the background Telltale? I saw him.
There were parts where I’m sure audio was missing. For instance, a part where Selina tosses a gadget to Bruce at a considerable distance and there was no sound at all when it hit Bruce’s hand. It was very odd. Staying on the topic of audio, I don’t know if Telltale’s sound department is napping through the editing process, but the audio sync has been horrendous this season. It’ll be fine from anywhere to 10 minutes to half an episode, and then it would get out of sync (usually during a framerate drop).
Lastly, 90% of the time you can just put the controller down and watch this GAME as if it were a movie. The button prompts almost always don’t matter, the choices always almost don’t matter. Frankly I’m getting sick of Telltale telling us that our choices shape the game. They don’t. Telltale’s games (at least lately) seem to be stuck on a very tight script with very little leeway for change apart from the major story divergence.
The season is over. Will they make another one? Hopefully. They left us a pretty huge open ended cliffhanger. But knowing Telltale it’ll either never happen, or if it does it won’t be for years to come. I’m not trying to pick apart this series, it’s just a lot easier to pick out the bad than the good. The story is part of the good and it’s a huge part and I believe it does outweigh the bad. I loved the story, it was expertly paced and remained relevant throughout. Unfortunately the bugs took a lot out of the game for me. But still, the story is worth experiencing, so whether you buy it digitally or physically, I’d definitely say check it out. The first episode is now free on Steam.