The third episode of Telltale’s the Batman game manages to get quite a bit done. Rather than being a placeholder leading up to the climax, it lets us see the new villain in action, adds more layers to the Cat and the Bat dynamic, and has a fantastic ending that puts our Batman in one of the worst positions imaginable which will hopefully lead to a wonderful character study before the most certainly explosive finale. But, it’s not without some major flaws.
For one thing the detective system still isn’t anywhere near as difficult as or interesting as it could be. You still play connect the dots as you walk around a room looking for anything interactable. Also, none of my decisions seem to have had any significant impact on the story. In fact, when I wanted to talk to reporter Vicki Vale as Bruce Wayne (since I take every opportunity to play as Bruce) but, Bruce decides to go as Batman since Vale wouldn’t talk to Bruce as he hadn’t been very helpful.
Since I gave Vicki the corrupt cop date (a decision which has had no discernible impact whatsoever) and gave her information about the police station incident from last episode, and agreed to an interview with her I thought surely that must have been a glitch. So I restarted the chapter, picked a different dialogue option and nope! Bruce gives a different excuse and goes to do his interview as Batman. Than there’s the next mixed bag of Two-Face.
Before you cry out SPOILORS in rage, I would counter that this is a Batman story and only one fate awaits a Harvey Dent in a Batman story. Though if you somehow didn’t know about that, I apologize and welcome you to the wonderful world of Batman! But anyway, it doesn’t matter whether you prevented Harvey Dent’s injury in the last episode he still becomes bad. I appreciated that if he has no scarring on his face the left side of his face still contorts into the general shape when he’s in Two-Face mode as it was a clever trick with the still stylish artwork. His general descent into madness is well written and tragic, particularly the final scene as he wrestles for control against his other half. However, without the scarred side of his face I just don’t feel like I’m getting the full effect. I guess I’m just superficial like that.
Fortunately, the leader of the Children of Arkham gets an effective fight scene showcasing how he is a viable threat against Batman armed with his own gadgets and gizmos. Penguin remains a love to hate ponce that you just want to punch in the face (and can!). The relationship you can develop with Selina Kyle is a well-written one and seeing how other people treated the situations with her gave me a chuckle. But again, none of my choices so far truly seem to have much impact. I can’t help but compare it to Telltale’s Walking dead games where for the most part the game’s story was inevitable. But you could truly affect certain character relationships and aspects of the events to give them a different meaning. Maybe Telltale can only make meaningful decisions when somebody dies?
Regardless of these flaws, the story is still engaging as Bruce Wayne’s world falls apart around him. The voice acting remains solid and I am completely invested in the story. I just wish my choices had more significant impact because as it stands, the most impact my choices have given me are Two-Face scenes that feel neutered and the secretary I was nice to in the last episode smiled at me.