What was it I said at the beginning of this series? I said I hoped the fact that Troy Baker was voicing Batman didn’t mean that they would have him voicing Joker as well. Not because he was a bad Joker in Arkham Origins, (he was actually quite good), it’s just that Joker tends to overshadow anything he’s in and I would love to have just one Batman game without him. And I was right! He’s not voiced by Troy Baker, he’s voiced by one Anthony Ingruber. Fortunately, they have him just long enough to make an impact but it doesn’t seem like he’ll overshadow the rest of the game so I still get my partial wish.
Unfortunately, the brevity of the Arkham segment was slightly disappointing. More than any other place in the Bat mythos Arkham is perhaps the most important. Beautifully symbolizing the apparent futility of Batman’s mission as it’s a crumbling Gothic hell hole with terrible security, and never seems to actually help anybody. The brief tour we get of the place is with our demented tour guide of Joker or as he’s currently known John Doe. Mr. Ingruber does a respectable job as the future Clown Prince of Crime, though he comes off as an unhinged Weird Al at points. His only real purpose is to give you information on the Children of Arkham before Alfred bails you out.
From there we see Bruce Wayne’s life continue to fall apart and that’s where some of the most compelling material comes from. His tech is compromised with Cobblepot messing with it, Harvey Dent is seizing Bruce Wayne’s assets (because in Gotham mayors are kings and laws are meaningless), meanwhile the Children of Arkham continue to destroy Bruce’s public persona even as they plot to destroy the city. It’s difficult to make a character like Batman a handsome, genius, billionaire, martial arts extraordinaire relatable, but Telltale have done a commendable job with that part of the story with the nonstop assault on all parts of his life.
In fact, nearing the end we finally seem to have choices with some weight behind them. I’ve seen both endings and they both take a major villain off the board but require Bruce to lose something important. In that sense this is one of the better episodes in the series as I actually felt like my choices made a difference. In contrast, episodes one’s final choice had no discernible impact whatsoever, episode two gave me a neutered villain, and there wasn’t even much of a final choice at all in episode three.
The gameplay is still nothing new although the compromised tech means no planning out your battle which I didn’t mind as it made it feel like you were a compromised Batman forced to improvise. The investigation scene was solid and continues to be one of the darker parts of the story even though this one led to a more heartwarming moment involving a child who suffers a severe case of murdered parents syndrome. Overall a very good episode that will hopefully lead to an extraordinary finale