Reviews: Batman The Telltale Series
A fantastic series that\'s really missing an episode.
The first three-and-a-half episodes of this series are fantastic. It really works, not only in terms of putting interesting twists on the traditional Bat-mythos, but in terms of letting the player really roleplay what kind of Batman they want to be. And the options are there whether, like me, you want to play Batman as a compassionate, fundamentally-good figure who uses terror, not brutality, as a weapon against crime and wants to help the people he puts away as much as he wants to stop them, or whether you're more of a fan of the Miller-Ellis-Ennis-Millar-esque unhinged, rage-driven psycho barely better than the criminals he fights. I really enjoyed not only plotting my own fight scenes, but emphasizing how Bruce Wayne is also important, maneuvering politically to try to help the city. And the writing really does a good job of selling the relationships in Bruce's life: with Alfred, Harvey, Selina, even minor characters like Vale and Penguin. The voice acting is great, and often heartfelt. The ending is also fantastic. It dips just enough into deeper questions about Batman and why he does what he does to be compelling without being overblown or hackneyed. The final confrontations with the three main villains were all extremely compelling, and sold the importance of defeating them for the good of Gotham. Even the Joker's cameo is one of the better uses of the character in recent memory. Unfortunately, in-between... Without giving too much away, at the start of Part 4, Bruce is at his lowest point. His resources are slipping into the hands of his enemies, who are using them to terrorize the city, a friend is cracking under the strain of the situation and making things worse, and he's been thrown into Arkham Asylum on a trumped-up charge. The beginning, in which he encounters some of his future rogues gallery and meets "John Doe" for the first time, and the ending, in which he starts making strides to fix the situation, are both compelling, but... ...Well, there really does feel like there's an episode missing in-between, one that could set up the stakes a bit better by showing his enemies turning his tech on the innocent and abusing his wealth for their own ends. And, without spoiling too much, one character's long-telegraphed heel turn goes way too far, way too fast, without nearly enough connective tissue between where he was in Episode 3 and where he is when he reappears in Episode 4. The science behind the villain's Psycho Serum is also stupid (bonding to the DNA? Really?), inconsistent (Montoya's system flushes with time, but Bruce requires an antidote), and reeks of trying to make an excuse for the abruptness of that heel turn. Again, the vast majority of this series is a tremendous artistic success, and a very entertaining few hours of video game. But it really needed a whole episode between the middle and end of Part 4 to fully serve the story they were trying to tell.