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04/30/2018 11:42:28 •••

Season 1 Vs Season 2

[UPDATED] There’s no comparison. Just go get Season 2!

To elaborate. Season 1 of Tell Tale’s Batman is an okay experience, but the limitations of Tell Tale’s tight schedule means the episodes are often unpolished, the animations and character models a little too glass eyed and unconvincing, and any attempt of serious drama fails to hit home. I did have some fun with Season 1, though most of it was derived from the game providing me with opportunities to bully the District Attorney, Mayor hopeful, and latent villain Harvey Dent. Dent is ostensibly Bruce Wayne’s best friend, but in game I shut him out of important conversations, spitefully push him around, and at one point even stole his girlfriend. If there was an opportunity to take his lunch money, I’d do that too.

If I play like a prat, it`s because I’m not completely engaged with the story, which in this case puts some interesting obstacles in Bruce Wayne`s way but knocks them down again. You end up locked up in the Arkham Insane Asylum at one point – GASP! – only to get released again later that morning – sigh –. You never feel the stakes, and even the characters are lacklustre. Penguin is just a rogue with a bad cockney accent and an inexplicable penguin mask. Harvey Dent/Two Face is a big lug who develops a murderous split personality over the course of a week. Catwoman is finely voiced, but romance with her results in some terribly animated kissing and sexy times.

Season 2 fixes a lot of the basic mechanics, with cooler fight scenes and conversation dynamics. People have gotten wise to Telltale’s foreboding “He will remember that!” lines, so they’ve moved the focus onto broader character relationships, where you can see the long term consequences of what you have said to them. It also has a vastly more exciting tale, focused around Bruce infiltrating a gang of A-list Batman villains. These guys have all been lovingly re-imagined. I never thought I would be interested in yet another portrayal of Joker and Harley Quinn, but here the game makes them into completely fresh characters by reversing the traditional comicbook/cartoon series dynamic: Quinn is the domineering bully and the Joker is the naďve people-pleaser who gets pushed around. You feel so sorry for the Joker, the loveable, love sick loser, that a lot of players will find themselves putting the city's safety on hold so that they can devote themselves to protecting the scamp. Now those are stakes.

I also had fun being mean to Commissioner Gordon too. He seems like the only person in Gotham to not immediately figure out who Batman is (Catwoman figures it out the moment she sees Bruce). I picture Gordon inviting both men to dinner, and not noticing anything odd about Bruce disappearing off to the bathroom whenever Batman comes in to start eating. He shouldn’t be the chief of police. Police incompetence aside, I’ve found it the most invigorating Tell Tale game I’ve played since The Wolf Among Us.

02/13/2018 00:00:00

...Aaaaaand, my certainty in our drastically-divergent tastes making our reviews mutually-useless to one another beyond pure entertainment value is firmly cemented with a review-long celebration of Video Game Cruelty Potential. Whelp.

Yes, I know you raise other points too, and no, I don't necessarily disagree with most of them, that stupid bit about Gordon being an idiot because he didn't notice something that literally one other character in the entire series noticed, and therefore deserves some gratuitous cruelty aside. But it does throw into sharp relief an essential taste difference, namely, that you kinda like edgy, mean-spirited stuff and think that those things add intrinsic value rather than inherently detract from it, and I think the opposite.

02/13/2018 00:00:00

Of course it depends on the game, but playing as a jerk is a lot of fun sometimes. I have a lot of problems with the premise of Batman and see him as a fundamentally fascist character, so he might as well overtly be a dick to people too.

(also, by my count, at least three characters figure out who Batman is in the series, none of whom have had the benefit of working alongside both versions of Bruce for years. Also also, a more capable police chief wouldn't depend on a costumed vigilante to lower crime rates).

02/13/2018 00:00:00

I know you addressed it and stuff but I still think it\'s a bit iffy to write a review before the season is over. They could still pull a Bioware and retroactively ruin the entire game.

Also, that wall of text is pretty brutal on PC (I don\'t even want to think about what it\'s like on a smart phone). It\'s weird seeing a reviewer I respect engage in such infantile grammatical conduct ;)

02/14/2018 00:00:00

I\'ll probably update the review after it comes out, but the word count is a bit unkind and I want to keep in all my bad jokes.

02/14/2018 00:00:00

The first paragraph talks about season 1, the second about season 2, then a sort of conclusion at the end. What exactly is \"grammatically infantile\" about it?

02/14/2018 00:00:00

I have to agree with the Bastard, I normally try to have more and shorter paragraphs to make the whole thing more readable. I once wrote for a newspaper that wouldn\'t let you write more than 25 words per paragraph (aka, one sentence paragraphs).

04/24/2018 00:00:00

\"i see Batman as a fundamentally fascist character so in a game about creating a personalized version of Batman i\'m going to play him as fascist and jerkish as possible.\" okay you do you buddy.

04/26/2018 00:00:00

Well the alternative is to play him as a `nice guy`, in the hope that this overshadows him being an extrajudicial vigilante billionaire who tries to solve crime by beating up impoverished and mentally ill criminals, whilst turning a blind eye to the criminals he happens to fancy. Picking the conscientious options might make him superficially kinder, but that's about it.

So yes, me do me.

04/26/2018 00:00:00

Look man. If you hate Batman as a character and a concept, that’s absolutely your right as a consumer and a human being and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But you *are* critiquing a piece of media centered around Batman, and a tiny bit of disclosure there might be nice is all. The way I include acknowledgement in any reviews of Punisher or Garth Ennis related material of my dislike of both. Just so my audience knows they’re getting a non-fan’s perspective and we all know where we stand.

That said, I applaud the update. It sheds more light on other aspects of the first season you didn't enjoy.

04/27/2018 00:00:00

To be fair, that point you made with Catwoman is optional, in this game at least. I personally never bought the Bat/Cat romance so i never did that option. plus bro code. What about those non impoverished and mentally sound criminals Batman does beat? Like those mercenaries in ep 1? Falcone? Penguin? Lady Arkham? Also picking the conscientious options make him superficially kinder? So choosing not to torture that guy in ep 1 still shows Batman is fascist? and taking the time to comfort a kid who just lost his adopted parents is superficial? For a guy who views Batman as fundamentally fascist you seem to enjoy playing a fascist Batman in a game where you can make your own Batman.

04/28/2018 00:00:00

The alternative to not torturing someone is for Batman to threaten to break his bones with a pipe until he submits. That is superficial kindness (and yes, still fascist). Comic books have this delusional belief that as long as you don't kill or severely injure someone, everything else is fair game, hence why there also isn't really an option to send Catwoman to jail even though she is a professional thief and a thug. As long as she doesn't kill people like the "real" bad guys, I guess she is fine.

Incidentally, this is also why season two is better; Bruce Wayne has to literally act like a criminal, and struggles with the realisation that he is culpable. Meanwhile, Waller is threatening to expose and imprison him the entire time, because he actually is a criminal, and she is happy to point it out.

04/28/2018 00:00:00

People throw the word fascist around too much these days, i feel the word has sort of lost meaning. It's a line for people to put down popular culture especially comic books, while trying to look intelligent and subsequently making the people who like the media in question look bad or dumb for supporting this sort of media.

Hypothetically if Batman was a cop in that scenario and he threatened the guy for information would it still be fascist? is it suddenly okay to interrogate him if he had actual authority? And somehow choosing to restrain yourself and not torturing a guy who just murdered a warehouse is superficially kind?

And it's not like the game approves of you beating him violently, Alfred will call you out if you do that, Gordon threatens to cut ties with you if you're keep acting violent, a cop will bring this up later on ETC. That point about Catwoman loses weight, since in S2, you actually do have the option to allow Gordon attempt to arrest her. And kick her out of the house if you want. And ask Waller to arrest her in the Villain Finale, or leave her on the Squad in the Vigilante Finale. and even in S1, even if you can't arrest her, you do still have the option of not supporting her and warning her the next time she pulls a robbery in Gotham, she won't get off easy. If you payed more attention to the dialogue, it's clear the only reason why Batman can't arrest her if you choose to go down that route, is not because she's portrayed as " okay because she doesn't kill like REAL bad guys " it's because he's in a stalemate with her because she knows who he is and vice-versa.

04/28/2018 00:00:00

\"Hypothetically if Batman was a cop in that scenario and he threatened the guy for information would it still be fascist? is it suddenly okay to interrogate him if he had actual authority? And somehow choosing to restrain yourself and not torturing a guy who just murdered a warehouse is superficially kind?\"

Especially yes. The fascism part is the excessive and unaccounted authority and power given to the cop - in progressive, democratic countries, generally speaking the police aren\'t allowed to purposefully terrify or threaten suspects with injury or death just to get answers. Also, whilst Batman\'s peers disapprove of him torturing people, that\'s pretty small beer; come back to me when they arrest him on the spot and jail him on torture and terrorism charges.

04/28/2018 00:00:00

Well during season 1 GCPD does spend a lot of time attempting to arrest him so does that count? Batman is illegal yes, and that fact is acknowledged repeatedly by characters but outright fascist? No. Batman does not actually have excessive authority. Batman does not attempt forcibly exert his will on Gotham as a dictator. You may call it delusional but the fact that Batman and most superheroes have a moral code such as not killing at all makes the fundamentally fascist argument fall apart, since fascism involves unlimited unrestrained authority on the people. At no point does Batman attempt to force his political will on the people of Gotham like Lady Arkham or abuse authority like Mayor Hill who is more of a fascist than Batman could ever be.

Violent coercion is not enough to call someone a fascist. What makes someone or governments fascist is the combination of violence, nationalism, and totalitarianism. Fascism leaves no room for anything that opposes it. If say Batman physically attacked reporters like the ones in ep 1 or Jack Ryder for criticizing him or criticizing Gotham or America then he would be fascist but he does not at ANY point in the game.

Lastly Batman has a secret identity, which is contrary to the ideals of Fascism which by definition destroys the line between public and private life, since privacy is a threat to Fascism. Hell Bruce can even retire as Batman in an attempt to help Alfred with his PTSD, not what i'd call a fascist.

Yes Batman causes collateral damage and that is bad, but he's hardly a fascist dictator, you don't like Batman that's fine and your right as a citizen as Spectral Time states but if you are going to criticize him at least use valid reasons, like " i don't like that Batman is an illegal Vigilante, or i think a man who beats up criminals in his pants is silly " or " Batman is fundamentally individualist rationalist and i don't like that " not throw tired ones like " Batman is inherently fascist. "

04/30/2018 00:00:00

If you go by that specific definition of fascism, then no, Batman isn\'t a nationalist tyrant. But by a more common, colloquial use he certainly is. He\'s the most powerful person in Gotham, near untouchable and unaccountable to anyone else, using privacy violating technological surveillance, military grade equipment to fight street thugs, and fear as means to satisfy a self-defined form of justice. No one elected Batman in this capacity, no one gets to say to him \"you can\'t that\" and successfully stop him. The guy just picks his targets, takes over the police operation, and smashes his way into places and people without writ. The word \"bully\" just doesn\'t quite cover it.

Also, and I think this is more important, me saying there are conceptual problems with Batman isn\'t the same as me saying \"I don\'t like Batman\". This was all to explain why I think it makes sense in my head to play Batman as a jerk.

04/30/2018 00:00:00

By "common,Colloquial use" you mean misused. By your definitions Batman is more individualist rationalist or Objectivist. As i said in an earlier post, i feel the word Fascist is being thrown out and misused repeatedly that the meaning is starting to lose itself. I'm just saying we need to name threats to democracy correctly otherwise we will have trouble combating them.

In the grand scheme of things, Batman is a glorified private citizen, he does not actually have political power in Gotham. He doesn't write laws to combat crime nor does he appoint people to office. Gordon has more power than him and while you've made your opinion of his competence very clear, Batman very clearly needs his cooperation. Every time Batman takes part in police operations, he often has to get approval from a higher authority like Gordon or in this game Waller, he never directly takes over police operations just because he's Batman. In fact, back in S1 Grogan calls Batman out on trespassing on police grounds and contaminating the crime scene and Batman sulkily leaves without any violent reprisal. Why Grogan didn't try to arrest Batman then and there is a debate for another time but that is proof Batman is not the most powerful man in Gotham. Physically and Financially? Yes. Politically? No.

And another misused term, Bully? i know casual observers like to snarkily point out Batman beats up poor people and the mentally ill, but that's a shallow criticism at best. Batman does not beat people up just because they are poor or because they are mentally ill, he does it because they are actively threatening innocent people. You've done a jerk run, tell me is there an option to beat up poor people just because it's fun and the person in question hasn't done anything illegal or evil? No? well there you go. Take it from someone who's had a terrible schooling experience, Batman may be brutal and illegal but he doesn't torture people just because it's fun. He's brutal to people who would prey on the weak for entertainment, that's not the same as bullying. Also " Picks his targets?" By his very nature, Batman is a purely reactionary force. For example in S1 Bruce is aware that Oswald and his bad accent have a history in crime in ep 1 but he can't actually beat him up, because Penguin hasn't actually done anything illegal on Gotham grounds. It's only in ep 2 when Penguin is actively committing terrorism that Batman is able to punch him.

And this is also important, i threw that part in as a sign to make sure you wouldn't assume this was an attack. Philosophic debates on the internet tend to escalate and i hope this one doesn't. Again this is a game where you can make your own interpretation of Batman on-screen and as i said you do you but it's just weird to me that you would complain that Batman is '' fundamentally fascist " and say you have a lot of problems with Batman's character and premise as a result, only to play him as violently as possible in a game about making a Batman. Other than the fun of playing like a jerk, which is fine.

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