Although it is not perfect, episode 4 is certainly a step in the right direction after my disappointment with the last one. The character interactions are stronger, and the story takes some interesting turns. Things are increasingly bad for Gotham, Batman, and Bruce Wayne, but The Penguin, his masked master, and Harvey Dent are choking the life out of the city as they struggle to come out on top. Read on to see why episode 4 was so different from episode 3. As usual, there will be minor spoilers.
Episode 3 ended with a huge bang and the reveal of Lady Arkham’s secret identity. No matter whether your Bruce Wayne was a company man or used the bully pulpit to slam Oswald Cobblepot, he is waking up in Arkham Asylum, and that is the good news. The bad news is that a lot of people in Arkham are not too happy about being unfairly committed against their will, and they want to help Bruce understand that in a very physical way. Fortunately, he makes a new green-haired friend named John Doe who loves to laugh and sees a kindred spirit in Bruce.
The city has been turned into a police state by Harvey Dent under the guise of crushing the Children of Arkham. He has become a dictator over Gotham and wields all the power that he can muster with extreme violence or fear. Armed men roam the streets, and the individual rights of citizens are being suppressed. Oh, and he hates Bruce Wayne with a blazing passion.
Batman is feeling the squeeze as well. He is cutoff from everyone who could help him and receives help from an unexpected new character. His tech is still compromised and growing worse, making him concerned that his toys will be used for evil.
Most of the game ran well, but I did have some technical issues. In a couple of places, the sound was not syncing up with the character models. It was over fairly quickly, but there were a few seconds that looked like the dubbing on an old Godzilla movie. The sound cut out completely in another scene, but it was only for a second. There was one other problem in which the video delayed for a couple seconds, before quickly snapping back. These were small issues, but they were there.
There are two reasons this episode was better for me. First, Bruce Wayne seemed to be less whiny and less of a “poor me” character. Along with Cobblepot, everyone is actively doing something. Speaking of Cobblepot, he was less of a corporate suit and more of a motivated killer. He even reveals how he sees his own role in the revolution.
The second reason is that this episode gives the player better choices to make. The greatest part of any Telltale game is the freedom to shape the events in the story, and that is most evident when you have choices that make you pause and consider what your version of the character would do. Is your Batman a quiet hero dedicated to justice, or is your Batman a loose cannon, an end justifies the means anti-hero?
For the last big choice of the game, it was wonderful to have to really think about it before choosing. When I reviewed the results at the end of the episode, it looked like the community of gamers were mostly split on the choices. I like that it was polarizing, and I think that only adds to the tension while playing.
Episode 4 was a return to where this series needs to go. The villains in the episode were really spiteful, and the player choices felt meaningful. I was more interested in the plot and interactions between characters. Even though I think some of the loose ends will not be completely resolved in this season, I look forward to seeing what comes next.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a PS4 code bought at the expense of the reviewer. This does not affect the content or the final score. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
* Reviewed on a regular PS4, not a PS4 Pro.