I finally finished the fifth episode of Telltale Games Batman, and I walked away from the episode and the season disappointed. Read on to see why Batman saves the day, but not his own game. As always, there will be spoilers.
One of my biggest disappointments is how the entire season tells a story in the effort to setup additional seasons. As I played through the different episodes, I began to see signs that there would be multiple story threads that would be left dangling for another season. This is not a problem, but the character interactions, even if they were the results of my own choices, suffered. There could have been more focus on what was happening now, instead of how it needed to be for the future.
The most obvious place this happened was when Bruce had a short conversation with Selina Kyle while convincing her to return a piece of technology she arbitrarily stole from him. It seems like it is only there for her to remind the player that she is still in the world, before she rides off into the sunset.
My other big disappointment is how the villain is cheapened and stereotyped in this episode. Bruce’s dad did some terrible things to Vicki’s parents, and that caused her to be put into a despicable and horrifically abusive situation. Only monsters abuse kids but, in a world where a man dresses up like a bat and fights some wacky people with some creative backstories, an abusive childhood seems to be some trite, Lifetime movie of the week motivation.
In the game, her foster parents performed some truly appalling and disturbing actions that she performed on another innocent person. Even so, that is her motivation to learn how to create or steal some fancy technology for her staff, learn how to fight so well she can take on Batman, don the mantle of Lady Arkham, and start an underground guerilla force that threatens the entire city of Gotham?
I have mentioned this in another review, but I love villains. They are the lifeblood of a story or game, because they make the hero’s conflict interesting and meaningful. Batman has some amazing villains and I really like the games that Telltale makes. I appreciate Telltale’s effort to create a unique story, and I am glad they went to such efforts to even make her somewhat sympathetic. I also realize how challenging it must be to create a villain’s story within the Batman universe. I just did not find her ultimately compelling.
The detective scenes and a fight scene in Arkham really seemed like busy work. In previous episodes, the game would often give you more than one choice in how to take down a bad guy. For most of episode five, it was only one choice, and you had to drag a line from the inmate to something else to move on to the next scene.
There were also some audio and video issues. At the end of the game, Alfred and Bruce are enjoying a glass of their favorite liquor together and talking. Their voices sound normal, but there was a cathedral echo when their glasses clinked or for any other sounds. At the end of the game, Batman is fighting Lady Arkham, and it sounds like thunder noises inside of a large garbage can. They were really distracting.
There was a visual issue in the Arkham Asylum fight that harkened back to Assassin’s Creed Unity. One of the prisoners was completely invisible except for his floating eyeballs and teeth. I am not very familiar with the expanded Batman universe, but that seemed wrong to me. I know this is technically still one game, but it’s the fifth episode.
We have come to the end of the first season of Batman, and I am sad to say that it ended with more of a wet fart than a bang. There are individual things in this episode and the season as a whole, that are great, such as the ability to tackle a problem as either Batman or Bruce Wayne. Even with all my criticism, I still look forward to seeing what season two will offer now that we have the foundation in place.
BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES EPISODE 5 PS4 REVIEW
Episode 5 is an overall disappointment for the end of the season. Batman is victorious, but the villain’s motivations are tired. The detective and fight choreography scenes only ask the player to draw lines, and the entire season feels like a setup for later seasons, sacrificing a more focused story with deeper character interaction. I can only hope the next season will avoid some of the problems in season one.
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* Reviewed on a regular PS4