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REVIEW / Batman – The Telltale Series Episode 2 (PS4)

 

As we wait for Telltale Batman’s episode 3, which is rumored to release somewhere between November 1st and 22nd, let’s take an more in-depth look at Children of Arkham. Keep in mind that Telltale is tailored to your choices in the story, so my decisions will alter what the game plays out as. I do have to say that Children of Arkham is substantially better than Realm of Shadows in terms of keeping the audience interested in what’s around the next load screen.

 

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DESIGN

Just as in Episode 1, Children of Arkham remains visually appealing and complex. From misty shadows of old memories that haunt Bruce Wayne to bloody gore from brutality by the enemies, it’s truly cool to watch. I might be a bit of an art nerd, but seeing all the neon lights mix in the alleyway and bar fight scenes is very beautiful to me. Just the right amount of saturation, brightness, and color combine to make this scene (along with the action in it) one of the most memorable.

 

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GAMEPLAY

I have to say, I was hoping for the frame rates in episode 2 to improve compared to Realm of Shadows. However, that is just not the case here with my game crashing within the first five minutes. I wasn’t even in a fight scene or anything, just simple dialogue and flashbacks on Bruce Wayne’s part and BAM! my screen was frozen like Mr. Freeze was in the room with me. After the restart, everything ran very smoothly besides the loading screens taking a little longer than expected. I was playing on PS4 so maybe you guys have had better luck on Xbox or Steam.

My favorite fight scene in the episode was where you go to The Stacked Deck bar as Bruce meeting Selina and some British thugs come in to take her out. You then end up in a co-op style battle against the enemies using your surroundings and each other (Selina and you) to defeat every last Brit. It’s very fast paced with a lot of quick actions and button mashing which I appreciate.

 

Why is Oswald's lacky blue and as strong as a tank?

Why is Oswald’s lacky blue and as strong as a tank?

STORY

You begin as Bruce standing in the alley where his parents were shot on the anniversary of this tragedy early in the morning hours. Alfred drives up with an umbrella as it’s raining lightly and figures he would find you here, he brings up the newspaper headlines of the Wayne family being big crime lords. You get in a heated argument with Alfred after he reveals that it’s true that Thomas and Martha had connections to Mayor Hill and Carmine Falcone and were indeed gangsters. Alfred reassures Bruce that he couldn’t stand Thomas anymore and was going to quit until that night when Bruce was left an orphan in the world, he loved him as his own son. Sappy moment over, Bruce now heads over to police station with Harvey Dent to interrogate Carmine Falcone.

Falcone is in the infirmary after his run-in with Batman and you immediately question your father’s connections to him as you walk in the door. You accuse him for hiring an assassin to kill Thomas and Martha after your flashback unlocks parts of your memory that had been blocked out, most likely from some form of PTSD. Falcone laughs off the idea stating that they’re practically family. Just as he’s about to reveal who called for the hit, Montoya bursts in the room with mysterious blue veins popping around her lips. Blood is splattering from Falcone’s forehead and his heart monitor drops to an abysmal straight line, Montoya has just murdered Falcone.

 

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Meanwhile, we learn that Oswald Cobblepot is in fact The Penguin and is trying to start a “revolution” to shake up Gotham bringing the elite down and giving the power to the poor. He’s kind of like a severely misguided Robin Hood in a sense attempting to help the helpless although in a much darker, serious tone. He’s been using these drugs that he confiscated from Falcone’s docks in episode 1 to unleash people’s basest desires. For example, he secretly injected Montoya and her basest desire was to assassinate Falcone so he would never do harm again, which means the drug takes away the host’s morality.

Penguin is after Catwoman after she failed to deliver the hard drive he wanted with files on Mayor Hamilton Hill. Thusly, Bruce feels guilty and teams up with Selina to defend and defeat the multiple British bad guys in a sleazy bar. They escape just as the cops arrive and things get a little steamy with her hinting at wanting a relationship with Bruce and the pair nearly kissing. I won’t reveal any more details on the plot but instead show the choices available for you to make along with what I chose. Major spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to see what options you have stop reading!

 

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Choice 1: Ease Falcone’s pain with morphine or choose to hurt him? I gave him the medicine.

Choice 2: Kiss Selina Kyle or chicken out? I kissed her.

Choice 3: Visit Mayor Hill as Bruce Wayne or as Batman? I visited as Bruce Wayne.

Choice 4: Withdraw your funding from Harvey’s campaign or continue to support him? I continued to back him.

Choice 5: Save Catwoman or save Harvey? I saved Catwoman.

 

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CONCLUSION

To wrap this up, I really think that Children of Arkham is a huge step up from Realm of Shadows in terms of story with many questions raised and vastly more interesting and pertinent decisions to be made. The gameplay remains in the same spectrum with the only spectacular moments being during the fight scene in The Stacked Deck bar. Design continues to be gorgeous as well minus the frame rates dropping at certain points and a crash. An 8.5 is a fair score in my book and I hope that Telltale’s Batman series will be worthy of a 10 out of 10 by the end. Will episode 3 follow suit and keep me hanging on for more waiting until the next episode? Only time (specifically around November 1st and November 22nd) will tell.

 

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