After Telltale announced that they were creating a series based on the Batman universe, I was a little sceptical.
Once I’d played through episode one though, I thought that it could possibly be Telltale’s best series yet. Batman: The Telltale Series not only focuses on Batman and his relationship with Gotham and its police force, but also gives the opportunity for players to look into Bruce Wayne’s relationships. Whether it be with your father figure Alfred or those working for Wayne Industries, Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 3 – New World Order continues to give players the ability to look deeply into the man behind the bat cowl and really focus on more than just kicking criminals butts.
New World Order starts off not long after the end of episode two. At the mayoral debate between current Mayor of Gotham, Mayor Hill, and Harvey Dent, things go horribly wrong when Penguin attacks, forcing Batman to intervene. At the end of the episode players have to make the choice of whether to help Harvey or Catwoman (Selina Kyle). At the beginning of New World Order Bruce has to try and salvage some of what’s left after the disaster. Harvey isn’t exactly acting like himself, Oswald Cobblepot is after Bruce’s job, and there’s a ton of other issues on the horizon. Players have really got their hands full going into this episode and it’s a doozy.
It’s old news that Telltale have really improved their game mechanics in this series. The fight scenes are much smoother than in their previous titles and it should be said that the quick time events are incredibly well done. This episode only features a few opportunities to test out your reflexes, but are both very memorable fight scenes that left me wanting more. The new feature that was added specifically to the Batman series is “linking,” which the players must utilise in this episode in order to piece together the events of a crime scene. Linking is a really clever way to make it so that the player feels as though they’re the ones really guiding the story rather than just having to press a single button; not dissimilar to the main mechanic of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter if you are familiar.
Other than those main game mechanics, New World Order proves that Telltale isn’t afraid to put some meaningful dialogue into this series, as this episode in particular has players dealing with a lot of things with their mouths rather than their fists. Whether it’s Bruce’s relationship with Harvey, Selina, Oswalt, or Alfred, episode three of Batman: The Telltale Series forces players to make some of the toughest dialogue decisions of the game so far. Depending on your choices, it could mean life or death for other characters.
One downside to the large amount of dialogue this time around is that the episode did feel a little slow moving at times. This could simply be because some of the characters frustrate me to no end – Oswald Cobblepot continues to grind my gears, that no-good British jerk… ahem – but clearly this is what Telltale is going for. Those that enjoy the more action-packed moments may find themselves a little bored with this episode. but if you’re interested in the politics and enjoy complicated relationship building, you’ll likely find New World Order more satisfactory.
I would be beyond ecstatic to be able to give a Telltale title a perfect score, but despite being a huge fan of their work, I am always disappointed during some point of the game when it glitches or freezes as per the usual Telltale way. In New World Order specifically there were a few moments when the scenes would freeze up and I was unable to choose a dialogue choice that I wanted. There were also times when my character would get stuck in a corner or on an object in the environment and I’d have to make a wide berth around it in order to avoid staying stuck. Another perhaps more nitpicky issue I had was, during the linking portion of the game, I would be going back and forth in a small area and it would take Batman a frustrating amount of time to get to each side of the room. As I said, perhaps nitpicky at this point but still worth pointing out that a slight change could have made that section go much more smoothly.
Despite the small issues that we’ve come to expect from Telltale titles, they really are at the top of their game with this new series. Whilst technically their games may not be perfect, Telltale have always excelled at storytelling and Batman: The Telltale Series certainly does not disappoint thus far. Their ability to make players care so deeply for characters in a matter of minutes is unparalleled and Batman is no exception. Fans of the comic book series will likely love what Telltale has done with their beloved characters, and Telltale fans will be excited to see how they’re continuing to innovate as time goes on.