The thing that I love most about Telltale Games is their ability to tell stories.
Whether it be heartbreaking, hilarious or just something that can’t be described in one word, Telltale never fail to deliver a story that manages to hook you in. People might complain about the glitches and the other minor issues that seem to happen in every game but no one can deny that they can weave a damn good narrative. Batman: The Telltale Series completely took me by surprise, especially considering that going into the first episode I knew next to nothing about the Batman universe. Now, after four fantastic episodes, I can’t help but be excited about its final chapter.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 4 – Guardian of Gotham picks up just a few days after the ending of episode three. Bruce has been injected with the drug that causes intense rage among its users and has been wreaking havoc throughout Gotham City since episode one. Mayor Harvey Dent is terrified of the vigilante group The Children of Arkham, which is causing him to make rash, unjustified choices – and Batman doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to finding a way to solve these problems. During the episode its up to the player to help Bruce make it through his drug trips in order to try and get the city back into some kind of order before it’s too late.
If you’ve played previous Telltale titles than you should be familiar with the main gameplay mechanics of each game. The majority of the game consists of dialogue choices where the player must tread carefully in choosing what they say to other characters. Depending on what the player chooses, characters may treat them different. Specifically in Batman you have to choose whether or not you want Batman to be good or bad, as well as having to choose who you want Bruce Wayne to be; a rich, stubborn and spoiled CEO of his family’s company or a man who is rooting for the people of Gotham City.
As well as tough dialogue choices there are also times when the player must make a choice that could change the course of the entire rest of the game. Should you talk to Harvey as his old friend Bruce or his supposed ally Batman? Should you be kind or try to scare him? Each choice that the player makes could lead to a different set of events than what someone else might get.
In addition to having to make some pretty difficult dialogue and event choices in Batman, you also have detective work to solve. Using Batman’s “linking” technology, you need to investigate evidence at crime scenes and try to piece together what happened. This is a very interesting addition specific to the Batman series that sticks out because it forces the player to really think in a game that otherwise moves forward on its own. Finally, Batman has its fair share of fight sequences, made up of quick time events that anybody who has previously played a Telltale title will be familiar with. Despite being similar to its previous three episodes, Guardian of Gotham has one of the best combat scenes yet. It was very fluid moving and made for a powerful and memorable moment.
Unfortunately, most games aren’t without issues, and Batman Episode 4 is no exception. Guardian of Gotham had a fantastic story concept, but when actually playing the game, a lot of its plot points are resolved much too easily. There was very little in episode 4 that wasn’t tied up into a nice bow. Not to say that the biggest questions raised through the series have been answered, as then there would be no point in the final episode, but a few smaller narrative strands seemed to come to a close in rather disappointing ways. I went into the fourth episode expecting intense turmoil that would lead to an exciting finale, but instead came out thinking, “Oh, that’s it.” This could simply be Telltale setting up a big blow out for the season finale – but I wanted a little bit more from this episode.
As well as some disappointing content, Guardian of Gotham unfortunately had many more technical issues than its previous episodes. There were the usual moments of glitching and freezing where the characters will lag across the screen rather than moving fluidly, as well as some moments where I was unable to choose the dialogue choices that I wanted because of freezing. There was also a new issue that showed up on a few different occasions where characters would be talking but their faces and lips wouldn’t be moving. This made a few supposedly tense and emotion moments feel a little ‘awkward’, to say the least. Here’s hoping that in the future Telltale makes a point to fix these issues in the future.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 4- Guardian of Gotham may not have been the most impressive of the series but it did continue to keep me intrigued so much so that I can’t wait for its finale. The first four episodes did a fantastic job of bringing its players into this new world, getting them invested, and sending them off on their own to decide what kind of Batman they want to be. If its previous episodes are anything like what we have in store for us in the finale, than its going to be a great one.