Check out our review of Episode One here!
Telltale’s impressive start to Batman continues with Episode Two, fleshing out the story laid out in Episode One. As well as creating a unique Batman story amongst a myriad of comics, movies, and video games already being consumed worldwide, Telltale’s Batman feels more malleable. And the more malleable the story, the more personal the experience becomes.
A quick aside, the opening scene doesn’t make sense. As Bruce Wayne trundles through his parents murder scene, he tells himself he remembers it all perfectly, to every detail. But once informed by Alfred that maybe he has indeed forgotten something, he suddenly remembers a crucial detail from that horrible night which turns his life upside down. Like a bat. Bats sleep upside down. Never mind. The point is, how Bruce remembers this new information is incredibly superficial, and doesn’t kick the episode off well.
Once this scene is over, however, things become very good indeed. Bruce’s political stand-off with the infamous Falcone family, the media, and Harvey Dent continues to ramp up at an intense but sustainable pace. As I said in my review of Episode One, this story is about Bruce Wayne. Batman is an aside, a tool Bruce Wayne uses when his silver tongue becomes dull to his enemies. You need to decide whether Bruce Wayne’s public image is worth keeping clean when playing politics.
You have numerous chances to play dirty and risk public backlash, something which Batman can deal with since he is an anonymous vigilante. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play Bruce Wayne how you think he behaves. Everyone has their own idea of how Bruce and Batman behaves, and Telltale give you every opportunity to act in accordance to your Bruce and Batman. The set pieces are excellent too. They are well choreographed and pace the episode well, keeping any fears of boredom away.
What’s interesting is, due to the Wayne name being pulled through the dirt, Batman can’t really help. Sure he can beat up endless streams of enemies and even bring down Superman, but he can’t play politics. He can’t write a column in the local Gotham newspaper defending his pal Brucey, giving an anecdote about how Bruce lent him a couple of grand to buy a new cape. Batman, at times, feels useless. It’s unusual to see Bruce in such a vulnerable state, and Telltale explore this very well.
In spite all of the good stuff, Telltale still cannot release a stable episode. The framerate drops badly when you are able to move freely around a space. It’s incredibly jarring, and pulls you right out of the experience. It’s almost becoming a trademark, like Telltale mean to release each episode with framerate issues. There is one fight scene where Telltale really lets itself down. As QTE after QTE is thrown at you within a high-paced brawl, the framerate drops make the scene confusing to watch. Alongside more absent sound effects, something which plagued the first episode as well, what is a pivotal moment in the episode left a sour taste as my primary memory of that scene is how poor it ran. It’s a great shame this is still a problem, one that has been present since the excellent The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series series.
Batman – The Telltale Series Episode Two is great. It builds on Episode One very well, and expands on your role, as the player, making decisions no other Batman game has let you make so far. As the story unfolds, the stakes are quickly becoming higher in this unique take on the Dark Knight. And Bruce Wayne continues to be steal the show from this Batman game.