TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
The latest episode of Batman: The Telltale Series recently released, but does it soar to new heights or plummet to the grimy streets of Gotham?
Episode 2 ended with a dire, split-second choice that threatened to upend everything we know about two very important figures from Batman’s lore. What that moment presented was a chance to steer Gotham City’s destiny in an all-new direction, seeing one character remain a beacon of hope, while seemingly dooming another to a jaded life of crime. That was my favorite moment thus far, and I purposefully steered the story down the less conventional path.
Episode 3 makes that choice pointless by the end, returning both affected characters to their status quo. When the main selling point to a game is the importance of the player’s decisions, that is a major problem — and yet, in typical Telltale Games fashion, Episode 3: New World Order still managed to be an enjoyable, if turbulent, ride.
While the story is more linear than one would hope, every moment is crafted with care and rife with surprises. Telltale’s version of Penguin may be more suave than the typical short, rotund villain we love to hate in DC comics, but somehow manages to be slimier. Harvey Dent lacks the vanity of his usual portrayals and genuinely wants to make a difference in Gotham and, while he may be kind of a meathead, he means well. More than any other character, Selina Kyle (Catwoman) benefits from the spotlight and has become a much more sympathetic person. Interacting with these people is always a treat, and things truly get intense once the pendulum swings out of their favor — and the voice talent sells every moment with tremendous authenticity.
Alas, this episode suffers more technical problems than the previous two. The accuracy of the lip syncing has been inching toward a cliff from the beginning, but takes a swan dive into the abyss this time around. During a fast-paced scene where Batman speeds through the city in his batmobile, an interior shot would lead you to believe he stopped at a red light despite continuing to steer. While sitting at the batcave’s super computer and inspecting the codex, the game glitched and left me unable to decrypt data, forcing me to load an earlier checkpoint. Worst of all, the framerate likes to strangle itself during QTE fight scenes to make things unintentionally difficult.
THE VERDICT: 6.8
The storyline is progressing nicely, and Telltale has created an intriguing new villain, but battling technical problems is somehow losing its charm. When the major decision of a previous episode is undone, however skillfully, it only continues to make the game feel more pointless. As it stands, I’m beginning to think this episodic series would be more enjoyable as a choose-your-own-adventure comic book.
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