Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 5 – City of Light Review
Pretty sweet story
Very true to “Batman” lore and feel
Sub par graphics
Not enough time as Batman
A Tell-Tale for the Ages
It’s been a very hard couple of weeks for Batman, but it’s been far worse for his alter ego. He’s watched his family legacy fall to shambles, his most trusted friends have betrayed them, gone crazy, or both. Even as the episode begins, his home is on fire, and his former best friend is the cause. Not to mention the illusive Lady Arkham is still free and plotting her next terrible attack. Some days you just can’t win, that is unless you are Batman.
Telltale has done an incredible job of setting the scene and slowly building on events and developing characters in pace with the story itself, and one great example is Harvey Dent. A moderately paced loss of face, then control, then sanity has plagued him throughout the season, and it all ends with a showdown at Wayne Manor with his best friend. But even as he shoots hostages to make a point, and make his transformation to Two-Face complete, he also knows he’s going mad, and tries valiantly to fight his other self. Normally I’d say that these games don’t lend enough weight to the choices you make, but dealing with Harvey in different ways definitely leaves different taste in your mouth. It’s a nice yet bittersweet wrap up to a complex character.
With Harvey out of the way, it’s on to the real threat of the entire first season, Lady Arkham. We know who she is, but in this episode you find out what made her this way in the first place. She was terribly abused by her adoptive parents, after her real parents were ruined and murdered by a powerful family. This is where the brilliant writing comes in, as we know how evil she is, and we have seen what she’s done, and yet somehow we feel sorry for her. So when we must face her in the heart of Arkham Asylum to save the day, and prevent every villain in there from escaping, we do so with the slightest remorse.
Batman is quite possibly the most well-known comic in history, and many might think it’s because of the unique hero, and his dark and tortured past, and his path to justice. In some ways I think that’s true, but more than anything, it’s all about the villains. Every villain in this world is usually obsessed with one particular thing, for Two-Face, its chance and equality, for the Joker, it’s getting people to laugh, for Poison Ivy, its plants. With that in mind, Lady Arkahm is a welcome addition to the esteemed rogues’ gallery. She is absolutely obsessed with Wayne and seeking justice for everyone in Arkham, and like all Batman’s foes, it is her greatest strength but also her greatest weakness, as they always fall prey to their own obsession. In a real Batman story, Batman doesn’t land the finishing blow, it’s the villain who takes themselves out and that is how the season ends, with a bang not a whimper.
Telltale makes great story driven games, and its hard to argue with their success in this area. However, it has to be mentioned how terribly utilized the gaming hardware is with this latest set of episodes as the graphics are really nothing to speak of, especially when compared to modern AAA games, and even when compared to their own previous works like Tales from the Borderlands. With plenty of glitchy mistimed speeches, awkward transitions, and badly rendered models. I’d love to see what would happen if they put more effort into visuals as they would into story and characters. Overall though, you can’t help but get attached to your character and your decisions along the way, and it makes it all the better to discuss with your friends on how you negotiated the same problem and see how the rest of the world did as well. It’s a great addition to the growing Telltale line of games and its worth your time and money.