Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes this review is late, and yes Episode 3 was released the day before I have officially written this. Well, unfortunately real life is an evil and all-consuming mistress, meaning time has not been on my side. But fret not; Episode 3 will be reviewed very shortly as well. With that being said, let’s dive in to more decision making madness.
Just like the previous episode, there are going to be some mild “SPOILERS” in this review, but since this has been out for a minute and they are important to talk about, I feel compelled to talk about some of them, particularly at the end. I’ll try to let you know right before I mention them, but they are going to be there.
Episode 2 starts with Bruce looking around the Crime Alley, the infamous murder spot of his late father and mother, trying to process what Falcone told him about his family being some of the biggest gangsters in Gotham. He begins retracing the events of that night in his mind, the moment when Joe Chill took everything from him and the Batman began his birth. This is where we immediately get to go back into using the detective skills, something I praised in the previous episode
The detective functions still have a very strong display here in Children of Arkham. From retracing his parents death, to trying to figure out why (SPOILERS) a calm and honorable cop goes rogue and shoots Falcone in the head. I particularly enjoyed that entire sequence. It just made me feel overall smarter and forced me to look more closely without the clues being something obscure or having to just know what the developer’s idea of “this makes sense” was (looking at you Phoenix Wright).
This event leads to two more major things happening, a tag-team bar fight with Catwoman, and a confrontation with the Mayor. The bar fight is pretty straight forward and fun, if not a little too Quick-Timey. Though they lose points for now having Ballroom Blitz playing in the background during the fight, missed opportunities for everybody and Tia Carrere (Party on if catch that reference). However, the visit with Mayor Hill is one of the biggest splits in the story for a lot of people. Go see him as Batman or as Bruce Wayne. Typically I would go full Batman, but since this game is designed to focus on the Bruce Wayne version of things, I will keep the 3 piece suit on for now.
This sequence was a lot of fun just because I loved being an A-hole to the obviously Mega-Corrupt Mayor of Gotham City. If ever there was a scene where you wanted to show your balls, and slap them on the table using your wits instead of your fists, this was it. It just made me feel good, which was kind of the goal of this entire episode…until the end that is.
The final section of this episode features a debate between the current Mayor and his opponent Harvey Dent, and sure enough it leads to some lovely criminal activity. Oswald Cobblepot, now officially going by Penguin, shows up and raises some hell, taking everybody hostage on behalf of his new mysterious bosses, the Children of Arkham. Here come the Mega SPOILERS. Not only do we see video footage of Thomas Wayne forcibly putting innocent people into Arkham Asylum as patients, but then we are faced with another choice, one I knew was coming very early in the first episode. Who do I save? Do I save Catwoman, the woman Bruce has been developing new feelings for, or do I save Harvey Dent, the man who has been a friend and Bruce has been trying to get elected Mayor so that he can save Gotham. Catwoman has a sketchy past but is far from redemption. Dent has been a longtime friend, but lately it feels like he has both been weaker than advertised and hiding some things. So…what does one do?
Anybody who has seen or read anything Batman related ever knows exactly what not saving Harvey Dent means…and that is exactly what I chose to do. I saved the girl. I let Harvey be attack by Penguin. I let Harvey Dent take an extremely hot lamp to side of his face. I let Harvey Dent become Two-Face. Why did I do this? Honestly I couldn’t tell you. It wasn’t easy to do, but I guess in the end I felt I had a much stronger ally in Catwoman. Maybe I was just tired of Dent’s crap. I don’t know why, but I know the consequences will most likely be dire. There might be a shot at redemption down the road, but it seems unlikely. This is a decision Bruce Wayne and I will have to live with.
This game felt like so much happened and extremely quickly. Thankfully though, none of it honestly felt rushed either. There were definitely little improvements here and there that made this a truly enjoyable experience, and I definitely look forward to playing Episode 3. However, there is one issue that remains unchanged….
Yes the technical glitches are still here and are astoundingly slightly more annoying than last time. Nothing game breaking or as bad as my previously mentioned Tales from the Borderlands fiasco, but annoying nonetheless. This showed up at its worst during the Crime Alley investigation. You see, during this scene we go back and forth between present day and flashbacks to that fateful night when Bruce was 8. This is a fine way to do things, except every time the flashback portions would occur, there was this strange clipping where it seems that the static backgrounds from the past were trying to bleed in and there were strange chunks of the scenery missing and only being shown by giant white blanks. It is a small possibility that this was some kind of weird artistic choice that I am just too small minded to understand, but that seems unlikely. It just seems to this ongoing plague within Telltale that doesn’t seem to be getting any better. And as long as it keeps happening, I intend to keep talking about it. Oh and side note, because of a different glitch, it was over a week before I could even download the episode in spite of having a season pass disc. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Overall this was another great experience that made me look forward to what else this team has in store for me story wise. The Batman sequences are still fun even though he hasn’t fully become the full on, force of vengeance that we know and love, but I am hoping these fights intensify a little. Still, this would all be much better if not marred by technical issues that just seem avoidable. Due to that, I give Episode 2: Children of Arkham a rating of: