BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES EPISODE 4: GUARDIAN OF GOTHAM

Alright, so let’s get this out of the way first…..

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That’s right, technical glitches, again. Yes I am aware that episode 5 was released recently, but due to what I can only describe as severe incompetence, I was unable to play BOTH episode 4 and 5 until literally a couple of days ago. Why, you may ask? Because the Season Pass disc is a joke. I purchase this disc simply because in spite of this being a true digital age in gaming, I still like having physical copies. Maybe it’s some form of “baby hoarding” as my fiancé puts it, but I do enjoy having collections being on display. Point is, I had the season pass to the game, and I got it early. Every time I would attempt to download one of the episodes, I was told to not only go and repurchase the season pass, but to also purchase the INDIVIDUAL EPISODES. It’s extremely frustrating, and on sheer principle alone, I was not going to do that. It was not until a phone call with technical support was I able to get this fixed. So one full uninstall and another 2.5 GB patch later, I was finally able to play the damn thing….

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I have griped and groaned about technical issues with Telltale before and I have forgiven them all because at the end of the day the games were still fun to play, but this is simply absurd. When you have a glitch so bad that I cannot even play the game, it’s just unacceptable. What really bothers me about this is that this isn’t the first time this has happened either. I had similar issues with episode 2 and from what I’ve read online so did several others not only with this title, but with previous ones such as Tales From The Borderlands. Combine that with continuing issues such as sounds and actions not syncing properly, especially when it comes to speaking which is kind of the most important part of a story driven game, and it is very obvious that Telltale needs an overhaul in the QA department. Ok I’m done, rant over. Let’s move on.

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So Bruce isn’t exactly in the best of places right now. Waking up in Arkham Asylum on a blood stained mattress and still feeling the effects of the drugs that were injected into him. Quite the step down from waking up from a night of post crime-fighting nookie with Selina Kyle. Things go from bad to worse when fellow inmates come in to try and curb stomp the billionaire as payback for the sins of his father. Things are about to become truly bad until a certain “John Doe” comes in and save the day. And who is this new friend of Bruce Wayne’s?….Ummm, John Doe…..Ok fine it’s obviously The Joker, they’re not even subtle about it. Though it seems he hasn’t gone full Joker just yet. While the hair is already green and he has the smile that would send countless innocents to their deaths, he too like the Batman is still very early in conception and not yet in full force. Like I said before certain mythos changes have already taken place in this series, but I cannot tell if the infamous falling into a vat of chemicals has taken place yet.

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Eventually you do make it out of Arkham, via whatever choices you do make, and then it’s time for some more dominoes to fall into place. You find a cure for what ails you, it’s time to investigate in to Vicki Vale’s history, because she is apparently Lady Arkham (I’ve already mentioned spoilers in the past reviews so let’s move on). Unfortunately, once you arrive at her parent’s house you discover not a family, but a grisly murder scene.

It appears that Vale has not only killed both parents, but did so in a way that is both visceral and personal. To make matters worse, a child who also adopted by this family was hiding in the closet nearby and saw the whole thing. This is a big character moment. This child is now in a very similar situation to the one Bruce was in as a child, the situation that begin his journey towards becoming Batman. And now we have a child of similar age who was not only a witness to his parent’s murder, but to a murder that was far more violent than a mugging gone wrong in a dark alley. While you are deciding how to talk to the boy, it’s essentially Batman telling the boy what he wishes he was told when he was in the same situation.

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Jumping ahead a little, we do find out that Harvey Dent was the one who put Bruce into Arkham in the first place and has been dragging his family’s name through the mud, thus earning his “Two-Face” moniker…you know aside from the horrifying facial disfiguration. Oh well. Anyway, Two-Face has officially gone from Mayor who wanted to clean up Gotham, to a borderline dictator trying to create a militarized police state. Seriously, he blows up a potential base of operations for the Children of Arkham, which not only takes out at least a whole city block, but it takes out both innocent civilians and a fair amount of his own men. And sure enough, he “justifies” this by essentially saying the ends justify the means. That should go over with the people of Gotham well.

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After a slight scrape with life or death, it is time for our final major decision of this episode: Go to Wayne Enterprises and stop Penguin from hacking your tech, which is getting worse by the second, or go to Wayne Manor and stop Two-Face from seizing the place and all of its assets. As much as I wanted to throw down with Two-Face for being an insane douche canoe, I knew how much worse things would be with Bat tech in Penguins hands.

What happened next was just fun. No more politics. No more philosophies. No more mind games. Just you and Cobblepot, one on one, in a straight up fight. And this was a fun fight too. Not because of the QTE nature of it, nay. It is because this was a straight up brawl. Penguin has never really been known as a fighter (unless you count that weird version of him in The Batman where he was still short and fat but also knew Kung Fu…because why not), but in this iteration, it was already mentioned early on that he was an underground fighter. This just makes the fight get that much more brutal. And when you win, it’s not by a hard knock out. Nope, let’s just say that the Penguin earned his waddle afterwards. However, we see that during this fight our friendly neighborhood has set fire to Wayne Manor, saying that if anybody says anything to just tell them that “Wayne put up a fight.”

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If there is one thing I truly took away from this episode it is that being Bruce Wayne is suffering, at least in this universe. That’s an odd thing to say about a Billionaire, but let’s review. His parents were murdered in front of him. His best friend has become a psycho terrorist who put him away in a looney bin. His entire family legacy has been revealed that it was not only bad but somewhat evil. His job got hijacked by another old friend of his who was nothing more than a puppet for a larger organization. Oh and every possession he has is being slowly pulled away from with very little he can do about it. Sure he got some hot Bat on Cat action, but that was book ended by getting the crap kicked out of him by Lady Arkham and then having to fight his now former and newly deformed best friend after he saw that Bruce had just slept with his lady friend Selina. Admittedly he had that last one coming, yet that is a metric crap ton to go through.

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Guardian of Gotham felt like it was mostly a build up to the finale. Sure there were some explosive and volatile dominoes falling into place, but incidents like fighting Cobblepot, while fun, was really nothing more than tying up a loose end. I do look forward to the finale, especially since I can actually play it now (again, Telltale Games, please put out job listings for your QA department on Indeed, LinkedIn, or even Monster…wait do people still use Monster?). My biggest fear is that when the final battle comes, and I know it will come, is that I don’t have a technical nightmare from this game’s inability to execute it at the level it was meant to. Those concerns aside, this was a decent episode but I do wish the debut of Joker had been better, and also a little better acted as well. Tune in soon for my review of the Finale of this 5 part epic, for now, I give episode 4 of Batman The Telltale Series a score of:

80%

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