We finally made it. The last episode of the season. The final showdown for Gotham’s soul. One more loose end to wrap up. So was it worth the build up? Time to put up or shut up!
SERIOUSLY THESE ARE SUPER MEGA SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE FINALE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!!
It has been 5 days since The Batman threw down with The Penguin and while he is no longer a threat, Mayor Two-Face is still running his terror campaign throughout Gotham City. After stopping a showdown between Dent’s taskforce and the GCPD (which leads to the battle field promotion of Jim Gordon from Lieutenant to Commissioner), we learn that Two-Face is currently holding people hostage in the ruins of Wayne Manor. Keep in mind that these events would have played out differently had I chosen to tackle Two-Face first in the previous episode instead of throwing down with Cobblepot. Oh well, moving on.
Bruce knows that he must talk to Harvey face-to-face….to-face…Two-Face….Anyway. This is Bruce’s battle to finish, which has essentially been the overall theme of this season, but more on this later. Ultimately you go in and have to find the best way to stop Harvey Dent/Two-Face from massacring more innocent people, well almost innocent, he does have a member of the Children of Arkham as hostage. This is where we can go all vicious on him if we want to, however I am a kind and caring gamer who finds it hard to go full a**hole in any game (seriously I went full Paragon in Mass Effect, anything Renegade made me feel icky), so I opted to make one last push to reach out to Harvey’s Humanity, Lord knows I’ve been trying to this entire freaking game.
Eventually, I do manage to talk Harvey down, using his coin obsession as his downfall but allowing himself to be taken in somewhat peacefully, thus ending our time with the soon to be former Mayor. This is where I have my first real gripe with the finale. While the aforementioned loose ends do need to be tied up, that’s all this sequence ends up feeling like, nothing more than a loose end. Harvey Dent started out as a man who truly wanted to fix Gotham by becoming Mayor, even if it meant do very shady things along the way. Once his disfiguration happened and the split persona of Two-Face began to take over, he became not only unstable, but a man who was obsessed. What’s more, he ended up causing almost if not just as much chaos and destruction as the Children of Akrham did! And yet, after all of the build-up, and sheer insanity, he is simply forgotten. Though when I think back on it, this also kind of makes sense, though maybe unintentionally.
From the very beginning, Harvey Dent has been in the background while trying to be a big time player. When he announced his candidacy for Mayor, he was overshadowed the whole time not only by Bruce Wayne, but Carmine Falcone as well. The man was running for freaking Mayor and he was barely and afterthought. When it came to him “dating” Selina Kyle (Catwoman for the 2 uninformed people reading this), she slept with Bruce and did not give two cat turds about how it affected Harvey. She didn’t even bother to go visit him in the freaking hospital. When the Children of Arkham took the Mayoral debate hostage, not only was the that the major headline of the whole night, but Harvey getting half of his face burnt off on live television was merely a footnote on the evening. See what I’m getting at? In spite of the chaos created by him, he was nothing more than padding to the overall story. A mere second, technically third if you consider Penguin, banana during his own rise and fall to power. Heck, even when Bruce is thrown in Arkham Asylum, BY TWO-FACE HIMSELF, all Bruce cares about it is learning more about Lady Arkham. Who isn’t even seen in the entire fourth episode outside of when Batman recreates a crime scene. Again if it was some kind of subtle ploy by the writers to show he was just a small fish in a big pond of criminals, kudos. However, I really doubt that it was intentional.
Speaking of just tying up loose ends, Selina Kyle shows up because she stole some kind of tech key. I honestly don’t know why it’s important, but Bruce stops her before she skips town, they kiss, she leaves….and that’s it. Moving on.
So sure enough during the oh so plot relevant Catwoman encounter, Lady Arkham shows up and kidnaps Alfred. After being given a new Batsuit (which looks kind of cool but what actually makes it an upgrade is never explained or shown), it’s time to go on a hunt. Batman tracks Alfred to Vicki Vale’s child hood where we find out that the reason she is essentially coocoo for Cocoa Puffs is because her adopted parents used to literally beat her and lock her in a hole beneath their basement and just leave her there….that got dark super quick.
Thanks to some actually pretty dang creative clues left behind by Alfred, we learn he has been located to where else but Arkham Asylum, which should be a surprise to literally nobody. Like seriously, who did not see that one coming. So Lady Arkham’s big plan there? What is her coup de grace? It’s….letting all of the prisoners out of Arkham!!!……yay!
Look, I know that there are good reasons for this, and story/motive wise, it does make sense. But, it’s been done. Don’t believe me? It happened in Batman The Animated Series, The Dark Knight Rise, Bane did it in the Knightfall comics, hell it was essentially the entire point of the Batman Arkham Asylum game.
The final battle does happen between Lady Arkham and Batman, and while I do love that they essentially have a true throw down, I do find it odd that someone with no formal training and their only weapon being what is essentially a boom stick (not the cool shotgun kind) was able to put up such a fight. Penguin’s fight made sense because they highlighted his underground fighting background. Lady Akrham was just insane and really overconfident. But that’s not the real focus of the fight for me.
The real focus comes right before the first punch is thrown, where I am presented with the all too familiar “Major Decision” and this is one I saw coming for a while. I can choose to attack Lady Arkham, or even more importantly, reveal to her that Batman is also Bruce Wayne. If you’ve been reading my previous reviews then you know what I chose. I showed her exactly who the man was beneath the mask. Why? The first reason is because I knew Alfred would get hurt if I didn’t. Secondly and much more importantly, I have been saying this whole time and so did Telltale before this series even launched that the focus of this story was on Bruce Wayne. This is about his and his family’s legacy. The mantle/spirit/character/legend/mythos of Batman is merely a story tool at this point, someone who is only a bystander in his own story. Therefore, this was Bruce Wayne’s battle to fight, not the Batman’s. His entire life had been made an ever growing Hell because of this woman, so Bruce Wayne needed to be the one to put her down.
The unfortunate side effect to this battle is that he loses a chunk of his ear….which is something I hope they fix via some one-liner in Season 2 because it is super distracting in every single scene that follows. Nitpicky I know, but it makes me feel like Austin Powers in Goldmember every time he sees the Mole.
After narrowly dodging a random attacker at a press conference, thus showing that the true fight against evil/crime has just begun, we finally get the end credits. While I get the typical “This percentage of players made the same or opposite choice as you” screen, which I do enjoy, I really liked them showing that just what type of Batman I am. I am considered to be a “Compassionate” Batman, because if there’s one thing Batman is known for when beating up crime, it’s compassion.
My real problem with this entire episode is that there was just so much freaking build up throughout this entire Season, only for it to end with an obvious set up and for its villains not to go out with a bang, but a mere whimper. It’s just disappointing. And what sucks is that I know that Telltale can do so much better than that. Look at Tale from the Borderlands, or my personal favorite The Wolf among Us and both of those endings or at least final climaxes that were either good fun, or actually had me fully ensnared in what was happening. This just felt lazy. In fact, did anyone else notice how quickly these all came out? With Telltale, the usual release schedule is an average of about 2-3 months between episodes. Here, it was an average of less than a month. That’s nuts. When you think about it, it’s no wonder I had so many freaking technical issues. Ugh….
Look, was this episode good? Sort of. I enjoyed the fights and the back story to Vicki Vale was truly horrific, but everything just left me wanting. Was the season as a whole good? Yes it was. In spite of all of the technical issues I encountered and the places where it fell flat, it still provided me with some quality moments of both entertainment and critical thinking when it came to characters in the story, and honestly that’s more than a lot games typically give. Is it perfect? Obviously not, but the foundation is there for growth, improvement and even more world building. And when Batman the Telltale Series Season 2 comes around, I will be sure to pick it up. But for now I give Batman TTS Episode 5 a score of:
And I give Batman the Telltale Series Season 1: