The newest installment of Batman: The Telltale Series was released on Tuesday, September 20th. While I will be reviewing each episode as they are released, I will not be giving the game a final score until all five episodes have been released. You can read my episode one review here.
Episode two of Batman takes place almost immediately after the events that end the first episode. Bruce Wayne is dealing with the fallout of the climax of episode one. Children of Arkham builds on its previous installment in many ways. First and most obvious after my initial play through was the pacing. Episode two is shorter than the first episode by a significant amount, but does not slow down much like episode one did. I was engaged from start to finish without ever feeling like my attention was drifting on to something else. However, that being said I did experience some unusually long load times between certain scenes that had me staring at a black screen for up to a minute or two.
Children of Arkham dives into some of the most interesting story i’ve seen from a batman game. Telltale clearly feels confident in the story they have started to map out for players. Part of what makes it so interesting especially in this episode, was my ability to make a decision and execute it as Bruce Wayne that I know he would not do in other games. I am not saying what happened was crazy or even character defining, but it was a small choice that Telltale gave me as the player, that was out of character for Bruce. Dealing with a franchise like Batman is a tall order, and Telltale is proving they are up to the task.
The chapters were much shorter in this episode, because story threads were revealing themselves very quickly. I was amazed by how many integral Batman characters they were able to fit in, without it feeling cramped. Not every character has reached their full status yet, but it is clear where they are headed. It’s hard to have Harvey Dent be a main character and not know where that is heading. The so called “Children of Arkham” don’t reveal themselves until more than halfway through the episode, but they are a force to be reckoned with. The story has a lot of intricate pieces that have only just begun to reveal themselves, and I am along for the ride.
The biggest let down of episode two was the lack of Batman detective mode. I found the most interesting part of episode one was being able to link together evidence to tell the story of what had happened previously. You get a piece of that while playing as Bruce Wayne and trying to remember parts of your parents murder in the opening chapter, but it did not do it justice.
Some things that I came across during my play through that need to be mentioned are frame rate issues, and load times. The opening chapter my game continued to freeze and become choppy. Even after several re loads and a re install the same problem persisted. It is not un-like Telltale games to have these problems, and I even experienced them in episode one. As for the load times, in the last chapter there are multiple moments where the game will show you a quick cut and then have to load for fifteen-twenty seconds for another quick cut. This really throws off the importance of what Telltale is trying to convey and I hope is fixed by the next episode.
With all of this being said, Batman Children of Arkham delivers on many of the great parts of episode one, with some trimmed fat. The story is shaping up to be an all time favorite of mine, and the number of quick time events was cut down significantly. Telltale is very confidently filling the massive shoes of Batman.