Review: Batman – The Telltale Series (PS4) – Episode 2: Children of Arkham.
I swallowed the hook and caught the Batman of Telltale’s idea, as you might have noticed in the first episode review. When I sat down to the second episode, I counted on maintaining a high level, while at the same time fearing for the side of the story. And as it is in life, I got a little bit of one and a little more of the other. The Telltale both lived up to my hopes and confirmed my fears.
There is a media campaign against Bruce Wayne in Gotham City. It turned out that his late father Thomas Wayne was not a saint at all, and traces of family fortune lead to the largest mafia families in the city. This is a huge blow to the city, especially since Harvey, “The Hope of Gotham” Dent, who was fighting for the mayor’s seat, was campaigning for Wayne’s money. To make matters worse, a group of subversives, who call themselves the Children of Arkham (title Children of Arkham), led by Oswald Cobblepot himself, is growing more and more boldly.
Yes, on the whole, Children of Arkham holds the same level of its predecessor. The plot stands out (for now) from other dimensions, cosmic invaders or weirdos like Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. In return, it serves us a brutal sensational spectacle, in which people hungry for power and money pose a much greater threat than madmen dressed in colorful clothes. Story twists are thoughtful and can shake you well.
It is a pity that with all this there is room for stupid fiction. The detective scene (the only one), combined with flashbacks in the famous alley (Crime Alley), where Thomas and Marta Wayne were murdered, is ridiculous, and the player can guess the conclusions from it several minutes earlier. Similarly, a completely illogical solution is the scene at the police station where Lieutenant Gordon (not yet commissioner) leaves a civilian alone with the murderer in the interrogation room. After all, for something like this he should end his career immediately … Sure, this type of mental shortcut is present in many films, but basing their title on the narrative, writers have to take care of all the details.
There are very few important decisions we need to make. Only three times I was faced with a difficult choice that contributed to the psychological feature of the Bat. The situation is saved by the fact that at some point we can decide whether Bruce Wayne or Batman will meet the city leader. The meeting looks completely different then, despite the fact that the conclusions drawn from it are similar. The game needs more ideas like this, and that’s what I’m counting on in future episodes.
After a short, two-hour first episode, the second is… even shorter. “Children of Arkham” lasts only ninety minutes, of which a dozen or so is an obvious time management game (the aforementioned Crime Alley). There was a place for a few spectacular action scenes with a very cool choreography of the fights, I also liked the placement of button icons needed for QTE in the places of interaction. If Batman pulls out a batarang, a circle is displayed on his belt, and if he is to knock out someone’s teeth, a square will appear next to the unlucky man’s face. There is also, like in the first episode, a fragment of detailed attack planning, but unfortunately it is not as extensive as before.
Children of Arkham is a bit of a disappointment. It is still a solid, dark and surprising story about the man behind the mask of the Dark Knight. Unfortunately, in those ninety minutes, about thirty add nothing to the plot, which is hard to defend at this price. The potential is there and I still believe that after the premiere of the fifth episode, I think Telltale did a great job, adding a decent brick to the DC universe. This time, however – a yellow card.