With the latest release in Batman – The Telltale Series, Telltale Games is building to the season finale of what has been a fresh and much needed entry for the developer. The penultimate episode, Guardian of Gotham looks to keep the train rolling after two very exciting episodes that released just before it. However, things may not be as on track for this to be one of their best games as we were originally hoping for. Read on for our full review of Batman – The Telltale Series Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham.
Title: Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mobile
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Copy provided by the Publisher for the sake of this review
Episode 4 picks up almost immediately where Episode 3 left off, with Bruce Wayne having been drugged by Lady Arkham. Bruce is feeling the effects of the drug still, and is currently locked away inside of Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, within those walls are a ton of people both Thomas Wayne and Batman have made sure were locked up. And due to that, many of them want to take a shot at Bruce and even some of the guards are willing to take bribes to let it happen.
Guardian of Gotham wastes little time in introducing The Joker, or as he is called in this episode, “John Doe”. The Joker saves Bruce from being badly beaten by a group of thugs, and then shows him around Arkham Asylum. Telltale explores a friendly relationship between The Joker and Bruce Wayne, but sets up their usual connection by dialogue choices and some of the interactions near the end of that particular scene. I was a little disappointed that The Joker is only in the beginning of the episode, but Telltale Games is clearly setting stuff up for the season finale, and possibly even a second season depending on how well this first season did.
While I found the appearance of The Joker and what they could possibly do with that story arc going forward to be exciting, Guardian of Gotham ultimately feels like a bit of a letdown, after coming off two fantastic episodes in Children of Arkham and New World Order. The major choices presented to the player in this episode don’t feel nearly as meaningful as they did in previous episodes. The one at the very end of the episode is the most meaningful one, as it forces you to choose between two key figures important to this Batman story. But, as is usually the case with Telltale Games releases and is something I was hoping would change, the choices made up to this point all seem to be coming together toward the same conclusion no matter what. I experimented with a few different routes trying to force certain outcomes, but ultimately could not produce the desired results I was looking for.
One of the biggest violators of this is what happens with Selina Kyle, otherwise known as Catwoman. She is barely even in this episode at all, which is a huge letdown after her emotional connections with Bruce and their remarkable interactions and scenes in both Episode 2 and Episode 3. From what we can tell, no matter the choices made in the first three episodes, the same scene will always play out in Episode 4. Perhaps there is a certain string of choices and events that could lead to a different scene or dialogue happening, but we could not find it, and research seems to indicate that it always ends up this particular way. Now, we are fully aware that there is still one episode remaining in this series, so there is still room for something more to happen, but it just felt like the wind was taken out from underneath the wings on this particular element of the story.
The typical Telltale Games performance issues seemed to be a tad bit worse than the previous episodes in Batman – The Telltale Series, with slowdown happening way too often and the usual graphical jitteriness in certain spots. We have come to look past some of the more minor complications that these games and episodes usually have, and really only touch on aspects when they are more prevalent than usual. Guardian of Gotham is one of those examples where it’s worth mentioning.
Batman – The Telltale Series Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham definitely has a lot of good going for it, being a part of one of the best series Telltale Games has crafted to date. But it is definitely the weakest episode up to now for this otherwise stellar game. We are anxiously awaiting Episode 5, which judging by release schedules for these four episodes, should be sometime next month. Let’s hope Batman – The Telltale Series goes out with a bang!