Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children Of Arkham Review (PS4)

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buy Lyrica australia To me, Telltale’s second episode in each of their various series’ tends to be the weakest. More often than not, I find that from a written perspective the stories they are trying to tell are caught in a weird middle ground of trying to progress the overall narrative while also trying to avoid reaching the climax too soon. In this second episode of Batman: The Telltale Series I found that for the most part, the same held true.

Children of Arkham picks up where Episode 1 left off with Bruce still reeling from the realization that his parents used to be criminals themselves. This leads to Bruce having a rather interesting conversation with Carmine Falcone at the Gotham Police Department. This moment at the GPD ends up being one of the more notable scenes in the second episode and it really sets the narrative in motion. Everything after this opening however, felt a bit lackluster.

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Overall, the game’s story still hasn’t really grabbed me yet. Things begin picking up in the final act of this episode, but for the most part, I don’t feel invested in the narrative thus far. Much like I anticipated, Episode 2 was caught somewhere in the middle between setting up the rest of the series’ narrative while also trying to stand on its own two feet. There hasn’t been anything specific that I have disliked about Batman: The Telltale Series so far but there’s also been nothing that has stood out. I’m hoping that the narrative setup that occurs in Children of Arkham pays off in episodes 3, 4, and 5.

The one thing I do appreciate about this series is that Telltale isn’t afraid to change common truths that have always been prevalent in Batman lore. They’ve turned Bruce’s parents into former crime lords and have made the Penguin a skinny guy who gets his name from the mask he wears rather than the physical deformities he has. It’s nice to know that I haven’t seen this version of Batman before. It keeps me on my toes because I never know how they could decide to mix things up next. As a fan who has read and watched a lot of different Batman related media, it’s refreshing to see someone try to make this universe their own.

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About midway through the episode, I started thinking that they should change the game’s name to Bruce Wayne: The Telltale Series. You spend about 75% of your time in the billionaire playboy’s shoes this episode. There’s some cool parts where you play as Batman but they’re fewer and farther between this time compared to Episode 1. At one point, you are given the option to approach a situation as either Bruce or Batman. I chose to approach it as Batman mainly because I wanted a reason to don the cowl. While this isn’t necessarily a major issue for me, I hope the playing time between the two sides of Bruce Wayne aren’t this lopsided going forward.

The most interesting thing to me in this second episode was the introduction of the Children of Arkham. This titular group isn’t revealed until the final chapter but I found them to be the most intriguing part of Episode 2. Like I mentioned before, Telltale is doing new things in this Batman universe and the Children of Arkham are one of those new things. I’ve never seen this group before and because of that, they have my attention. I have some theories about how they might fit into the overarching plot and I also have some ideas about about who their leader might be. I’m looking forward to seeing if my predictions are correct in Episode 3.

As I previously mentioned, the conclusion of this episode is the highlight of Batman: The Telltale Series so far. There are some really fantastic combat scenarios involving Catwoman that I greatly enjoyed. I like how this series let’s you plan out all of your attacks in the shadows before executing them on the unaware thugs that you’re prowling upon. I also think the mechanic of telling Catwoman who and when to attack is really nifty. These moments make you feel powerful and it’s something that you would see straight out of a Batman comic.

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Not only was the combat in the final act fantastic, but the game’s ending decision is a tough one that should have major ramifications on the future of the series. After making my decision at the end of this episode, I immediately wondered whether or not I had made the right move. The choice you make has an incredible sense of weight to it and I’m really looking forward to seeing with how they deal with its fallout in Episode 3. Typically, Telltale tries to find a way to merge the major decisions in their game’s down a similar path to keep all players on a comparable trajectory in the narrative they are creating. I’m hoping that this time the way things play out in subsequent episodes is completely different depending on the decision you make in this episode’s closing moments.

Lastly, I wanted to touch on some issues I had with the game’s performance. I talked about this briefly in my review for Episode 1 and I decided that I wouldn’t mention it again in every subsequent episode to prevent myself from being repetitive. However, the performance of this second episode was so horrid that I couldn’t go without mentioning it in some regard. Episode 2 of this Batman series is probably the worst experience I have ever had in any Telltale game in terms of performance. The intro area in Crime Alley is especially awful and the frame rate dropped so low for me that it looked like Bruce was teleporting around the environment. I mentioned in my previous review that it is downright ridiculous that these problems keep persisting and that still holds true. I’m not accepting this from Telltale any longer. When I see these performance issues, it has a direct effect on the score I give the game and how I view the product as a whole. It’s one thing to overlook problems like this from time to time. When they consistently happen throughout my playthrough of the game though, I take serious issue with it. If not for the fact that I am reviewing this series, I would consider boycotting Telltale’s games until they fixed these all too common problems.

While this second episode felt slower in pace, its final chapter was well executed and you can begin to see the direction that the story is heading. I’m still not in love with the series so far but Episode 2 leaves you wanting more, which is always a good thing. I’m excited to play Episode 3 and uncover more of what is going on in this version of Gotham that Telltale has made.

Logan Moore
the authorLogan Moore
Logan is a video production student from Indianapolis and has been playing video games since he was in diapers. When he's not playing games, he's probably watching the Chicago Cubs and praying that God one day delivers them a championship.