It’s time for Episode 2 of Batman: The Telltale Series. Does it live up to the fun and promise of Episode 1? Is it Vengeance? Is it the Night? Is it Good?
In short, kind of. Note: this contains some light spoilers for Episode 1.
Episode 1 gave us some pretty intense learnings about the Wayne Family. Thomas Wayne was connected to organized crime, his billions built on scams and corruption, and his squeaky clean image was a front. These are things that have quite an impact on Bruce Wayne.
I expected Episode 2 to open up and make me (and Bruce) feel better, by quashing those connections, revealing the the Batman’s parents are worth all the hard work and dedication he’s gone through, but nope. We get MORE evidence of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s connections, and even more soul crushing impact on the Dark Knight.
This is a high point for me. We have several more episodes to come, and with the focus split between The Bat and The Billionaire, a mystery for each of them to solve is very welcome. I’ll also admit that this is kicking me out of my Batman comfort zone. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the R.I.P. storyline by Morrison, or the potential Wayne sibling a la The Court of Owls, as those disturbed the one thing about Batman I keep sancrosact: his origin.
Telltale has their own world to play in, so they are taking advantage by making their mark. Batman’s parents are not victims of a mugging, they’re a mob hit. They were not the paragons of public giving and private success, they’re connected. All the foundations that Bruce built his new life as a living vengeance machine, now sits on an angle, in earthquake territory.
On the low side, this is an episode about punching things, scaring things, punching things, and repeating, which is not what Telltale does well. The quality action sequence of the first episode, all about planning and timing, does make a reappearance, but there’s also a random bar fight that is all quicktime reaction. What’s not included, and is very missed, is a detective sequence. When you’re given a Batman game where communication and investigation play very well to the play style, don’t give me more action/punching sequences. I can pop Arkham Knight in and get a much richer experience there. Make me use Bruce Wayne’s charm and Batman’s detective skills; things I don’t get enough of in any other game.
Slight spoiler: there is a sequence where you have to choose how to confront someone, as either Bruce or the Bat, but neither felt right. My attempt at Bruce left me feeling like my skills were not solid enough in being charming, and as the Bat, not scary enough to make an impact.
Overall, I enjoyed this as a bridge between the full experience of episode 1: charm, fighting, and detective work, into what felt like a very fight heavy episode 2. If episode 3 is a complete detective experience, and 4 makes me work Bruce Wayne’s public persona, I’ll feel better than if this is what to expect going forward.