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And so we have reached the end, well… of the season anyway. For while you finally get to face off against Lady Arkham, there is always someone waiting in the wings.
Trigger Warning(s): Blood & Story of Child Abuse
Play Through Time
1 Hour and 23 Minutes
So much to do, so many lives at stake, and all the while you are trying to maintain this difficult balance of being Bruce Wayne and Batman. What will you decide? Will you be sympathetic towards Two-Face and Lady Arkham, or despite the hostages, despite what they’ve been through, will you antagonize them? When it comes to perhaps the person dearest to you, Alfred, will you allow him to be sacrificed for the greater good or perhaps end everything to keep the last family member you know of alive. Also, lest we forget, Selina. Do you think what she tells you is the truth or a lie? Do you want to believe you see more in her than she lets on or do you follow that Maya Angelou saying of “When someone tells you who they are, believe them?”
A Story For The Ages
There is a reason TellTale Games has become a beloved company, one which may very well be on par with Square Enix, Naughty Dog, and this is despite being not churning out what they graphically exhibit. You know why? Because for them, it is all about the gameplay and story. While games like Mass Effect may feature dialog wheels, allow you to choose between being antagonistic or the good guy, they also contain a huge amount of fluff and are bloated to justify that $60 purchase, even before you talk about DLC.
That is, as opposed to games like Batman which cuts the fat, gets to the point, and it is like crafting your own episode of Batman, decision by decision, punch by punch, and truly reminding you video games are an interactive medium. True interaction, meaningful interaction. Not just about pretty landscapes, as many characters crammed into scenarios as possible without any real significance, and having you travel for hours over an entire play through to add time to how long it takes to beat a game.
With all that said, I haven’t been so engaged with a game, movie, TV shows, Live Performance, what have you, in ages. The action was well placed, the decisions dealing with whether I should try to appeal to Harvey or instigate with Two-Face made me feel I held characters life in my hands. Hell, maybe my own! Then with Selina, it is the complicated romance you wished would happen in action movies. The kind where the woman has as much backstory as the man and rather than the woman melting in the palm of the guy’s hand, you have the option of making Bruce vulnerable, willing to fight for Selina’s love or to just discard it like she was just a piece of ass? Then the battle with Lady Arkham. Be it the reveal of Vicki Vale’s past, which admittedly was kind of predictable, to whether Alfred mattered to you enough to sacrifice Batman for his safety, unlike many a game, there was this constant fear of letting your hand off the controller. I mean, if this game was as long as most AAA titles, or if I played this from episode 1 – 5 straight through, I’d probably experience early onset carpal tunnel from my hands being locked in place. Just waiting.
What’s The Point of the Quick Time Buttons?
Many times I hit the wrong buttons, especially when it wasn’t a move of the joystick buy X, Y, A or B and there was no penalization. Also, it seemed there was a bit too much time given to hit those buttons too. Thus reminding you that, in the end, you’re batman and the only way you can screw up is by not participating at all.
The Investigations Were Weak
In comparison to the earlier episodes, the investigations here were more about storytelling, or giving you a break from the action, than being a puzzle to solve. It was kind of a disappointment for me but, on the flip side, if they were overly difficult I might be complaining about how it felt like a pause button vs. giving you a breather.
Overall: Positive (Buy)
Be it The Walking Dead, Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, or in the future Guardians of the Galaxy, as noted before, TellTale Games has become the new THQ. The only difference being, all these licensed products they have, they respect the fans. They deliver an interactive comic book, or graphic novel, like they are next level Goosebumps tales. Making where, honestly, the only failings are quick time events being more than win or lose situations, in which you are heavily favored to win, and when you do get the chance to move around, investigate, maybe interact with characters, it meaning something. For, not since the first season of their Walking Dead game, that hasn’t been done.