Goon Review: Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 4 – Guardian of Gotham

(Submitted by Andrew “Goon-y Goon” Peters…Thank you, ho-mie!! 🙂 xoxo)

I’d like to start off by mentioning that if we’re gonna keep talking about this game, I can’t do much to hold back on spoilers that have previously happened. Having said that, we’re gonna be jumping into some major ones right away, so consider that your only warning.

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Things are not looking good for Bruce Wayne. After having to resign and hand his company over to Oswald Cobblepot, he’s immediately drugged by Vicki Vale who reveals herself to be the notorious new villain that’s been causing panic all over the city, Lady Arkham. With a high dose of drugs in his veins, Bruce jumps Oswald Cobblepot, which is caught on the news and Harvey has him committed to Arkham Asylum, which is supposed to be ironic seeing as it’s where his father sent many others. Bruce awakens in a cell and is almost immediately jumped by a couple of inmates sent there by his father after they pay off a guard, but a rather unsuspecting… erm, ally comes to his aide. One with a smile and a grin that they call John Doe seeing as they don’t know his real name. I gotta say, at first I was worried about them working this specific character into the story, seeing as he tends to be a show stealer and this story needed to be about Bruce, but his introduction is short, serves a purpose and is really well done. Gotta give the writers major kudos for pulling that off and to the voice actor for not trying to do impressions of the previous actors that have portrayed this character and instead going with something like a James Woods impression that actually really works. Also wanted to point out the cameo by Arnold Wesker, aka the Ventriloquist.

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Bruce’s stay at Arkham isn’t exactly friendly, seeing as everyone from staff to inmates want to kill him, not to mention Lady Arkham and Penguin running amok and starting a war with Harvey, so it’s time to get out of here, but how? Well, you are given the decision to go along with John Doe’s plan when a fight breaks out, so you can stop that. To me, Bruce would always try to do the right thing, so I tried to stop the fight, which was a fun little action scene, but only landed me in a one on one with a doctor. Luckily, Alfred comes to the rescue and has you taken out of that miserable place, but John Doe reminds Bruce about paying a visit to the Vale residence, so off we go! Well, a quick stop by Wayne manor first to have a chat with Selina and Alfred and whether or not you should lose your shit on some bystanders blocking your car. There’s something I haven’t mentioned yet, something that is presented throughout all of Telltale’s games; you do have the option to say nothing at all and there are very rare times, like as I found with the latter, it’s best at times to remain silent.

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Onward to the Vale’s home and someone really should have tidied up the place, I mean, Batman is stopping by after all. Yes, someone has torn apart the Vale’s home and killed Mr. and Mrs. Vale, but who it could it be a I wonder? Who on Earth could have done this? It’s no secret who did it, but the why is the real mystery here. Once again, you dive back into detective mode as you piece together the puzzle and it’s much easier this time around and somehow less stale feeling. Either it was really starting to grow on me or maybe it was investigating a murder inside a home that made me feel more like a detective. Nonetheless, that cursed Cobblepot sends a drone to stop you, but Batman vs. a drone? C’mon, who do you think is gonna win? Well, turns out Batman’s gadgets don’t work on the drone, meaning Oswald has upgraded the drones and this Batman is basically defenseless. Note how I said “this Batman”. Throughout this game, I don’t think Batman has much of a presence. You spend a fair amount of time playing as him and, yes I am aware this is more of a Bruce Wayne game, but Batman is really… weak, for the lack of a better word. He doesn’t come off as threatening and you don’t get the impression that bad guys all over Gotham fear him. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I feel like Telltale is making Batman the weakest link in his own game.

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Where one problem is solved, there’s always another to be solved, amirite? Harvey has gone totally bonkers at this point and is basically waging a war against the Children of Arkham, which I know sounds like a good thing, except he’s willing to do it at the expense of civilians or whoever just happens to be in the way. You’re presented with the choice of confronting him as Batman or as Bruce and personally, I chose Bruce, because I felt it’s something he would try to do; talk some sense into his friend. Of course, for me, it didn’t go so well and I found myself on the knees in the middle of an alley… hey, THAT’S not what was going to happen. I should backup. Harvey murders a whole bunch of innocent people by blowing up places he thinks Children of Arkham are operating and thinks of the old Tyler Durden saying, “if you wanna make an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs.” Bruce doesn’t agree and Harvey thinks he should die, so he sends a couple of cops to cap Bruce in the back of an alley, but luckily Bruce manages to buy some time with some suave talking and just in time for Gordon to save his neck. There are a lot of coincidental close calls in this game that I am doubting the intelligence and skill of both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

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Things were getting pretty intense and they show no signs of slowing down as you’re again thrown into a situation that you must choose between either stopping Harvey who has learned of Bruce’s escape and storming Wayne Manor or heading to Wayne Enterprises to stop Penguin from screwing with all your techy bat-shit. Once again acting as the moral police, I decided to do what I think Batman would really do and I headed back to Wayne Manor to save my buddy Alfred where I was treated to an action sequence that led to a final showdown with Harvey! I feel like this scene would have played out much cooler if I had let Penguin burn half his face off. This was the point where I noticed that all of these choices are playing out like I failed to save Harvey back at the debate and maybe should have never slept with Selina and saved her instead. But that’s what these games do to ya to get you back in saddle for another playthrough. Touche, Telltale.

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Since I opted to stop Harvey, Penguin is nearly about to breach the Bat-computer, comprising everything, so Batman himself chucks a bat-a-rang at the biggest wire in site and shuts it all down, because that’s how that works. Now all of his gear is offline, so I’m sure I just made the final episode real enjoyable. Great, no toys.
With Harvey now out of the picture, that leaves just Penguin and Lady Arkham herself, but more trouble is sure to get in the way. I have to say that even with all my gripes and nitpicks, I’m still really enjoying this game and I have to hand it to the writers at Telltale for telling a really gripping Batman story. Aside from the titular character himself, I find the characters to be absolutely compelling and really interesting, so hopefully we can see Batman act a little more competent in the final episode!

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