Game Review | Batman: The Telltale Series | Season 1, Episode 5 | "City of Light"
Episode Summary: The battle for control of Gotham intensifies, reaching a fevered pitch as Bruce discovers a renewed sense of purpose and Batman finds himself pushed to the limits in a desperate effort to restore order.
With the previous episode not being very good at all, there was a worry that the whole series would go out with a whimper, rather than a bang. That turns out not to be the case with a finale that is good, if not great, and a relatively satisfying end to the Children of Arkham story-line.
There was a bit of a bug right at the start, with the ‘previously on…’ montage showing a character present for a scene when they weren’t there in this play-through, which led to a worry that things could get a bit glitchy, but a couple of minor frame rate drops aside, there were no other noticeable technical issues.
As for the plot, the Penguin story-line is quickly dealt with, albeit in a far more satisfying manner than what happened with Two-Face at the climax of “Guardian of Gotham”, as Bruce Wayne – not Batman – teams up with Lieutenant Gordon to take him down.
Penguin was a good villain overall, as he was so easily hateable, but what actually were legitimate grievances with how his family was treated ended up coming across as whiny thanks to his attitude. Easy to hate, but also forgettable as he felt more like a low-level punk getting in over his head.
After that, there’s a nice scene between Bruce and Selina as she heads away from Gotham, with the possibility of both a continuing romance and another Batman/Catwoman team-up in the air. Hopefully these two will interact again in future seasons as they do make quite the couple.
From then on, it’s all Children of Arkham, all the time until the end of the episode. This just makes their almost total absence from “Guardian of Gotham” so perplexing. I think there are a few scenes in these last two episodes that could have been re-arranged just a little and would have improved the flow of the narrative by a fair margin.
As it is, the remainder of “City of Light” turns out to be an enjoyable, if formulaic, adventure, with Batman tracking down Lady Arkham, who has kidnapped Alfred in an attempt to get revenge on the Wayne family for what they did to the villain’s parents.
There’s further fleshing out of her backstory along the way, adding greater tragedy to her past to explain her present actions, but it’s unfortunately clear that, like any Batman villain, she is too mentally unstable to be reasoned with.
This is actually a bit of a shame, as the character work has been the best thing about this series, and to have it just end with a (too long) fist-fight is a little disappointing. Lady Arkham is apparently killed, but the body is never recovered, so I’m not going to rule out her reappearance just yet – hopefully she can get a better send-off.
Then again, while the story does explore her tragic past, it’s never explained where she got her money or fighting skills from. How can she afford all her equipment and henchmen? Why can she go toe-to-toe with a ‘master’ martial artist like Batman?
Maybe it would’ve been better to keep Dent’s turn into Two-Face for another season to flesh out the original villain this time around? Or maybe give a hint that someone is funding her to cause trouble – Ra’s Al-Ghul possibly? Who knows, this could easily turn out to be the case at some point.
“City of Light” isn’t perfect, and the season as a whole still ranks below The Wolf Among Us and the first season of The Walking Dead for Telltale, but it’s still a worthy finale to the first adventure with this version of the Dark Knight and leaves you looking forward to a second season.
Batman: The Telltale Series - Season One overall impression: A strong debut season for the Dark Knight, although not without its hiccups. It looks and sounds great, but the on-going issue with Telltale games of the plot deciding character choices rather than vice versa is still present.
I get that this kind of problem is difficult to circumvent while still maintaining the slim illusion of choice, but fortunately this series has a surplus of atmosphere to compensate for it. Having too many antagonists and plots to tie up, almost derailed things at the very end, but Batman held on and this is definitely one of Telltale's better efforts so far.
A review of Season Two will be coming at some point in 2018, along with plenty more Telltale series.