Game Review | Batman: The Telltale Series | Season 1, Episode 3 | "New World Order"
Episode Summary: With Gotham on the brink and Bruce under fire, a new generation of supervillains rise to prominence and threaten to overturn the traditional institutions of power.
This series is turning out to be one of the strongest yet from Telltale, as the story continues along nicely, with some great character work and what are still the strongest visuals of any Telltale game to date.
This isn’t coming from someone who is a massive Bat-fan either, just someone who enjoys the character when portrayed believably rather than as the infallible ‘Batgod’ the Dark Knight can sometimes be depicted as.
In this series, it’s still relatively near the start of Batman’s crime-fighting career and his rogues’ gallery hasn’t been developed yet, although this episode finally sees Harvey Dent tip over the edge after the events of “Children of Arkham” to become Two-Face, even if that name isn’t used just yet.
That’s actually one of the highlights of the episode, especially a scene between Bruce, Selina Kyle and Harvey in Selina’s apartment, where the depths of Dent’s mental instability are laid bare to see.
That it came the morning after Bruce and Selina spent the night together just twists the knife a little, helping to place some of the blame on the player for pushing Bruce’s friend over the edge. Just to point out, you can choose to not sleep with Catwoman if you want to avoid that bout of guilt.
Harvey’s descent into insanity is well-done, which balances out the relatively poor first showdown between Batman and the leader of the Children of Arkham, Lady Arkham. I appreciate the twist on Batman lore to create this new antagonist, but their plan only works because of typical Telltale narrative railroading.
The Penguin doesn’t fare much better this time out, being appointed CEO of Wayne Enterprises after Bruce is forced to ‘voluntarily’ step down by the board; It’s a little too clean and easy for a series that is trying to be relatively complex and realistic.
This isn’t to blame the performers, with the entire voice cast continuing to shine, although some of the forced narrative means I didn’t hear too much of Bruce Wayne as the most in-character option seemed to be to remain silent on more than one occasion.
One other glaring criticism for this episode comes right at the start, after being given a choice to help one of two people out after they are separately targeted by the Children of Arkham. Without warning, you are thrown into a combat sequence and the first input is a two-key combination.
For me, not expecting anything and the window for a response being very short, failed to complete the action and Batman was shot and killed. Very funny admittedly, with the Dark Knight arriving in dramatic style only to be unceremoniously gunned down as if he was the world’s worst vigilante.
My criticism is the poor design choice here: why throw the player from what has so far been a slower, point-and-click experience straight into a combat sequence without warning, especially one that immediately requires a two-button input in a very short window of time or it’s game over?
Surely the better option would’ve been a single button press with a larger amount of time for the unprepared player to respond, or even have the sequence continue if the player fails? Especially as there are scenes later where this actually happens?
Now that’s a lot of words for a minor complaint, but it does stick out like a sore thumb compared to how well-crafted the rest of the episode is. "New World Order" looks great, it sounds great, the performances are excellent and the dialogue is spot-on, even if the story still doesn’t quite work perfectly.