August 2016 saw the launch of Batman — The Telltale series, with episode 1 showcasing a first look at Telltale’s take on the caped crusader. Though competent in its storytelling, I found the debut a little underwhelming. So when Episode 2 dropped the following month, I was curious to see where the series would go from there.
Episode 2, titled “Children of Arkham”, picks up not long after the conclusion of Episode 1. There were nods and a winks to some of the choices I made in the previous chapter, though it didn’t really feel like they made too much of an impact on the overall story. That’s not to say my choices didn’t matter, but being this early in both the episode and the series, it was (and still is) too early to tell.
This episode doesn’t introduce any new game mechanics and simply builds on the foundation set by the previous installment. Luckily, by the time it hits the half way mark, things really started to pick up. There’s still a lot of Bruce Wayne, so anyone hoping to spend most of their time flipping around as Batman may be a little disappointed. If you happen to be in the aforementioned group, then you should probably know that, given the right circumstances, Bruce Wayne isn’t afraid to throw a few punches either. There is, however, a certain degree of choice in the matter, as at one point players are given the option of visiting a certain gentleman wearing a tie or a cape. For anyone interested, I chose the tie.
Story wise, it’s a step up in pace from the previous episode. The intrigue surrounding Batman’s parents thickens as Bruce slowly learns the truth behind his family fortune and social status, while being drowned in accusations and slander. Meanwhile the “revolution”, only hinted at in Realm of Shadows, starts to take shape and a new villain is revealed. At some points it even felt like the plot was going too fast, with Batman and Catwoman’s rocky alliance moving forward a little too quickly, as a prime example.
The episode concludes with one heck of a choice (especially if you’re familiar with the comics), and an ending that screams “this is where the episode ends” before the credits even have a chance to poke their head out from under the screen. It left me both satisfied and wanting more — hardly a complaint. What may be a deterrent to some is the episode’s length, clocking in at approximately 90 minutes. On a positive note, I had no further technical issues with episode 2, and everything ran smoothly from start to finish.
Episode 2 improves on its predecessor in terms of plot and pacing as well as offering a potentially MAJOR fork in its story, though how true this statement is remains to be determined by future installments. Barring its length, players who enjoyed the first episode, as well as those that found it a little slow, should be satisfied with what this one has to offer. It’s a step up, so here’s hoping Episode 3 is even better.