Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 4: Guardian Of Gotham Review

Episode four of Telltale’s Batman series, Guardian of Gotham, adds a small amount of tension to an already very dramatic, multi-faceted series, but doesn’t make much story progress while doing so. Jumping off of episode three’s cliffhanger, the first minutes are rife with exciting, anxious tension from the get-go, but it almost completely throws that away with poor pacing decisions in the first act.

Shoehorned-in introduction of the Joker.

Episode four opens with the blatantly shoehorned-in introduction of Telltale’s version of the Joker, who unfortunately has no bearing on any of the conflicts I’m invested in. A character I should be enamoured with and excited about instead felt like a frustrating, heavy-handed brick wall standing between me and those I’ve spent around eight in-game hours developing relationships with. And Bruce Wayne’s decision to sit by the Joker and listen to him spout character-building nonsense totally ignores all of the remarkably pressing personal and professional issues it seems like he should be focused on, too, which is wildly out of character.

Batman: A Telltale Game Series Official Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham Trailer

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A few other Batman villains are introduced as well, and, disappointing pacing issues aside, each continues the series’ trend of presenting unexpected versions of popular DC characters that keep even dedicated Batman fans guessing. This episode even highlights how Gotham’s civilians feel about Bruce Wayne’s escalating controversies, giving the city as a whole a voice and adding another realized stakeholder to consider during my decision making. The same applies to Batman separately, too, with a young boy I tried to rescue being noticeably terrified of my reputation as a hardened vigilante. The city blames the Waynes for corruption and Batman for inciting fear and violence, and seeing those themes explored a larger scale adds to your sense of presence in Gotham.

The most impactful decision in the series.

The final parts of the episode present what seems like the most impactful decision in the series yet, too, with surprisingly different outcomes that I can’t wait to watch unfold in the series finale, coming in the next episode. Unlike episode three’s slightly frustrating cliffhanger, this potentially enormous setback for Bruce leaves me with exciting, lingering questions that make me want to play the last two episodes twice, just to see the difference.

Episode four does suffer from performance problems, with several instances in combat sequences where audio drops out, or there simply isn’t any. It’s a little hard to feel like you’re really Batman when you kick someone and the impact doesn’t make any sound at all. Some of the audio mixing is a little off, too, with voices being almost too quiet to hear against music, or noticeably different volumes from one another.

Batman: A Telltale Series Episode 3: New World Order Review

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That said, the fighting animation is still entertainingly choreographed and continues to introduce fancy new Wayne Tech gadgets to keep you on your toes. Environments are dense and varied, too, with some particularly nice views of Gotham’s sprawling skyline this time around. Arkham Asylum itself was a low point visually, looking much more like a bland, empty prison than the grand but disastrous hellhole that earlier episodes paint it to be, but that’s really only in comparison to how delightfully colorful everything else is.

The returning detective mode sequences make fewer appearances in episode four, but are still far too simple to justify how slow they are. They feel a little more like a drawn-out game of connect the dots than the actual detective work that fits Batman – it’s just slowly walking around environments connecting very obvious clues to one another.

Batman: The Telltale Game Series Review

The Verdict

While this is the weakest episode in Batman’s Telltale series yet, my investment in the unpredictable, multi-layered plot hasn’t wavered, thanks to the critical state of each of Bruce Wayne’s relationships. Episode four’s first act felt like it was just filling in time for the season finale, but some conflicts have still been built upon, including showcasing how the people of Gotham are reacting to the intense political climate. I’m still excited to jump into the season finale – especially to see the consequence of the series’ weightiest decision.

Editors’ Choice

Okay

This poorly paced episode thankfully hasn’t killed my excitement for the series finale.

22 Nov 2016


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