The penultimate episode of Batman – The Telltale Series is upon us. Iām incredibly curious to see how it all ends, but in the meantime, I think Episode Four: Guardian of Gotham sets everything up pretty well for that last push. Barring the usual problems that come with most Telltale’s mobile iterations, of course.
Although I suppose thatās not entirely fair of me to say. Yes, the usual animation jank and some of those shadow oddities are still present, and now the sound effects/dialog will randomly cut out every now and then, but a semi-recent update has noticeably improved the load times. Youāll still be staring at a black screen with a tiny bat symbol in the bottom corner from time to time, but you wonāt be staring at it for nearly as long — thank goodness.
As for the episode itself, itās a bit disappointing in parts, but pretty good overall. Bruce Wayne finds himself locked up in Arkham Asylum thanks to what went down at the end of the previous episode, creating a unique situation. I mean, how often does Bruce Wayne (not Batman) show his face is the infamous facility? It creates an intriguing start thatās full of possibilities: getting a patientās perspective on Arkham, daring escape plans, questioning reality, and even having a few cameo appearances from as-yet-unseen but well-known series villains.
ButĀ then itās over in twenty minutes, and barely anything happens.
I didnāt expect the entire episode to take place in Arkham, but I expected more than what we got. Itās the missed opportunity that bothers me more than anything. What happens instead is fine, and there are definitely some cool and interesting cameos (some probably a lot more recognizable than others), but itās functionally just an exposition dump — something to tell players whatās happened since the events of the last episode via a few bits of dialog and a TV news clip. So much potential, wasted.
Once Bruce gets out — Iād joke about spoilers but come on, we all knew thereās no way heād spend the rest of the game/his life in there — itās back to business. Kind of. Remember how things have been getting steadily worse for our hero throughout every single episode? Well that trend continues. Now Gotham is essentially under martial law, with heavily armed and armored āenforcersā patrolling the streets as an overblown response to the threat posed by The Children of Arkham and their mind-altering drugs. Oh, and someoneās started to hack into Batmanās network, wreaking havoc with a lot of his high tech toys and generally making his job even tougher than it has to be.
Eventually, Batman has to make a desperate choice between stopping the hacker or defending Bruce Wayneās home. And after that, it just sort of ends. Iām assuming the final showdown of the episode would differ depending on which path you take, but I canāt imagine one being significantly longer or more involved than the other (and Iām not replaying it to find out). It felt pretty abrupt to be honest. Whatās there was good, certainly, but this episode feels so much shorter than the others. It could be my imagination, or my perception could have been thrown off because I’ve becomeĀ invested in the story, but I canāt help wishing there was more.
When viewed as one piece of a much larger whole, Guardian of Gotham delivers. There are some good looking new locations to visit, some fun nods to Batman lore here and there, and yet another cliffhanger to make you want to come back one final time. As a standalone piece, itās short, and there wasnāt nearly enough Arkham Asylum. I guess itās a good thing you canāt simply drop in on the second to last episode, huh?