To the Breaking Point
This month’s release of Batman: Ep. 3 brings with it a poignant theme of breaking points: How far will it take to reach yours? Like all humans, Bruce Wayne will eventually reach his- what will happen when he gets there? Furthermore, what happens if Batman reaches his breaking point first? And what of Harvey Dent’s breaking point? The focus of this episode centers around questions such as these; and it is with these questions that Telltale is able to enthrall their audience once again.
Episode 3 tends to be a make-or-break episode in terms of overall quality of all Telltale’s series. Shining examples of Telltale’s Episode Threes include Long Road Ahead (The Walking Dead) and A Crooked Mile (The Wolf Among Us). Not-so-shining examples include The Last Place You Look (Minecraft: Story Mode) and The Sword in the Darkness (Game of Thrones). It isn’t that the last two examples are BAD, but they just don’t live up to the standards set by the first two examples. Batman: Ep. 3 fits comfortably with the shining examples; It is a great example of how an interactive narrative can provide intriguing ways to tell a story.
As I mentioned, this game is all about breaking points. Episode 2 left us at a really harrowing point in the story… spoiler warning for Episodes 1 & 2 (check out my review for Episode 2 here. And while you’re at it, check out my review for Episode 1 here.) If you made the choice to save Catwoman, Harvey Dent’s face is fried. That’s the choice that I made, an as such I am dealing with a Dent on the verge of Two-Facism. That is the first breaking point you have to deal with… Harvey is obviously mentally unstable, but should you put forth effort to help him? He’s your friend, sure- but he may be past the point of help. Would it be safer to put him in his place now before he goes fully “duality of man” on Gotham? Episode 3 forces its audience to make uncomfortable decisions about those around you- decisions that you’d almost rather leave to a coin flip.
These difficult dilemmas continue on into Bruce’s personal life. Not only is his family name under fire, but his own legacy has taken a hit. Furthermore, pressure from the GCPD and Dent force Batman to join the ranks of the unwanted; despite Wayne’s continuing goodwill, it seems as though the world is against both him and his alter-ego. Telltale is adept at projecting Bruce’s frustrations onto the player, as there were multiple times when my ‘anger’ bubbled to the surface and forced the playboy billionaire to act rashly. That’s the true power of this episode; Now that I finally know the characters, I feel as though this is ‘my’ story. In all the other episodes, I felt as though I was an outsider to the tale. This time, I was the Bat.
Overall, Episode 3 sets up the rest of the series to come to an epic head. New World Order employs great effort in tying multiple story lines together in order to deliver a more concise, focused plot. I am more invested in this story than ever, and that’s exactly what you want from the midpoint episode. While the brunt of the gameplay remained empty, the story really came forth as the star of the show. I am fascinated at where it will take us… especially after that classic Telltale cliffhanger ending.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Android, IOS; Publisher: Telltale Games ; Developer: Telltale Games; Players: 1 ; Released: October 25, 2016 ; ESRB: M for Mature ; MSRP: $4.99 (Episode 3 only), $24.99 (Full Season)
Full disclosure: This review is based on a PlayStation 4 review copy of Batman: A Telltale Series given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.