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Found 4 results

  1. After a flat third entry, What Ails You ratchets up the excitement and, more importantly, the variety. The fog surrounding The Pact’s scheme finally dissipates and John Doe’s personal journey hits a major climax. What Ails You focuses on paying off choices. Primarily, the consequences of the player’s interactions with John Doe culminate in an intense and well-executed confrontation. Many of the conversations player had with John resurface in surprising, mostly logical ways, making his turn feel developed and nuanced. An element of inconsistency remains; John still admired Batman despite choosing to totally shun him in the previous episode. Overall, though, Telltale does a good job of making you feel greatly responsible for whichever man John chooses to be. During the episode’s explosive climax I found myself thinking “What have I done?” Everything hits the fan as the scope of The Pact’s goals, along with grander schemes involving the Agency, begin to crystallize. A good thing too, as the overall plot suffered from a lack of direction in the last episode. Their surprisingly personal motivations add a layer of humanity to the cast of rogues (save for Mr. Freeze who’s always had that) even if the more villainous aspect of the plan remains somewhat nebulous. Subplots like Alfred’s mental anguish and the Tiffany Fox saga receive some screen time but still don’t contribute much to the big picture as of yet. Decisions weave several divergent paths. The exciting opening chapter plays out in two very different ways depending on how players chose to conclude Fractured Mask. Seeing my actions result in such substantial differences excited and relieved me after the second episode’s final choice went nowhere. The same applies to the final chapter, with two equally exciting outcomes that I can’t wait to follow up on. Unfortunately, the prolonged delay between episodes has made it tough to remember the finer points of the story. Though a problem with this season as a whole, that came to a head here where players receive answers to questions I’d forgotten were asked. I also have a particular bone to pick with the story: what’s up with so many people learning Batman’s identity? If this keeps up, Bruce may as well out himself like Tony Stark did. We thankfully learn how Amanda Waller became privy to that knowledge, though Bruce still refuses to logically delve deeper into the matter. A couple of new wrinkles to gameplay offer welcomed freshness, like pouncing atop Bane and using the shoulder buttons to pummel him in first-person. Ultimately, the amount of interactivity remains the same: the occasional light puzzle and timed-button action sequence without any standouts. Conclusion: What Ails You serves as a good penultimate episode and probably the most memorable installment since Episode 1. The episode flies by thanks to eye-widening surprises, some much-needed clarity, and high-stakes drama. John Doe undoubtedly steals the show and his transformation looks to set up a thrilling season finale. If only we didn’t have to wait so long to play it.
  2. After a flat third entry, What Ails You ratchets up the excitement and, more importantly, the variety. The fog surrounding The Pact’s scheme finally dissipates and John Doe’s personal journey hits a major climax. What Ails You focuses on paying off choices. Primarily, the consequences of the player’s interactions with John Doe culminate in an intense and well-executed confrontation. Many of the conversations player had with John resurface in surprising, mostly logical ways, making his turn feel developed and nuanced. An element of inconsistency remains; John still admired Batman despite choosing to totally shun him in the previous episode. Overall, though, Telltale does a good job of making you feel greatly responsible for whichever man John chooses to be. During the episode’s explosive climax I found myself thinking “What have I done?” Everything hits the fan as the scope of The Pact’s goals, along with grander schemes involving the Agency, begin to crystallize. A good thing too, as the overall plot suffered from a lack of direction in the last episode. Their surprisingly personal motivations add a layer of humanity to the cast of rogues (save for Mr. Freeze who’s always had that) even if the more villainous aspect of the plan remains somewhat nebulous. Subplots like Alfred’s mental anguish and the Tiffany Fox saga receive some screen time but still don’t contribute much to the big picture as of yet. Decisions weave several divergent paths. The exciting opening chapter plays out in two very different ways depending on how players chose to conclude Fractured Mask. Seeing my actions result in such substantial differences excited and relieved me after the second episode’s final choice went nowhere. The same applies to the final chapter, with two equally exciting outcomes that I can’t wait to follow up on. Unfortunately, the prolonged delay between episodes has made it tough to remember the finer points of the story. Though a problem with this season as a whole, that came to a head here where players receive answers to questions I’d forgotten were asked. I also have a particular bone to pick with the story: what’s up with so many people learning Batman’s identity? If this keeps up, Bruce may as well out himself like Tony Stark did. We thankfully learn how Amanda Waller became privy to that knowledge, though Bruce still refuses to logically delve deeper into the matter. A couple of new wrinkles to gameplay offer welcomed freshness, like pouncing atop Bane and using the shoulder buttons to pummel him in first-person. Ultimately, the amount of interactivity remains the same: the occasional light puzzle and timed-button action sequence without any standouts. Conclusion: What Ails You serves as a good penultimate episode and probably the most memorable installment since Episode 1. The episode flies by thanks to eye-widening surprises, some much-needed clarity, and high-stakes drama. John Doe undoubtedly steals the show and his transformation looks to set up a thrilling season finale. If only we didn’t have to wait so long to play it. View full article
  3. There’s an axiom for Batman stories: when Joker gets involved, things get real. Even with a relatively minor role, that rings true in Batman’s fourth installment. The Clown Prince of Crime’s menacing presence adds increased tension and chaos to an already tumultuous plot and shines as the main attraction in an otherwise middling episode that sets the table for the grand finale. Bruce’s genuinely unnerving first encounter with his future archenemy opens the game on a high note. After awakening as an inmate of Arkham Asylum following his drug-induced beatdown of Oswald Cobblepot, Bruce finds an unlikely ally in the yet-to-be-named Joker. Known simply as “John Doe,” he eagerly helps Wayne in an escape attempt, but clearly has hidden motives for doing so. Cooperating with Joker feels uneasy and even chilling at times. I actually worried about upsetting the psychotic clown. My concern heightened after witnessing Joker’s trademark viciousness and talent for observation and perception – he knows a lot more than he presumably should. I loved the feeling of unease throughout the opening segment. Additionally, catching glimpses of other soon-to-be adversaries like Mr. Zsasz and Ventriloquist makes for cool teases of what might come in the future. On another, perhaps more personal level, Joker creates an interesting dilemma in decision-making. Years of familiarity with the character taught me not to trust a single word he says, nor entertain any kind of partnership with him. Within the context of the story, though, Bruce lacks that insight. Choosing whether to roleplay an uninformed Wayne or to follow my instincts as an educated Batman fan created a stimulating (and maybe unintentional on Telltale’s part) inner conflict. The lingering effects of the Children of Arkham’s rage drug add a twist to early conversations. Bruce flies off the handle at any moment, making his responses largely unreliable. Although a neat wrinkle that effectively sells the drug’s effect, the anger-induced dialogue may also annoy players aiming to maintain a “paragon” protagonist. During my “nice Batman” playthrough, I got into an altercation with angry citizens. I opted for the “I don’t want any trouble” line only for Wayne to violently threaten to run down the mob with his car, much to my horror. Unless you’re already playing the jerk, here’s my advice: keep your trap shut until you’re cured. Thankfully, that occurs sooner rather than later. Major decision-making has highs and lows. On the latter spectrum, two of New World Order’s major choices - housing Lucius Fox/Catwoman at Wayne Manor or keeping him at Wayne Enterprises/shooing her out of Gotham - culminate into nothing of note. Fox’s role plays out practically the same regardless of where he’s situated. The difference lies in whether or not Lucius provides a new gadget, which merely acts as an alternative, yet insignificant, final blow in a brief skirmish later on. Catwoman’s surprisingly minor role renders the option for her to stay meaningless. Why open the mansion to Selina if nothing substantial comes out of it? On the positive side, a tense negotiation with a fully transformed Two-Face in a “Bruce or Batman?” moment provides sufficiently altered outcomes, including an entire conversation scene exclusive to one path. The immediate follow-up to last episode’s big revelation regarding the identity of the Children of Arkham’s leader, Lady Arkham, results in another relative letdown. A grisly (and still ho-hum) investigation of her childhood home reveals little beyond “she’s a horrible person.” Neat story, but I gathered that much already. Players anxious to learn exactly how Lady Arkham amassed a personal army, a stockpile of chemical weapons, and combat skills to rival Batman’s (among other things) won’t get those answers just yet, unfortunately. Her absence here feels like a strange choice after such important character building. If nothing else, my favorite part of this section centers on Batman’s rescue of a young victim. Not only does it display Batman’s gentler side in a nice change of pace, but it potentially plants a tantalizing seed. Could Telltale be teasing a future Robin? After spending three installments pushing against the crushing weight of Murphy’s Law, having an episode wrap up with a (somewhat) triumphant Dark Knight provides a refreshing change. Deciding which major antagonist to neutralize is yet another hard call, and both paths result in entertaining and intensely personal boss battles. The bittersweet cliffhangers do their job of making me question ignoring the opposite road, but Guardian of Gotham concludes too abruptly for my liking. Conclusion: Batman’s penultimate episode continues to entertain, mostly due to the shot of intrigue Joker injects into the experience. However, between the lack of Lady Arkham, a few unexciting outcomes, and a seemingly shorter length, Guardian of Gotham feels a step below the previous two installments. The serviceable, bland gameplay I’ve harped about before remains such. A few technical hiccups also arose ranging from missing audio effects to hard crashes. My reservations about the hit and miss choices/aftermaths aside, the overall story continues to be a surprising and enjoyable spin on Batman lore. Telltale is doing something right since I’m very much looking forward to witnessing how everything weaves together in the final episode. Batman Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android View full article
  4. Marcus Stewart

    Review: Batman Episode 4 - Guardian of Gotham

    There’s an axiom for Batman stories: when Joker gets involved, things get real. Even with a relatively minor role, that rings true in Batman’s fourth installment. The Clown Prince of Crime’s menacing presence adds increased tension and chaos to an already tumultuous plot and shines as the main attraction in an otherwise middling episode that sets the table for the grand finale. Bruce’s genuinely unnerving first encounter with his future archenemy opens the game on a high note. After awakening as an inmate of Arkham Asylum following his drug-induced beatdown of Oswald Cobblepot, Bruce finds an unlikely ally in the yet-to-be-named Joker. Known simply as “John Doe,” he eagerly helps Wayne in an escape attempt, but clearly has hidden motives for doing so. Cooperating with Joker feels uneasy and even chilling at times. I actually worried about upsetting the psychotic clown. My concern heightened after witnessing Joker’s trademark viciousness and talent for observation and perception – he knows a lot more than he presumably should. I loved the feeling of unease throughout the opening segment. Additionally, catching glimpses of other soon-to-be adversaries like Mr. Zsasz and Ventriloquist makes for cool teases of what might come in the future. On another, perhaps more personal level, Joker creates an interesting dilemma in decision-making. Years of familiarity with the character taught me not to trust a single word he says, nor entertain any kind of partnership with him. Within the context of the story, though, Bruce lacks that insight. Choosing whether to roleplay an uninformed Wayne or to follow my instincts as an educated Batman fan created a stimulating (and maybe unintentional on Telltale’s part) inner conflict. The lingering effects of the Children of Arkham’s rage drug add a twist to early conversations. Bruce flies off the handle at any moment, making his responses largely unreliable. Although a neat wrinkle that effectively sells the drug’s effect, the anger-induced dialogue may also annoy players aiming to maintain a “paragon” protagonist. During my “nice Batman” playthrough, I got into an altercation with angry citizens. I opted for the “I don’t want any trouble” line only for Wayne to violently threaten to run down the mob with his car, much to my horror. Unless you’re already playing the jerk, here’s my advice: keep your trap shut until you’re cured. Thankfully, that occurs sooner rather than later. Major decision-making has highs and lows. On the latter spectrum, two of New World Order’s major choices - housing Lucius Fox/Catwoman at Wayne Manor or keeping him at Wayne Enterprises/shooing her out of Gotham - culminate into nothing of note. Fox’s role plays out practically the same regardless of where he’s situated. The difference lies in whether or not Lucius provides a new gadget, which merely acts as an alternative, yet insignificant, final blow in a brief skirmish later on. Catwoman’s surprisingly minor role renders the option for her to stay meaningless. Why open the mansion to Selina if nothing substantial comes out of it? On the positive side, a tense negotiation with a fully transformed Two-Face in a “Bruce or Batman?” moment provides sufficiently altered outcomes, including an entire conversation scene exclusive to one path. The immediate follow-up to last episode’s big revelation regarding the identity of the Children of Arkham’s leader, Lady Arkham, results in another relative letdown. A grisly (and still ho-hum) investigation of her childhood home reveals little beyond “she’s a horrible person.” Neat story, but I gathered that much already. Players anxious to learn exactly how Lady Arkham amassed a personal army, a stockpile of chemical weapons, and combat skills to rival Batman’s (among other things) won’t get those answers just yet, unfortunately. Her absence here feels like a strange choice after such important character building. If nothing else, my favorite part of this section centers on Batman’s rescue of a young victim. Not only does it display Batman’s gentler side in a nice change of pace, but it potentially plants a tantalizing seed. Could Telltale be teasing a future Robin? After spending three installments pushing against the crushing weight of Murphy’s Law, having an episode wrap up with a (somewhat) triumphant Dark Knight provides a refreshing change. Deciding which major antagonist to neutralize is yet another hard call, and both paths result in entertaining and intensely personal boss battles. The bittersweet cliffhangers do their job of making me question ignoring the opposite road, but Guardian of Gotham concludes too abruptly for my liking. Conclusion: Batman’s penultimate episode continues to entertain, mostly due to the shot of intrigue Joker injects into the experience. However, between the lack of Lady Arkham, a few unexciting outcomes, and a seemingly shorter length, Guardian of Gotham feels a step below the previous two installments. The serviceable, bland gameplay I’ve harped about before remains such. A few technical hiccups also arose ranging from missing audio effects to hard crashes. My reservations about the hit and miss choices/aftermaths aside, the overall story continues to be a surprising and enjoyable spin on Batman lore. Telltale is doing something right since I’m very much looking forward to witnessing how everything weaves together in the final episode. Batman Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android
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