Release Date: November 21, 2017
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Picking up where episode 2 left off, Telltale’s Batman episode 3 quickly explains why The Riddler’s frozen body was the target of The Pact’s recent heist and moves quickly into the next phase of the drama. Telltale continues to throw their own spin on the Batman mythos and further evolves the Harley Quinn and John “Not Yet the Joker” Doe relationship. In a pivotal scene early in the episode, John is faced with a decision to either manipulate and lie to his would-be love interest, or see his best friend become ostracized from The Pact, and it’s endearing to see how the writers tiptoe the line between creating a feeling of sympathy for John while also making it clear that he is still very much a bad guy.
Perhaps the most interesting facet of Telltale’s Bat-verse is the fact that Bruce Wayne seems to be much more entrusting of his secret identity to a much wider audience of allies. Throughout the episode the player is given the opportunity to spill the beans to multiple characters, and the potential implications of that action are interesting to say the least. I look forward to seeing just how far Telltale is willing to take this particular avenue of approach and what it means for future episodes/seasons of Batman. It’s disappointing then that with so many potential allies (or foes), we hardly get to step into the cowl throughout the episode. I enjoy the espionage and undercover aspect as much as the next guy/gal, but I want to be Batman in a game called Batman!
The crux of episode 3 is Bruce Wayne’s undercover antics and just how far he is willing to go to serve the greater good. Over the course of the approximately 90 minute episode, several lives are on the line as Bruce does what he can/must to keep himself in Harley’s good graces without becoming to suspicious to the other members of The Pact; Bane in particular takes a keen interest in Mr. Wayne. It’s interesting to see this version of Bane act as much with his brain as he does his muscles. The luchador from Santa Prisca prison is as much of a detective as the worlds greatest detective himself.
The returning Catwoman brings a much-needed connecting thread to the previous season and quickly, if not wholly shoehorned in, sets the tone to rekindle a romantic pursuit between her and Bruce Wayne. Depending on how you like your Batman (sullen and lonely or constantly seeking love and connection) the choices you make in regards to Bruce’s relationship with Selina will drastically affect the outcome of the closing moments of the episode.
Speaking of the closing moments, episode 3 doesn’t so much as come to a dramatic conclusion or cliffhanger, as is typical for a standard Telltale episode; instead, the final scene simply just ends. When the credits rolled I wasn’t left with anticipation for episode 4 despite the fact that I want to see how this season plays out. Instead I was confused. Without going into spoilers, the ending loses its potential shock value (depending on previous choices made) due to the fact that the implied outcome is nigh impossible, even when taking Telltale’s “throw a monkey wrench at everything” approach to the Batman universe.
Overall episode 3 is a step up from episode 2, even if the ending fell a little flat. I wish there was more time in the bat suit but ultimately it’s the interactions between Bruce and Selina that steal the show, save for a particularly humorous meeting between John Doe and Batman. I hope that Telltale continues to pick up steam this season with the final episodes; season 1 left behind some fairly sizable shoes to fill and my fingers are crossed that writers for season 2 have the feet to fill them.