This review contains spoilers for the second episode of Batman: The TellTale Series.
The third episode of Batman: The TellTale Series is less eventful than previous installments. Though it provides some interesting twists and turns, the episode doesn’t yield much progress until the last half hour.
Batman: The TellTale Series- Episode 3 New World Order
Developer: TellTale Games
Price: $24.99 for a Season Pass
Platforms: PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Android, iOS
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Batman: The TellTale Series. The progression of the story and characters are a particular highlight, as the series’s unique take on the lore of Batman is great to watch. While New World Order is an enjoyable romp through Gotham, it feels slightly less robust when compared to previous episodes.
Picking up after Children of Arkham, New World Order brings the focus back to Bruce Wayne, rather than Batman. Due to the truths revealed at the end of New World Order, Bruce faces pressure to resign at Wayne Industries. The city is in an uproar after the events of the previous episode’s climactic debate, and Harvey Dent, now mayor, is steadily becoming more unstable due to the pressure of being nearly killed by the mysterious “Children of Arkham”.
With so many new storylines to explore, I had hoped that New World Order would dive right in and start exploring almost immediately. Unfortunately, the first two-thirds of the story feel largely inconsequential. You mainly focus on protecting Harvey and the Police for the first part of the game, only slightly affecting the overall plot. The first forty-five minutes of this hour and a half episode feels bogged down with padding, which only truly disappears in the last half hour.
Once the story gets going, however, it’s absolutely stellar. The confrontation with the Children of Arkham, the encounter with Harvey and Selina, and the major reveal at the ending’s press conference are all fantastic, and serve to develop the characters in a way I had hoped the entire episode would. The developments between Bruce, Harvey, Selina, and the general public are all fascinating, and the ending makes me want the next episode immediately. It’s just a shame that the rest of the episode was so inconsequential.
The identities of the new head of Wayne Enterprises and the Children of Arkham’s leader were both shocking reveals. These twists felt natural, and certainly set up some thrilling plotlines for future episodes.
After the shady history of the Wayne family was revealed in Children of Arkham, the story was poised to enter some brand new territory. The story given in New World Order is as interesting and varied as previous episodes, there’s just an unfortunate shortage of it when compared to previous episodes.
I do like that the game’s narrative allows for some actual, permanent changes depending on your choices. Harvey has yet to become Two-Face on my main file, and other than his personality disorder and increased mental instability, he shows no signs of physically becoming Two-Face any time soon. This is refreshing, as some Telltale games tend to push the player towards one selected plotine. While Harvey could definitely become Two-Face by the end, and I’m sure he will, I’m glad that my choice to save him at the debate held some serious weight in the story.
This episode also seemed to yield more graphical issues than previous installments. Model pop-ins and frame-rate stutters were noticeably more frequent than they were in Children of Arkham, which takes you out of the story. Hopefully this is improved in future episodes.
The music was at its best in New World Order, seeming to take major cues from The Animated Series and The Dark Knight trilogy. These harsher tones suited the theme and atmosphere of the episode well, and added extra weight to some of the more tense moments towards the end of the episode.
The Final Word
Batman: The TellTale Series’s third episode is slower than previous installments. While the story provided continues to be gripping, New World Order simply didn’t contain enough of it. The twists and turns given at the end of the episode are fantastic, and provide some very interesting plotlines to explore. It’s just unfortunate that New World Order takes so long to get there. Visual issues continue to be an issue, while the music continues to shine.
MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair