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Telltale Games released their second episode of Batman – the Telltale series, Children of Arkham on 20 September. The episodic plot-driven game started with Realm of Shadows, and follows DC’s Batman in a thrilling new story in the traditional Telltale comic-style design. While Telltale makes use of inspiration from the comic books, they have created their own original story.
The game is true to Telltale’s style, as there is a weighty focus on decision-making and on the psychology behind Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, with less of a focus on action. The psychology of Batman has been a point of contention among gamers. Batman appears to be more malicious in this series than in any other game. Players are presented with a choice to either violently battle the other character or let them go scot-free. Alfred even tells Batman “you’re taking this too far”, which sends players into a guilty frenzy over something they cannot really control. Although this puts many fans off, it is a very interesting side to Batman – one worth exploring.
There are numerous familiar characters in this series such as Catwoman, Harvey Dent, Mayor Hill, Carmine Falcone and Oswald Cobblepot. Many of these well-known villains and associates’ backstories are vastly different. The Waynes’ story has also been altered as allegations of corruption and illegal dealing threaten to dismantle the throne that Bruce built for himself. Despite these contradicting character developments, the story plays out logically and excitingly.
The lack of focus on action renders gameplay and controls quite easy. When there is action, it is combative. Players have a time limit on reacting, but this time limit is a few seconds more than necessary – especially since players are told which buttons need to be pressed to complete the combative move throughout the fight. There are no predetermined defensive and offensive movements. Players only need to pay attention to the screen and make sure they do not get distracted. Although the game could do with a bit more action.
Overall, this game is definitely worth it. Telltale should to be praised for turning common conceptions of the Batman on their heads and challenging players. This game is highly recommended, leaving players questioning everything they’ve ever known about Master Wayne. Episode three, New World Order, will be made available from 25 October, depending on platform and country.