Telltale’s previous Batman game put me in a situation I’d never encountered as Batman before. My Bruce Wayne hooked up with Selina Kyle, while she was still dating Bruce’s best friend, Harvey Dent. My version of Bruce got intimate with Selina one night after the two spent an beating up a bunch of bad guys (as they do). In the morning, Harvey showed up at her apartment and naturally wanted to fight me for betraying him. We tussled, broke some things, and probably destroyed our friendship. Melodrama aside, I loved how strange the situation was: here were the same characters having the same battle that occurs at the start of Arkham City (when Two Face holds Catwoman captive in the church). Telltale replayed this situation with each character’s alter egos at the center of the battle. More than any other sequence in the first Telltale Batman adventure, this sequence captured perfectly how well Bruce’s personal and emotional life can be just as perilous as Batman’s.
I’m not sure if the second game is going to hit those same highs, but the first chapter of the new game is a lot of fun. Here, Telltale puts you back in the shoes of Bruce Wayne months after the events of the previous game. Gotham is still recovering from Lady Arkham’s attack and, sadly, a villain of her caliber does not appear in this episode. Instead, you face the Riddler, who returns to Gotham pursuing some hidden agenda that seems to include antagonizing his pursuer, Amanda Waller. As Batman, you’ll battle goons in quick time events and solve mysteries at crime scenes. As Bruce Wayne, you’ll have to decide who to trust, which alliances to pursue, and deal with your best buddy from your short stint in Arkham Asylum, the Joker.
And, man, the Joker here is just the worst. He was bad last time around: a mysterious inmate at Arkham who cloyingly befriended Bruce Wayne and (sort of) attempts to help you escape the asylum. Here he shows up again to make inappropriately loud conversation at a funeral and to try to ingratiate himself into your life. Just imagine throwing a party and having Gollum or David Brent show up and you’ll get the idea. One thing that the Lego movie taught us is that the Joker can be many things, but the one thing the Joker can never be is needy. Here he interrupts a pretty tight story to annoy you.
On the other hand, The Riddler is very well constructed. Here, he’s an older criminal with a long history in Gotham who predates Batman (but not Gordon) and seems to be connected to a larger conspiracy. His Saw-inspired death traps are pretty horrifying even if his riddles are pretty easy to glide through. I never thought the Arkham Asylum Riddler was well developed; here, he’s a perfect antagonist for an inexperienced Batman. Analyzing his crime scenes and trying to understand his motives keeps the game interesting and makes me really curious for what Telltale has in mind for Amanda Waller (and apparently Harley Quinn) in future chapters.
The BEST PARTS
This is a pretty contained Batman adventure that provides a unique and interesting take on The Riddler. I’m not sure where this series is going, but Amanda Waller is sure to keep things interesting. The quick-time beatdowns are fun and the puzzles are pretty intuitive and interesting.
The WORST PARTS
I’m not a big fan of Telltale’s take on the Joker, but – after their success with Lady Arkham – I’m willing to see what they come up with.
OVERALL: BUY IT
Telltale does a pretty great job delivering original Batman experiences and the Batman series is their best work since Clementine’s Walking Dead adventures. Even if you don’t follow the series after this first chapter, for $5, this adventure is worth it.