Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 3: New World Order continues an interesting trend that the first two episodes established. That trend is this: Bruce Wayne and not Batman is the real star of the series, and you know what? I am absolutely alright with this. This episode gets off to a slower start than the first two chapters, but it still consistently delivers a quality story that concludes strong and sets up the last couple of chapters wonderfully.
It seems a peculiar choice really. After all, while everyone knows the name Bruce Wayne, Batman is without a doubt one of the most familiar names in pop culture. However, I love what Telltale Games has been doing with this series so far. Certainly there are action sequences as befitting the Caped Crusader, but they are moments of heightened action and not the majority of your time spent. Other Batman titles have tried to hone in on the detective aspects of Batman's persona, and generally that has worked well, but the emphasis has been on the action, and for good reason.
However, what has almost completely gone neglected is the Bruce Wayne aspect of the character. Based on prior video games, one would think he spends twenty hours a week dressed up as Batman, three sleeping and maybe one as the millionaire, but in truth the numbers might actually be quite the opposite. As a result, most of your most pressing decisions to be made come in Bruce Wayne's suit and not Batman's.
The tale picks up right after our second episode where Batman was forced to make a very tough decision. This new chapter starts off very slowly as Bruce Wayne tries to fend off far more subtle yet just as serious threats than his caped persona. Who can he trust? Can he protect his family's name? And what happens when the lines between Batman and Bruce Wayne start to blur? The episode sees me through that critical decision at the end of the second chapter, and while that decision appears to have some significant impact, the early ones in New World Order seem far less important at this stage. New World Order is almost the textbook definition of a slow burn as it seems to take a good deal of time to get rolling and for any of the actions you take to reveal their potential consequences.
That being said, we see a lot of the same notes here as we did in the first two episodes. Some fighting sequences with Batman, some slow (and really not my favorite parts of the game, but still important to fleshing out the character) paced detective sequences and of course time spent with Bruce. The idea of duality in the characters in this series is one that gets a lot of time. In particular it is explored through Bruce's time with Selina, as both of them live a secret life in costume and each of them knows about the others' identity. This comes into sharp contrast to Bruce's relationship with Harvey Dent who has no idea about Batman.
A strong middle episode, Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 3: New World Order is probably my least favorite of the three so far, but it is still time well spent. More importantly, you can start to see the end game shaping up after a couple of solid twists and reveals in this episode. Telltale Games is well on their way to making the most compelling Batman video game story to date.
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Article by Nick