Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 5: City of Light concludes one of the better series by Telltale Games, even if it is the rare instance where the earlier episodes were stronger than the last ones. The final chapter was enjoyable, but reminded me again that it generally worked best when operating as Bruce Wayne and not Batman himself.
To its credit, this entire series was enjoyable and played to a variety of different strengths. By taking a new approach to an original story putting twists on established characters, and it creates a game different than most other Batman titles. Those games tend to be focused on action, something the Caped Crusader excels at. However, this series worked best when assuming the role of Bruce Wayne.
This fifth and final episode continues that trend. Batman seldom seems vulnerable, despite more complex action moves in this series when compared to other Telltale titles. In most of the prior Telltale titles, the actions were relatively simple, consisting of singular button presses or directional swipes. Here Batman pushes a little harder with combination presses that are not necessarily hard, but befitting of a character known for his action.
After the last episode's conclusion, Bruce Wayne found himself in a tough spot against a variety of enemies. While Two Face was taken care of, he still had Lady Arkham and Penguin to take care of. You get some interesting backstory on just why Lady Arkham turned out the way she did, and there were some cool dialog moments with Penguin / Cobblepot, but that only serves to emphasize where Bruce Wayne's dilemmas are often quite interesting, Batman's are usually more about pummeling people. It's not a bad dichotomy necessary, but I enjoyed my time with Bruce Wayne more. Unfortunately however, there is more of an emphasis on Batman in this episode and that leads to a rather uneven overall experience.
The other issue is despite some rather cool backstory on Lady Arkham, the majority of the events here were somewhat predictable. There was nothing wrong with said content, and maybe it's just because I've read a few (thousand) too many comic book stories over the years, because this absolutely felt like something you would pull from the animated pages of a DC story - but aside from the backstory on Lady Arkham, I anticipated just about everything else that wound up happening along the way.
I am hopeful that the devs abandon / upgrade the current engine however. The voice acting was absolutely top notch (Troy Baker and Laura Bailey are two of the best in the business and their roles as Bruce and Selina were both excellent), but there are a lot of issues with stuttering framerates and scenes starting audibly before the video plays. Tack that onto frequent and somewhat lengthy loading times, and the engine needs a serious overhaul - optimization simply won't do at this point, if we're taking a look at the overall picture.
That being said, I do want to call out how quickly the episodes were produced. I think that is awesome. I know some people feel that the developers here at Telltale Games have become spread a little too thin by having too many different series now (and admittedly while I would love a season two of The Wolf Among Us or Tales From the Borderlands, I am beyond excited by the prospect of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series), the rapid release cycle for these episodes was a huge boon to the series. It kept the story content fresh in my mind and made for a smoother, more seamless series of chapters than some prior episodic game release (I'm looking at you, King's Quest).
Usually the Telltale Games titles end with a spectacular bang in their final episodes, but Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 5: City of Light was a little more middle of the road. Still a solid offering, right down to its interesting collection of choices and stats at the end that made me want to replay the game one more time in a wholly different fashion. To its credit, the Batman series was good enough that this was my initial reaction, so there is that going for it. The loose ends here were pretty well tidied up, but there is plenty of room for a follow-up chapter. All in all the series was among my favorites in the Telltale games collection, even if the last episode simply has to settle for being good and not great
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Article by Nick