Here we are, at the gates of the City of Light. Telltale’s Batman series has been rocky at times, excellent at others, overall pretty ok. With the bold move to offer two different third acts to the previous instalment, it remained to be seen how Telltale was going to wrap the whole thing up. A bit tired and weary of covering each individual episode one month at a time, I embarked once more and donned the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight.
Batman – The Telltale Series Episode 5 City of Light: Windows PC [Reviewed], Mac OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: 20 December 2016
Price: 22,99€ [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
City of Light
Having hurried to save Alfred at the end of Episode 4, the beginning of City of Light found Alfred and Bruce safe, Harvey Dent behind bars, but the Penguin still at large. It was not long before the consequences of helping Alfred made themselves known as Penguin used his Wayne Enterprise privileges to take every single bit of bat tech offline because the Internet of Things is a terrible idea. Using an older version of the bat suit the player embarks to stop Penguin once and for all (or can simply choose to go once more as Bruce Wayne.
Of course, if at the end of the previous episode you saw fit to stop Penguin from hacking all of your gadgets, the opening of episode 5 will have you facing off against Harvey Dent (or Two-Face if you prefer. It was disappointing that although I had Lucius Fox stay behind at Wayne Enterprise to keep an eye on Oswald, he still managed to get to all of the bat devices. It was, however, mind-boggling that with access to Wayne records, Lucius Fox’ secret laboratory and all of the bat gear, Penguin still couldn’t piece together Batman’s identity.
Order restored, Bruce takes a mostly useless trip to see Selina off after they had already parted ways last month, having a meaningless and awkward conversation, putting a temporary end to a meaningless and awkward relationship that is either poorly written or misremembered by Selina’s character. After that brief interlude (you’d think taking down the Children of Arkham would be more pressing), Batman starts investigating Lady Arkham’s past to find her and stop her once and for all.
Credit where credit is due, City of Light goes to some dark places during the middle section of the game and then ends with a well-choreographed, if rather insipid ending fight with a character that wasn’t as engaging. I think that’s Batman The Telltale Series’ most glaring mistake: in their effort to shake up things with new villains, they blew their load early on two rogue gallery alumni only to fail to deliver something meaningful with Lady Arkham. While it’s fine and serviceable, I usually expect more from my Batman content.
Additionally, technical issues aside (and aren’t they the familiar occurrence), I once more encountered the dreaded button mapping bug that sometimes happens when playing Telltale Games with my controller on PC. Maybe RT and LT are reversed. Maybe RT and RB exchange places. Not eager to find out during the final battle, I caved and moved to my PC to execute my finishing move with my old-fashioned mouse and keyboard. And I still don’t know what the bloody bat meter does exactly.
The game wraps up pleasantly enough, showing how Bruce and Batman’s notoriety changed for multiple characters and eventually teases a possible second season because at this point why the hell not? Telltale already does everything else anyway.
It still annoys me to no end that Telltale prefers to churn out more licensed property games than not instead of just focusing on just slightly upgrading their engine. I’m sure they can come up with something better that still works on my cell phone if they really want that. I also wish we had more meaningful puzzles and environment interactions. I wish choices meant a damn more. City of Light was a step in the right direction but there is room for much more. Overall the episode reflects the entirety of the series very well: it’s fine. It has its moments. It has some weak parts. It’s satisfactory. It deserved better.