Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode Five on PC
Since August, Telltale has been weaving a much darker and wholly unique Batman story through its episodic series. Putting Batman and Bruce Wayne equally in the spotlight, players have seen the billionaire playboy suffer significant, subsequent downfalls. He’s lost his company, his family name has been dragged through the mud, and almost everyone has turned their backs on him. With much left to be resolved as I headed into episode five, I was intrigued to see how Telltale would handle this blockbuster finale. And while there was certainly some standout moments, its investigation setpieces hindered its performance.
Episode five, titled City of Light, is most certainly the culmination of all of your tough decision-making efforts over the past four episodes. Right from the get-go, players can find themselves in entirely different places depending on where you chose to go in episode four. As such, Batman’s finale feels significant and personal to your experience. This is a theme that continues on throughout the duration of the episode and leaves some of your previously-made decisions open to be developed upon in a second series. Unfortunately, it also spends unnecessary time revisiting a character I thought was put to bed in terms of the overarching story. Their reappearance in the finale didn’t lend it anything, and the time could have been better utilized in rounding the experience out or making the poignant moments even bigger.
It’s to Telltale’s credit that episode five could still manage to drop a bombshell or two and still have me surprised. Surprised, not just because I didn’t see it coming, but because it’s also far darker than I’d expected them to go with this. Yet, these moments left certain character’s motives to feel more substantiated in this twisted version of the Batman universe. Telltale went the extra mile to make characters and their actions feel grounded in the world, not just something that played out because you’re there driving it along.
Unfortunately, episode five once again struggled with pacing. Considering all of the buildup and loose ends that needed to be tied going into the finale, I expected there to be far more action, more tougher choices, and more of Batman and Bruce simply interacting with the other big players of this story. Instead, a lot of my time was instead spent completing mundane investigation setpieces that slowed the action right down to a crawl and felt like they were simply there to pad out the episode to its 90-minute runtime. Interacting with the Batcomputer was a similarly dull affair in episode five. Something that’s particularly frustrating considering earlier episodes of the season had me completing small puzzles to get the information I want and immerse me into the role of the caped crusader. Episode five, however, just made me click on dialog boxes to be told the necessary information to drive the game forward.
While these are disappointing, especially the way in which they’re all bunched together, making for a bit of a slog at the midway point, every chapter of episode five felt like it was rounding off one of the many different issues that Bruce and Batman needed to address. In that sense, Batman’s final episode was well put together, but its delivery could do with some work for the second season.
When episode five did get going, however, it felt just as satisfying as it did back in episode one. Despite your lack of control, seeing Batman glide across the screen, chaining takedowns together in a fluid and smooth manner was incredibly satisfying. Though, the literal out of nowhere boss battle and the choppiness of events surrounding it all passed by a little too quickly to have the significance a final boss battle should have done.
In terms of technical issues, the game ran without a blip on PC, and such has been the case for almost the entirety of my experience. Though, it is worth noting that other players have witnessed severe performance issues while playing through the series on different platforms. Something to consider if you’ve yet to pick it up.
Batman: The Telltale Series was a great first glimpse into Telltale’s darker and more sinister version of this classic universe. Discussing the finale’s ins and outs in any significant detail would take away from the experience that awaits you at the end of this adventure. While it didn’t quite deliver the emphatic finale that Batman and Bruce deserved in terms of pulse-racing content, it did resolve the overarching issues plaguing Gotham and set things up for the seemingly inevitable sequel. And it’s thanks to Telltale’s dedicated efforts in creating a believable, unique, and unpredictable story, that I’m eager for its arrival.
Score: 4/5 – Great
• Satisfying and fast-paced combat.
• Still offered exciting twists and turns in the story.
• The end result of your major decisions in the series.
• Unnecessary revisiting of a character already resolved within the story.
• A slog of investigation scenes slowed the action down in the middle.