The first season of Batman: The Telltale Series has come to a close with City of Light, taking the intriguing setup built in the first three episodes and stumbling its way to the finish line. One scene in particular showed exactly how good this series was at it’s best, but it stands out starkly in comparison to the rest of the predictable reveals and story wrap ups that encompassed the rest of the episode. And with all that said, the engine is still holding this back.
Not the ending we deserve
A big draw to this series from the outset, for me, was the new takes on characters and the twists it puts on the Batman canon. In that regard, City of Light really disappointed. The story beats were predictable, especially that closing cliffhanger ending, many of which served to simply push the story back towards a more traditional Batman status quo.
Any relationships I expected to crumble? They did. Anybody I expected to die? Dead. I’ll give you one guess who is in line for a big time promotion at the police department. Even right down to the ending, the easy cop-out setup for a second season is exactly the path Telltale went for. The one shining scene in this episode is one that could be missed depending on your final choice in the previous installment. Hopefully you chose to save Batman’s tech instead of Wayne Manor. If not, you’re missing out on the better final Bruce and Harvey scene. As down as I am on this specific episode, this scene is superbly done, showing how much Bruce still wants to save a man he once believed in. Harvey wrestled with his Two-Face personality in what we know is a losing battle, making the drama all the more gut wrenching.
The villain, Lady Arkham, is revealed to have experienced a childhood that shows some parallels to Bruce’s but with a tragic difference that made her who she is. While I see what they were going for, the reveal comes far too late to change my opinion on the character, and many will likely just view it as a cheap tug at heartstrings. I just kinda sighed and said “Alright…” presumably not the reaction the writers were hoping for.
Continued engine problems
Off and on in my reviews for this series I have complained of technical issues. I have been pushed to the edge in this fifth go around for the Caped Crusader. On the whole, the series has been an embarrassment on a pure performance perspective. When looking solely on Episode 5, there’s plenty more to criticize.
The usual stuttering transitions are back. My practically brand new PS4 Pro hard crashed once. All dialogue was muted in one scene while the background music continued to play. I’ve commented on all of these before. New to City of Light, however, is a rendering failure right on equal footing with the memes about Assassin’s Creed Unity with faces that didn’t load properly. In an action sequence near the end, Batman must save Arkham Asylum orderlies from the newly freed inmates. One of those inmates is rendered only as a floating, disconnected, pair of eyes and a mouth. Anecdotally, at least, this is a widespread issue. I’ve seen numerous reports of this happening in the exact same place, from both reviewers and people who purchased day one. As a one-off incident, it would be somewhat funny and more easily forgivable. Instead, it served as a glaring reminder of the unfortunate shortcomings of this release.
The fourth and fifth episodes of Batman were released closer than any other two episodes, just three weeks apart. City of Light feels needlessly rushed, and I’m not really sure why, logistically, it needed to be released now. It could use significant polish, and pushing it to January would have been more than reasonable.
The conclusion to Batman: The Telltale Series, while not outright bad, was certainly disappointing. The story shifted from fresh takes on characters to moving everybody into their more traditional roles. Performance problems plague this episode, dragging down an already lower half chapter of this Batman saga. If you’ve come this far, it’s worth finishing the adventure, just temper your expectations.