After quite the reveal in New World Order, Telltale Games is back with its penultimate effort of its Batman series: Guardian of Gotham. And to help get you back into the swing of things, they’re offering a little something to put a smile on your face.
What’s It About?
Guardian of Gotham picks up very shortly after the raucous ending events of the last episode. Lady Arkham’s true identity has been revealed and Bruce may have publicly attacked the Penguin while hopped up on the Children of Gotham’s drugs. Well, turns out, he very much publicly attacked Penguin!
So much so that he’s landed in Arkham Asylum because plot reasons. Bruce won’t spend much time in here because, again, plot reasons, but manages to be involved with two inmate fights and picks up an important lead through his most villainous foe: John Doe. It’s clearly the Joker, but he’s not quite at his most Joker levels yet. There isn’t enough time spent around the Joker to really hook you into his story or how much he wants to sync up with Batman, but he will launch Bruce further down the trail of the Children of Gotham.
That A Story Line takes you briefly into the backstory of the Lady of Gotham, but offers a bigger threat from the Penguin. Batman’s tech starts losing its effect on the Children’s weaponry, so the primary threat turns into an attack on his firewall. A very modern Batman tale!
Story Line B doubles down on Harvey’s rise to Two-Face and proved to be a fairly interesting sub-storyline. Harvey’s transformed Gotham into a police state and has pinned a majority of the Children of Gotham’s blame on Bruce, turning him into a pariah of sorts. While Gordon and Batman have been on shaky territory to this point, the story line helps boost the relationship and get it closer to a point where Batman fans have typically known it to be.
Why Should I Care?
I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the last episode, but I liked the way Guardian of Gotham bounced back to be more interesting.
The episode doesn’t start off entirely all that strong. I didn’t quite get why Bruce ended up in Arkham. I mean, I did because it seemed too obvious, but I would have liked a more legit reason. When another character–also hopped up on the Gotham drugs–shot Falcone, there didn’t seem to be an immediate move to throw her in Arkham. But Bruce? Sent there immediately. I suppose it’s supposed to show a certain level of corruption within the police and legal system, but it doesn’t show off enough of that to really prove that’s why. It seemed like more of a reason to throw the Joker into the mix without really throwing him into it. There’s one conversation you’ll have with him that gives you a lead, but unless the next episode wants to get muddled with a Joker storyline on top of its converging A and B story lines, I don’t see how Joker is a setup for anything other than a Season 2 story.
Guardian’s challenge of Batman’s tech wasn’t overly complicated but did provide a fresher type of take on Batman’s challenges. Recently, the tech he uses has been featured more and more, but it hasn’t been attacked on a technical level. The technical problems that have been sprinkled throughout the season thus far came to a nice conclusion in this episode. But a more traditional problem for Batman to deal with–police corruption–was an even more interesting element with Harvey Two-Face as the lead. He won’t be as erratic as he was in the last episode, rather suaver, more dangerous. The problem with these elements, though, is time.
The episode moves along incredibly quickly so you won’t get to spend much time with the characters. It doesn’t seem like a total rush to set up the finale, but just too abrupt of a stop. An extra 30 minutes or so would have done this episode some great justice. Hell, I’d give Two-Face an extra five minutes to talk about his twisted views on saving Gotham from its sickness, or perhaps more time dedicated to Bruce’s interest in John Doe/Joker. There are some opportunities to ask questions, but not nearly enough to truly warrant his presence.
However, with more time, it could have offered more technical problems. Telltale games aren’t strangers to technical difficulties, but Guardian of Gotham seemed to be the worst of the bunch so far. The video lead in was horribly choppy and a noticeable amount of dialogue never matched up with the video; the video would lag 3-4 seconds behind. Only once did the game crash, but once is enough for such a small game. The problems were enough to take me out of the element and induce eye rolling.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
While a clear setup for the upcoming finale, I felt Guardian of Gotham offered up enough strengths to be a re-engaging effort after the somewhat lackluster New World Order (perhaps stemming off its major Lady Arkham reveal). I quite enjoyed what they were doing with the characters, Two-Face in particular, but not so much with the Joker. The problem is that it goes by so quickly, there isn’t much time to marinate with what’s there.