Just in time to wrap up 2016, Telltale has released the finale to their solid Batman series: City of Light. To the Batmobile!
What’s It About?
City of Light picks up immediately where Guardian of Gotham left off, so it has the benefit of picking up a lot of story steam. Depending on your choices, you’re going to have to go up against Harvey Two-Face for burning down Wayne Manor or the Penguin for having ruined your WayneTech security situation. In Guardian, I decided it was more important to have my security than my manor, because hey, you’re Bruce Wayne and you have the money to rebuild, am I right?
So in my playthrough, the first primary objective was to stop Harvey. You’ll have the ability to appeal to the old Harvey or be more aggressive to Two-Face, but either way, you do it as Bruce Wayne rather than Batman. This part of the story continues what I felt to be the strong Two-Face situation. It’s heavy and can get you emotionally invested into the relationship Bruce and Harvey have had. It sets up Harvey to arguably come away as the better of the developed villains, but that could come down to personal preference.
Soon after, you’re back to the main villain: Lady Arkham. There are some fine action sequences that help move the story along, but the story’s main emotional pull is the kidnapping of Alfred. It’s tough to say much else without getting into major spoilers, but what the story offers is a last minute effort to develop Lady Arkham and potentially strengthen the bond between Alfred and Bruce. To a degree, it’s a mini-origin story for Lady Arkham, which actually works well in context and structure.
Why Should I Care?
Perhaps the biggest improvement for the series over Guardian of Gotham was the technical stability. While that may seem a little goofy, I think any gamer can appreciate a game running smoothly so you can, you know, play it–this makes the experience that much better. There were some very small hiccups during transitions, but the game was generally devoid of crashes or glitches. That was a welcomed experience.
Beyond that, this may have been the strongest episode because of how much it packs all of its content into its time and wraps everything up. For me, it told deeper stories between Harvey and Lady Arkham. It avoided getting too complicated by reintroducing the Joker as a legit villain; he simply makes a cameo (but season 2? Well, ha ha haaaaa – take a guess, Bats!). You can legitimately feel for either one of these characters, and while they don’t necessarily have the most redeeming of arcs, it’s nice to get further context into why they can really, really hate Batman.
There’s a nice portion of the story that wraps up the Catwoman storyline as well. Never truly a villain, but never a true ally, I found myself really liking how Telltale handled the character. She was interesting and conniving; always entertaining. She sneaks into being a character to really take advantage of all the episodes, as opposed to hugely standing out in any one in particular (to be fair, she does have some earlier moments).
The action was easily the most exciting in City of Light. There were moments that got me riled up, in a good way, because it felt so awesome to be playing Batman in such a way. It was quick, intense, and very much in line what you could expect from the character.
But there’s something to be said about that “quick” element – it ends very quickly. It felt much quicker than any other episode had felt for me. This final episode took me around 90 minutes, maybe, and only because I took my time in some parts of investigations. Now, there is something to be said about it not including filler. I also didn’t feel all too cheated in any final story elements. So, it’s not necessarily a knock against the final chapter, but something I’d like readers to be aware of from this review.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
City of Light works out to be the most exciting, emotional, and strongest arc of this first season from Telltale’s Batman. Looking at the story as a whole, the game was able to tell a very different type of story through several characters who may have only been certain Batman archetypes. Thomas Wayne and Vicki Vale benefit from this immensely, the former only really in retrospect but the latter in current respects. Everything clicks well within City of Light and it delivers a primarily satisfying ending. Perhaps only spoiler-y bit might have been a bit too convenient, but I won’t say much else; find out for yourself.
So if you haven’t been keeping up this whole time, binge playing the season can be done now. If you have, you’re in for a solid treat to wrap things up.