I have been very vocal in saying that Telltales Batman series has been a bit of a mess. All over the place, swinging wildely in terms of direction, themes, and character development. This is a series that hits great highs but also more than it's fair share of disappointing and lackluster lows. All of my mixed bag of feelings regarding the game came flooding back to me and seemed to be confirmed by episode 4's previously on Batman opening.
Just watching the events of the last episode left me so underwhelmed and disappointed at where the series has gone, that I considered for a second not even playing. Yet, in an odd twist of fate it led me to finally, truly let go of my expectations and desires for the series. Telltales Batman story isn't the one I would tell, it's an over-the-top, often absurd, nothing is sacred take on the Dark Knight...and after four episodes it finally clicked for me.
Maybe it's the fact that I finally just accepted the series for what it is, finally letting go of the fact that it's not the grounded, simple, year two story it seemed poised to be. Instead, I reveled in it's insanity and cartoon madness. Quite honestly that may be the best way to describe the series, it is a comic book come to life with all the flaws and triumphs that entails.
There hasn't been as cartoony an episode as this one and it nailed nearly every aspect of it. From the games oddly unsettling and off-kilter opening at Arkham Asylum, to it's stunning rush to the episodes powerful finale. Guardian Of Gotham stood tall as a powerful installment in Telltale's story and perhaps crucially the one that finally had everything click.
One of the things I have praised from the beginning is Telltale's bold and wonderful twisting of some of our most iconic characters of the modern age. From Harvey Dent, to Oswald Cobblepot, to Vicki Vale, Telltales Batman series has been adamant that nothing and no one is sacred and that anything could happen. I am left floored at just how literally they have taken this. I am constantly left scrambling to react to something I never expected, yet nowhere is this done better then with Harvey Dent arguably the series star.
This is a Harvey Dent like no other. Over the course of these first four episodes the series has slowly built itself into a powerful glance inside the mind of this deeply brilliant and deeply troubled soul. Harvey has endless potential, endless possibilities, yet ultimately he is undone, it all becomes unwound by the tiniest of slights, by the most meaningless of insults both real and imagined. It is breathtaking to watch at times, particularly if like me you formed an early friendship with Harvey, in spite of what you know about him and then tried desperately to save him from his more famous alter-ego. Seeped with tragedy, sorrow, and misunderstandings Harvey's relationship with Bruce and his slow downfall from bright idealistic lawyer who wants to change Gotham, to a ruthless mayor of Gotham willing to do anything to crush threats to his city, is a stunning portrait into the demise of a man, but also an illustration into so many tyrants from history and how they all ultimately fall down the same path.
Batman: The Telltale Series has been far from perfect, it's episodes have ranged wildly in quality, and indeed at times it has been perhaps the most disappointing series I've seen from Telltale so far. Yet, here we are after four episodes with one of the most clever, cartoonish, and delightful episodes Telltale has produced in ages. This is the moment that the series finally clicked, finally become more then the sum of its legendary parts, this is the moment when Telltales story became something big, something approaching great, if only it had been here three episodes ago.