Telltales second Batman episode, takes the series in far different directions then I imagined. Intent on staking out on new ground and refusing to bend to a single sacred cow of the Batman mythos, Telltale is forging ahead with crafting one of the most singularly unique and creative stories set in Gotham...I just wished I liked the new direction episode 2 presents.
So much of what I loved about the first episode and so many of the story threads they set up in the opening, seem to get jettisoned as this new episode went on longer. The more grounded, low-key, year 2 Bruce Wayne/Batman story that the series opened with, seems to have given way to a more standard supervillian tale.
That's such a huge disappointment for me. Without spoiling anything, one of the major characters who I loved so much in the first episode, who had so many layers given to him, became just another crazy guy by the episodes end. Perhaps it's the inevitable result of learning more about the reasons so many of the characters are doing what their doing, but increasingly I found myself in disbelief over what was happening.
Arguably the defining moment of this for me was the episodes opening as Bruce and Alfred relive the fateful shooting of Bruce's parents. Going back and catching flashes of that night was an incredible experience, getting to choose how Bruce responded to each event further solidifying what kind of Batman you are. Yet, the problem arose when new details suddenly emerged and changed the entire night. It was a bridge to far to jump in terms of logic and belief and thats saying something considering we are talking about a story revolving around a man dressed as a bat.
I didn't want and it seemed was promised a story that wouldn't feature, the usual rogue's gallery of Batman baddies. This appeared to be a young Bruce story, about the very things that first got Bruce to turn into Batman. The fight against crime, corruption, and the mob. The regular grind of the common criminal and their motivations. That story is so woefully undertold in the Batman universe that I was excited to be able to forge my way through a compelling and creative take on it. Instead, the episode shifts gears and goes a different direction. Now it's key to note that direction ins't all bad, indeed there are standout moments throughout the entire episode, in particular any time Catwoman and Bruce are on-screen together the episode shines.
Yet, in the end, there isn't enough separating this episode and the new direction it appears to be treading towards and every other Batman story and that's such a let-down. This series was presented as a young Bruce, year two story of sorts, with villains who are still regular people, in a world before costumed baddies appeared and where the biggest threat was the one that got Bruce into this to begin with. Common, regular, unglamorous crime. That's the story I wish we were getting told going forward, it just appears that's no longer what Telltale wants to do.