I thought I knew Telltale's tricks. I thought I knew what I was in for when I went into their interpretation of '#Batman.' I thought I knew these characters. 'Episode 3' showed how wrong I was. Telltale gleefully looks at the expectations of players and comic fans alike and subverts them completely. There hasn't been any other medium that shows such vulnerability in Bruce Wayne. It's these moments of brilliance that make the issues that plague this episode all the more heartbreaking.
Just when things looked like they couldn't get any worse, Bruce Wayne's biggest assets are slowly taken away from him. Telltale wastes no time showing the consequences of the previous episode. Because of the bad publicity spawned by the tape of Thomas Wayne, Bruce is forced to resign from his position as CEO so that Oswald Cobblepot can take his place. Meanwhile, The Children of Arkham are spreading their influence all over Gotham. To mention more than that would be a disservice to the many clever twists and turns this episode throws at players. Suffice it to say: this episode does what I thought 'Batman' stories couldn't anymore: surprise me.
Unfortunately, it seems that with every clever plot twist and character development, there's one or two moments where a good idea is botched by its execution. Harvey struggling with his inner demons while in office is an interesting concept on paper, but the moments when his dual personalities clash seem forced, bordering on cartoony. A more subdued or subtle performance might have made these scenes genuinely unnerving.
Also, Telltale's animation has always been functional at best and awkward at worst. This weakness ruins a love scene that occurs later in the episode. What should have been a sensual and intimate moment was instead made cringe-worthy by mawkish kissing animations.
Aside from the dialogue choices and action scenes, this episode features little to no involvement. The lapses in player input come dangerously close to making this episode a deal breaker. What does break this episode, at least on PCs, is the unforgivably awful performance and framerate problems. Just when I thought that Telltale had ironed out these issues, my hopes were immediately dashed when the recap sequence kept crashing and featured audio bugs. Until Telltale fixes these issues, PC users would be advised to steer clear of this series.
Also, the branching paths also serve to make Telltale's lack of multiple save files or option to pick any chapter at your leisure all the more perplexing. It's absolutely mind boggling why Telltale would omit such a feature when their previous games featured it. Now players are arbitrarily forced to restart the entire episode just to see the different choices.
Yay or nay?
The moments in 'New World Order' that shine almost make me want to forgive the moments when it goes wrong. For what it's worth, the episode gets more right than it does wrong. There's enough here to recommend to Batman fans and gamers on consoles. However, not recommended for PC users. #PS4