When I found out that Telltale would be introducing Joker to the series, I didn't envy their position. Many depictions of the infamous villain have always stood in the shadows of the likes of Mark Hamill and Health Ledger. However, given that the series had subverted my expectations before, I had some confidence that this episode would bring a fresh take to the clown prince of crime. I went into Episode 4 willing and eager to judge this Joker on his own merits rather than comparing him to Hamill and Ledger.

Needless to say, Telltale did not disappoint. The Joker introduced in "Guardian of Gotham" is another fresh take on a character from the Batman mythos who also manages to retain the chemistry and unpredictability of previous interpretations. It's just a shame he's only a in supporting role.

The penultimate episode

If you're familiar with Telltale's other games, you'll know the reputation of their penultimate episodes serving as a setup to the grand finale of their series. This one is no exception.

During Bruce's stay in Arkham, Gotham has changed for the worse. Mayor "Two Face" Harvey Dent has declared marshal law, jailing or ordering the executions of anyone he suspects to be associated with The Children of Arkham. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot has shifted Wayne Enterprise's focus from recreational technology to helping his revolution. Depending on your choices, Batman can bring either Two Face or The Penguin to justice.

However, with each choice comes a price. Time will tell what the long term consequences of these choices are.

This episode has the burden of both introducing Arkham Asylum and the Joker and setting up the inevitable confrontation between Batman and The Children of Arkham. There's really no time for either scenario to breathe. Just when the idea of controlling a weakened and drugged Bruce Wayne in a place full of crazies shows its promise, it's anti-climatically cut short with a deus ex machina that allows him to go free.

It probably would have been better if the episode had either been focused on Arkham Asylum and Bruce's escape or Batman's take down of either Two face or penguin.

Some issues addressed

Admirably, Telltale has fixed some of the performance issues that plagued the PC version. Your mileage may vary, but during my playthrough, there were no signs of the crashes or framerate problems that ruined my time with episode 3. However, there was one case where character's lips did not move during a cutscene. The one save file limit and inability to rewind to any chapter is still frustrating and mind boggling, especially when part of the fun of Telltale's games seeing the different choices and dialogue options.

Yay or nay?

This is a case of two potentially interesting ideas having to share the same space, resulting in what feels like a rushed episode. However, "Guardian of Gotham" has its moments and addresses some of the technical issues that plagued the previous episode. As a result, it warrants at least a marginal recommendation.

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