By: Mike Chen
Please note that since each episode of Batman: The Telltale Series features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final four episodes. To read our complete thoughts on that, refer to our review of Realm of Shadows.
Children of Arkham, the second episode of Batman: The Telltale Series picks up shortly where the first one ended — with the startling revelation that the altruistic Wayne family might have had some dirty dealings in their closet. That’s not all that happened in the inaugural episode; Telltale essentially took the established Batman canon and tossed it into a blender.
Yes, Catwoman‘s here, but she’s dating Harvey Dent. Yes, Oswald Cobblepot‘s around, but he was Bruce‘s childhood buddy and now looks more like the young version from TV’s Gotham than the traditional Penguin we know. And Martha and Thomas Wayne? Yeah…
Children of Arkham takes this effective but somewhat disjointed starting point and runs with it. Like most Telltale games, the fun is in the narrative. This story hops around quite a bit, going into requisite Batman territory with the Wayne family murder while opening a new subplot about a drug wave invading Gotham.
Unfortunately, the main plot is shoved to the side somewhat with the arrival of a new psychotic drug, though on the positive, there’s plenty of interplay between Bruce and Selina (welcome in any Batman iteration) and some more of that cool “plan Batman’s invasion” that we got in the first episode.
From a story perspective, there’s a choice of significant consequence at the end of the episode — which, it should be noted, feels shorter and more streamlined than the first — and unless Telltale pulls a reset on us, that decision will impact the series’ three remaining installments.
So, while technical issues still happen, including clipping and frame rate, this is an enjoyable take on the Bat-universe and continued stellar performances from some of the best voice actors around.
Children of Arkham jumps freely around the Batman mythology for an involving, sometimes dizzying episode; one that succeeds despite a number of technical problems that slipped through the cracks.