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.
Something very bad happened to Bruce Wayne when we last left Gotham City — or at least Telltale’s version of Gotham — and Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham picks right back up. In fact, the episode is essentially broken up into two halves, one taking place inside Arkham Asylum and the second dealing with the aftermath of what Bruce did at the end of the previous episode.
As a piece of entertainment and a new take on Batman lore, Telltale’s approach to using both masked Batman and un-masked Bruce Wayne works well here, and unlike some previous episodes, this one is fairly balanced between the two.
The screws are clearly turning on Bruce and his Wayne Empire, and a whole new variable is thrown in during the opening minutes of the episode. From a gameplay perspective, though, nothing really new is introduced. Instead, you’re basically getting the greatest hits as we approach the fifth and final episode.
There’s Batman duking it out with bad guys, Bruce talking with people, some time at the Bat-computer, and a detective segment (which takes place in broad daylight, making it kind of weird seeing Batman just hanging around with sunlight on him).
All of this leads to a pretty significant cliffhanger that sets up major stakes for the finale. Non-spoiler alert — as with most Telltale finales, there’s no preview or trailer for this.
So while Guardian of Gotham doesn’t break any new ground, it does clearly establish who is at odds with whom heading into the finale — and it’s not just a standard hero/villain dichotomy.
Combine that with a surprise appearance in the first half that could impact the rest of the series (non-spoiler comment: while the role is played decently, it clearly riffs off Tim Burton’s version of Batman, which makes it rather distracting) and it’s clear that while Telltale has elected to tell a very different story of the Dark Knight, they’ve done an excellent job at it.
Telltale maintains the high standard they’ve established throughout the first season of their Batman game. With all sorts of horrible things happening to Bruce Wayne and Gotham, this episode swiftly sets up what should be a stellar finale.