Shimmering Light In Darkness
City of Light manages to cap Telltale’s first season of Batman off in stellar-if somewhat rushed-fashion. After the events of episode 4, Bruce Wayne/Batman must put an end to Harvey Dent’s double-sided (pun intended) decision-making and Lady Arkham’s looming revolution.
From the very first second of playing, episode 5 had me hooked. The immediate drop into combat really sets the stage for what the rest of the episode will ultimately feel like. A race against the clock. Initially the fast-paced nature of the episode felt well suited, because as a player I felt like my job was to save the city as quickly as possible. This is immediately felt when Batman’s engaged in combat.
In terms of cohesive combat City of Light might be the most polished. The combat prompts register with follow-up animation that looks pleasing. In terms of choreography, the fight scenes look more authentic, especially toward the later half of the episode. Despite a few frame drops I was able to cohesively enjoy the brutal ballet of animation that was playing out before my eyes.
Though not all of the episode feels like a race to save the people of Gotham. The same monotonous gameplay elements linger; mostly being prolonged sequences of Batman’s crime scene puzzle solving. This not only happens once but twice, leaving a fast-paced episode grinding to a halt. The momentum suddenly stops when doing these puzzles, and as for “puzzles,” the simple connect the dot nature of their design isn’t challenging. It only feels like a forced design choice that seems like an obligation to include.
One obligation that I do think is quite rewarding-as well as satisfying-is Batman’s combat strategizing. These connect the dot moments-unlike investigations-are simple, yet fun to watch as Batman picks off enemies depending on how you execute the scene. It’s brutal. In many ways Telltale’s take on Batman is much like Zach Snyder’s version from BvS (minus the killing).
Speaking of scenes, there are many moments in Child of Light which feel heartfelt. Most of these moments are found in the father/son relationship Bruce and Alfred have. They genuinely care for each other and throughout the episode it is apparent why (which I won’t go into for spoiler reasons). Other moments such as one between Selina Kyle and Bruce start off strong but fall off leaving an abrupt moment in the middle of the episode. One which doesn’t necessarily add anything of importance to the story.
As a Batman fan however, I did enjoy my time participating as both Bruce and Batman. Each are given just the right amount of time without being overbearing. Though it would be nice to have more freedom of choice when tackling certain scenarios that might have greater consequences. Despite this, the scenarios that are presented are enough to understand both sides of Bruce’s mentality.
Despite some technical hiccups the conclusion of Telltale’s first season of Batman is one of fan pleasing moments. The surprisingly heartfelt levity of its story, as well as the intense combat make City of Light one of the strongest episodes to date.