*Reviewed on PS4. Also, some spoilers for the first and second episode of the season follow.*
A Fractured Episode
Well, we’re at the halfway point. With A Fractured Mask, Bruce’s story continues toward a path that at times feels misguided, lost and somewhat boring.
A Fractured Mask see’s Bruce’s gradual acceptance among his fellow rogue’s gallery (Catwoman included), and the continued rivalry between Gordon and Waller. That’s all episode three dwells on; these two conflicts. Episode one of this season felt very unique, as it felt very tight and rounded in terms of a beginning, middle and end. Whilst episode two and three feel far too drawn-out for their own good.
The relationship struggles found in episode three would feel more meaningful and impactful if greater chances were taken. For example, the new relationship meter will display a change depending on the type of choices picked. The problem is I know that no matter what choice I choose, the end result won’t really matter since it pretty much caters to a precise outcome. For the first two episodes, I built my relationship up with Gordon so much that we were practically blood brothers, while Waller was left out of my interactions with Gordon. Even so, it’s as if my choices never mattered as my relationship with Gordon changed so drastically, it’s as if Waller was technically my Gordon all along.
Episode three felt like this almost throughout, moments as Batman – though minimal – resorted to nothing besides quick-time events masked in clunky animations. Even puzzle-solving and detective work feel somewhat irrelevant. I constantly found myself wondering why Telltale doesn’t make a cutscene-driven game with only dialogue options that have an actual impact on the story. While my decisions didn’t feel justified, I found that interactions between certain characters still were enjoyable in their own right. Batman’s Rogues Gallery is arguably the best ensemble cast of villains in any comic book series. So, despite my actions not feeling justified enough, I still had fun socializing with each character. Especially Joker and Harley (go figure). Let’s hope things really start to pick up from now on.
Fractured Mask is a culmination of ideas that just don’t work. Instead of relying on more gameplay, the episode is bogged down by a meandering story that – so far – isn’t showing real promise.