Available On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mobile
We Played On: PC
After the release of the first episode of BATMAN: The Telltale Series in August, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the second episode to come out. I’ve felt a mix of excitement and apprehension while waiting to see what the second episode, Children of Arkham, had in store. I can say with confidence that any fears I had about this episode living up to the first have been put to rest.
While Realm of Shadows set the stage for the story arc, Children of Arkham really starts to dig into the meat of the plot. The player’s choices really begin to shape the character of their version of Batman and Bruce Wayne, and guide him through challenges that require both mental and physical strength. Any players who felt like the first episode played it too safe and stuck to well-trod paths are in for a surprise in Children of Arkham.
In my review of the first episode I expressed my feeling that sometimes content creators just want to do something different to shock and awe the consumer; Children of Arkham is not doing that. This episode’s particular plot twist seems to be a thoughtful and planned pulling of the rug from under the player’s (and Bruce Wayne’s) feet.
Children of Arkham spends most of its time following Bruce Wayne rather than Batman, but the Dark Knight still gets some time to shine. This episode provided some very exciting choices for me, personally. There are a some pivotal moments in the life of Batman as we know it from the comics and movies, and it was incredible for me to get to choose how I thought Batman would and should react. It turned out that I made some unpopular choices (after the episode you are shown a percentage breakdown of what options people chose), but it felt right to me. As always, Telltale shows just how enjoyable getting to make choices can be.
This episode felt extremely action-packed. Without the requirement of having exposition in the way of Realm of Shadows, Children of Arkham is free to spread its wings and continue to explore different plot lines that are threaded throughout the series. Those who wanted the first episode to move along faster will certainly have their wish granted in this second installment.
Just like in the first episode, the gameplay consists of a mix of dialogue choices, quick time events, and detective work involving linking different objects to each other. However, this episode didn’t have nearly as much detective work, and what investigating there was didn’t feel as fulfilling as the sections in Realm of Shadows. Though I enjoyed the detective aspect in the first episode, it made sense plot-wise that this episode had far less of it. I hope to get to do more in-depth investigating in future episodes.
Just like the first episode in the series, this game is rated M for Mature for violence, blood and gore, and language. Though I feel that this episode is a bit more toned down than the first one, it still certainly deserves the rating that it was given.
Despite being afraid that it would be difficult to live up to the incredible debut of the first episode, I actually was even more impressed with Children of Arkham. The stakes were higher, the choices felt more meaningful, and the plot twists and turns were even more delicious. I look forward to seeing what the third episode brings to the table.