Available On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
We Played On: PC
After the build-up of the first two episodes of BATMAN: The Telltale Series, it’s safe to say I was expecting some major plot developments and pivotal decision-making in the course of my playthrough of New World Order. While there were certainly important events, I found myself a bit disappointed with the decisions I was presented with, as well as frustrated by the outcomes that followed. Though I enjoyed this episode, I had a few negative feelings about it mixed in with all the positive ones.
It’s tough to be the middle episode in any story arc. The beginning episodes have the relatively straightforward task of setting the stage, the final episodes have the thrilling climax and conclusion of the action, and the middle has to somehow bridge the gap between the two points. New World Order didn’t fail to continue the plot set out by the first two episodes and it brought some fascinating new twists, but I ended up feeling like my actions were less meaningful overall.
While certain outcomes might very well have been inevitable in Realm of Shadows and Children of Arkham, I felt as though I could choose any path for Bruce Wayne that I wanted. In New World Order, I had a sense of being much more constrained; it seemed like the story was pushing me in particular directions. When I didn’t pick certain choices (specifically in a scene with the Bat and the Cat), it seemed like the story was disappointed in my decision, and kept trying to subtly push me towards a story point that I was actively trying to avoid. The amount of freedom I had may have been the same as in the rest of the episodes, but I could see the walls of the box this time. The trick with Telltale games is that they make you think that you can do anything while artfully piloting you through a well-written story with a few diverging paths. Being a puppet and being able to see my own wires was an unpleasant experience to have.
However, my frustrations were with the sense of futility in my choices, not with the actual evolving of the plot. Tragedies both familiar and unexpected to fans of the Bat-verse unfolded in satisfying ways, and players get to see Bruce Wayne and Batman’s relationships with other characters continue to develop in interesting ways.
This episode was split more evenly than usual between quick time events and dialogue options. There was also an investigation section, but detective work definitely took a back seat to brawling and conversing.
This episode adds a few more items on its rating; violence, blood and language all make another appearance, this time accompanied by sexual themes and use of drugs. The overall tone is also darker, since events in Gotham are continuing to spiral.
Though I found frustrations in New World Order, I was also excited about some of the unexpected turns and the continuing ability to mold a Batman the way I wanted to. After the cliffhanger ending, I’m going to be on the edge of my seat all the way until the day episode four releases.