Batman – The Telltale Series: Episode 2 – Children of Arkham

The Caped Crusader’s search for answers continues…

This review contains spoilers of Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the series.

The first episode of Telltale’s Batman series was a triumph, carving out their own identity of the Gotham universe. Children of Arkham picks up after the end revelation from Carmine Falcone that Thomas Wayne was the biggest gangster in Gotham. It later turns out that both men and Mayor Hill worked together to run Gotham, not only that but Thomas had committed innocent people to Arkham Asylum who got in their way, like Penguin’s mother for example. No wonder Oswald has an axe to grind with the Wayne’s…
Telltale are playing the Joe Chill killed Bruce’s parents story, but with a twist. It was a hired hit, which results in Bruce questioning Falcone either in prison or the infirmary depending on if Batman impaled him or not in Episode 1. A shock soon ensues and proves that Telltale aren’t afraid to kill off characters in their take on the Batman series, something I wasn’t expecting. Batman and Catwoman grow closer, while Harvey Dent tells Bruce he has to distance himself from the Wayne name, but still asks you to contribute to his mayoral campaign fund. The nerve! If only something bad would happen to him, oh wait…

It was obvious that Telltale were going to play out the Two-Face origin story, which hits it’s stride towards the end of the episode at the mayoral debate. Penguin ambushes the debate, killing civilians and surprisingly being the one to burn half of Harvey’s face off. So, Penguin creates Two-Face…a development I didn’t expect. What’s even creepier though is a masked villain who is in charge of the so-called “Children of Arkham”, it begs the question…just who is under the mask? Is it meant to be Scarecrow? Could it be Joker? I have a feeling we’ll find out in the next episode.
The quicktime fights are better than ever and flow fluidly throughout the action-paced sections. It’s hard to tell just how your decisions will impact the story, I was faced with a choice to either try and save Harvey from Penguin or save Catwoman. Me picking Catwoman gave Penguin the opportunity to scold Harvey, so have I created Two-Face or was it inevitable and unavoidable in this scenario? Or if not, then would it happen soon after?

There were a number of framerate drops during Episode 1 and while they are still prominent in Episode 2, there are less of them and the overall framerate seems improved overall. I’m sure overall performance will continue through patches, although the game did also crash on me twice randomly. Wherever it was game-related or hardware-related is uncertain as my PS4 does sound like a jet engine at the best of times.

Voice-acting is superb with some truly believable performances, the music again does not disappoint and the visuals look better than ever. Telltale aren’t holding back here, they’ve created something special to look at and I can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeves.

The Verdict

Children of Arkham is an amazing second episode. It’s full of difficult choices, shocking outcomes and the beginning of the Two-Face origin story. Whoever the masked man is will seriously impact Batman and Gotham, I can’t wait to find out who it is…and why Penguin is working for him, other than for revenge that is. Hopefully the wait for Episode 3 won’t be too long…

Score: 9.0