Bruce Learns the Devastating Truth About His Parents in Episode 2 of Batman — The Telltale Series

Saturday, 24 September 2016 - 2:44PM
DC Comics
Batman
Saturday, 24 September 2016 - 2:44PM
Bruce Learns the Devastating Truth About His Parents in Episode 2 of Batman — The Telltale Series
Batman - The Telltale Series got off to a great start with its first episode, Realm of Shadows. The series introduced a Batman malleable to the players will, capable of being either brutal or merciful, broody or lighthearted. It also gave gamers an intriguing story and beautiful fight choreography, all of which helped to make it a truly memorable experience. Now, episode 2 of the series has been released, and Gotham has gone even crazier than usual.  

Episode 2, entitled Children of Arkham, follows Batman's crusade as he finds out the devastating truth that his parents were the worst gangsters and villains in Gotham. That's definitely a huge change from how they're usually portrayed as philanthropists and do-gooders, whose righteousness inspired their son to fight for his city. Still, this variation on the Waynes serves a major purpose in the story and makes the tension in the game much more personal. Everyone - the media, Bruce's friends, even random guys on the street - believes that Bruce is corrupt. With Telltale's choice based narrative, this no doubt makes for some extremely interesting gameplay.

After recreating his parents' crime scene at the beginning of the episode, Bruce first goes to Falcone, expecting that he was the one who hired Joe Chill to kill his parents. This turns out not to be the case, however, and Falcone is assassinated by a drugged Detective Montoya. Bruce deduces that the drug is the same one stolen from the warehouse he investigated in episode one, and so he tracks down Penguin, the culprit.

Upon finding Penguin, Bruce learns of his intentions to kill Catwoman. Luckily, Bruce finds her first and the two form a partnership. When they hear that Penguin has plans to ambush the mayoral debate (which Harvey is participating in), they swoop in to save the day, and in the end, Bruce overhears that Mayor Hill, Harvey's crooked opponent, was really the one that hired Joe Chill to kill his parents. He also sees video evidence that his father cruelly drugged sane citizens that he had personal qualms with and kept them prisoner at Arkham Asylum. So the titular Children of Arkham, of which Penguin is a member, are seemingly revealed to be family members and loved ones of those that were put in the institution for no purpose other than crossing the crooked Thomas Wayne. 

The episode concludes as Penguin escapes, Mayor Hill dies, and Two Face is given a new backstory, with the end of episode two revealing how it is Harvey loses half his face. However, with concrete evidence that the Waynes were indeed crooked and corrupt, with Penguin still being on the loose, and with the identity of the masked leader of the Children of Arkham still being unknown, Bruce's greatest challenges are still yet to come.  

Though the story and plot of the game are fantastic, there were some creative decisions that don't really make sense upon deeper inspection. While the idea of Bruce's parents being crooked works for the story, it also takes away Bruce's motivation. Batman's entire philosophy about criminals like Joe Chill deserving justice vanishes into thin air, as that makes his parents deserving of their own fate. Likewise, the fact that Bruce views his parents as having been good natured, honest, caring people who loved Gotham is undoubtedly a large part of why he does what he does as Batman. The fact that their loss was a senseless, purposeless act of violence makes him want to ensure that no one ever has to ever experience the same pain he did.  

Yet in the game, the Waynes' deaths are not due to a senseless act of violence, but rather because they were gangsters that Mayor Hill wanted out of his way. What inspiration they gave to their son must be stripped away, seeing that if Batman's convictions do not waver, he would of necessity have to hate his parents and their actions. Likewise, the fact that so many people knew that the Waynes were corrupt and Bruce didn't is a plot point that doesn't coincide with Batman's character. Since when is the World's Greatest Detective literally the last guy in the city to figure something out?   

Still, though there are issues with this particular creative decision, Telltale manages to tell a phenomenal story. They characterize Selina Kyle perfectly - it's as if she's jumped right out of the pages of Hush or Heart of Hush. The choices that players are given are still high stakes and totally apt for a Batman game. Finally, the fight choreography is extremely cinematic and fun to participate in. It's undeniable that Telltale has created a truly engaging experience with Batman - The Telltale Series.  

There's still a lot more to come, with three episodes left before the series reaches its conclusion. Though there isn't currently any firm release date for episode 3, entitled New World Order, if Telltale keeps to their schedule, it should be out sometime in early November.
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