Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2 – Children of Arkham (Video Game)


Batman: The Telltale SeriesDeveloped by Telltale Games

Available on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3

Rated M for Mature

When I reviewed the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series, I concluded that it was overall kind of bland, but gave slight hints into something greater. It hit all the typical “Batman” notes, but was flirting with going wildly off script. There were allegations that perhaps the Waynes weren’t the saviors of Gotham they pretended to be, and the duality between Bruce and Batman allowed you to color the character in a variety of ways. I hypothesized that this might be a great series, if only it got more interesting in later episodes.

Well fuck me, they certainly didn’t wait long to prove me right. This has got to be one of the best Telltale episodes since the conclusions of Season 1 of The Walking Dead. It wastes no time getting to the good stuff, and gives a take on Bruce Wayne worthy of a run in the New 52.

Directly following the finale of “Realm of Shadows,” “Children of Arkham” begins with a questioning Bruce Wayne revisiting the site of his parent’s murder. For years he’s been so certain that his father was a hero, dying needlessly in a botched mugging. He begins to question his own story, and takes a trip down memory lane to find out. The ultimate revelation is one that recolors the whole character of Bruce Wayne: his father was a crook, assassinated by an associate for unknown reasons. Bruce, his wealth, his quest to clean up Gotham, all are now cast in a completely different light. Is he the Batman because he wants to fix things, or because he just likes the power?

Batman: The Telltale Series

Because it wouldn’t be Batman if he wasn’t obsessing over the death of his parents

From there, the shit just keeps piling up. Confronting your old friend Oz, known better by his criminal alias The Penguin, you discover a terrorist revolutionary group ready to tear Gotham down starting at the top. Not content with just bombs and guns, they have devised a neurotoxin that strips people down to their most basic instinct. I can’t keep talking about it without spoilers, so here’s your warning:


After realizing your family was likely assassinated by the recently incarcerated Carmine Falcone, you pull some strings to arrange a private meeting with him in his hospital room. There you learn they he and your father were thick as thieves, and that Mayor Hill was their third partner in crime. Falcone was the muscle, Hill was the political mover, and Wayne was the name to make it all seem legit. Your interrogation is cut short however, when an officer dosed with the neurotoxin busts into the room and shoots Falcone square in the head. They are not fucking around this time.

Batman: The Telltale Series

Just wait for this to see how “not fucking around” they are.

It’s the kind of thing you’d expect at the climax of an episode, but it just keeps ramping from there. Confronting The Penguine in the ruins of Falcone’s clubhouse, you’re introduced to the first big baddie, a mutant named Blockbuster. He’s a minor villain in the comics, but his intimidating size and superhuman strength give the combat more weight than nameless thugs. There’s still plenty of those to go around, and you’ll team up with Selina Kyle—aka Catwoman—to take them down both as Batman and Bruce Wayne. It’s still the same Telltale signature quicktime events, but the combat is much more tense and rewarding this time around.

Batman: The Telltale Series

Penguin’s got a whole new look to go along with his “occupy wallstreet with machine guns” motive

Speaking of Ms. Kyle, she starts filling out her role as Bruce Wayne’s love interest/temptation to the dark side. I’ve seen some criticism online that she’s too much of a “typical female role,” but I don’t agree with that. As much as she tries to femme fatale you into the shadows, you equally can good guy her into the light. She doesn’t need saving, but she’s not too much of a tough girl to appreciate the help.


The pivotal choices also feel much more impactful this time around. You’ll get to pick at one point whether you tackle a situation as Bruce or Batman, which goes a long way towards giving your choices meaningful flavor. Telltale choices have always been compelling, but here the grey area is deeper than ever. There really is no clear “right” choice here. As Bruce Wayne’s legacy crumbles from both without and within, who’s to say you can’t sometime make a deal with the enemy?

Batman: The Telltale Series

He literally calls you to break up with you while you are driving to save him. Burn.

By the climax, such an incredibly amount of shocking information is revealed that you can’t help but be hooked. This is some stuff I wasn’t even willing to reveal in the spoilers section. You’ll just have to find out for yourself. And speaking of Telltale decision making, I have no idea how they will work their way around the final choice in “Children of Arkham.” Depending on what you do, some radically different things happen. It really seems like this might be the Telltale game that breaks the mold. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Episode 3.

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