By Marty Mulrooney
City of Light is the fifth and final episode of Batman: The Telltale Series, a five-episode adventure game from Telltale Games (Tales from the Borderlands, The Walking Dead: Michonne). With Lady Arkham still at large and his family name in ruins, can Bruce Wayne save Gotham City and keep Batman’s true identity a secret while continuing to protect the people he loves?
The beginning of Episode 5 deals directly with the childhood-friend-turned-villain left standing after the events of the previous episode. This reviewer took down Cobblepot/Penguin in Episode 4 and therefore ended up facing off against Harvey Dent as he threatened to kill hostages inside the burnt out wreck of Wayne Manor. It’s a strong opening, with Bruce Wayne leaving his cape and cowl at the door as he tries to save his old friend. At least, that’s what I did – and I was very impressed when Harvey Dent didn’t become Two Face! Of course, he’s still extremely unwell… but his face remained intact and there was enough good left in him to save some lives. There’s still hope for him yet.
These opening moments perhaps sum up why, despite some missteps and technical issues along the way, Batman: The Telltale Series has been an overall success. The decisions made were often just smoke and mirrors (aren’t they always?), but they’ve certainly been convincing enough in the moment. Telltale Games has done a fantastic job of allowing players to become both Bruce Wayne and Batman, with all the moral dilemmas that most complex of dual identities entails.
Due to the fact the final episode has more leeway than usual to play with its storyline based on the decisions players have made in the previous four episodes – coupled with the desire to avoid any unnecessary spoilers – City of Light is perhaps the hardest episode to review. Unsurprisingly, these last few hours mostly focus on Batman hunting down Lady Arkham before her mysterious master plan unfolds. Surprisingly, she eventually becomes a somewhat tragic villain that it’s all too easy to relate to, despite not agreeing with her methods. One moment in particular involving a claustrophobic hidden room is shocking and perfect for all the right reasons.
Elsewhere, there is the most involving ‘crime scene investigation’ yet, a difficult farewell scene with Selina and an absolutely brilliant final battle full of high stakes and brutal quick time events. In short, more of the same; your mileage will vary based on your personal enjoyment of and investment in the series as a whole. The voice acting is superb as always, but special mention must be made for Troy Baker as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He’s done a wonderful job in each and every episode and his voice sounds so different – yet so natural – that it’s often easy to forget it’s actually him.
City of Light wraps up the series nicely while leaving enough dangling threads to make the possibility of a follow-up a very real, enticing possibility. It’s almost a shame that John Doe/The Joker was introduced briefly last episode before being teased again in the finale. He’s a classic villain no doubt, but Batman: The Telltale Series has always been at its best when it has turned previously established franchise tropes on their heads. City of Light isn’t the strongest Batman episode to date, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining, fitting end… for now. Here’s hoping the second season will continue to take creative risks and push the boundaries of what gamers think they know about Batman and Bruce Wayne. Therein lies true, dark, bat-shaped gold.
8 OUT OF 10