Season 2 of Telltale’s Batman comes to an end with a finale that ties everything together, throws in some great plot twists and sets up some great decisions leading into a potential third season. And yet it still feels like a let-down.
Same Stitch is the fifth episode of Telltale’s second Batman season subtitled The Enemy Within. After the climactic events of previous episode, John Doe has finally taken steps towards his alter-ego and Batman must deal with him, a vengeful Amanda Waller and the remnants of the Pact’s plan in order to finally bring peace to Gotham.
This episode is unique in that your final choice for episode four essentially determines which one of two episodes you get to enjoy – the Vigilante Joker episode, or the Villain Joker episode. Its rather impressive in that Telltale has essentially created two considerably different climaxes to the same story, which would be great if the two were actually equal. While Villain Joker finally creates a satisfying resolution to John Doe’s arc and gives you a compelling antagonist to deal with, Vigilante Joker is… not those things. Not only does his design come off as a little bit stupid, it also feels fairly arbitrary and worst of all Anthony Ingruber’s performance really doesn’t pull it off. He’s always been a little bit naff, but once the episode needs him to step up he just fumbles over his purple overcoat. Its a shame (although I will concede he has a quality laugh) that after all this build-up and me really beginning to at least admire his take on the Joker, the landing just doesn’t quite stick.
Beyond that though, Same Stitch has plenty to offer up. Regardless of what Joker you end up with, there’s plenty of climax to enjoy here and a few really tough decisions to make that are sure going to be groundbreaking going forward. The episode does skew a little too far towards action (even if it is typically well done) as opposed to choices, but even that’s not a major gameplay criticism. The episode also does a fantastic job tying up all the loose ends that have been accruing over the previous months and combining them together into sequences that are compelling and appropriately dramatic. As much as the Joker himself stumbles, the rest of the episode manages to shoulder a bit of that burden.
And no bugs! What a joy. That’s one thing Telltale has consistently been improving upon over the course of the last two seasons. That being said, I would not be opposed to an engine change going forward – as reliable as they have now got it, there will come a time when Telltale will have to adapt or die. And I think that time may be sooner than they realise.
While final episode Same Stitch was perfectly solid and provided some great moments and decisions, its hard not to be a little disappointed with how the Joker finally arrived. The episode split was novel but led to an experience far inferior to the other and sadly didn’t quite stick the landing when it came to Batman’s big bad finally arriving on the scene. All in all, if you’re already four episodes in you owe it to yourself to finish, but this isn’t quite the showstopper it could’ve been.
Casual Gamers: Recommended