Batman-The Telltale Series Episode Two: Children of Arkham tells a much tighter, more concise tale than the first episode. The narrative is much more concerned with introductions, motivations, and foreshadowing than it is about the present proceedings. This is a dark story about an even darker Gotham night.
The glitches of the first episode follow into the second. I expected for there to be some hitches but, didn’t expect them to be exacerbated. Problems like, Bruce having a conversation with an invisible woman that would later spawn in. Choppy frame rates and sound issues are noticeable throughout the episode. At one point forcing me to reload a save to regain the dialog. These are unneeded distractions that take away from the impact of events.
Of my complaints from Realm of Shadows was the lack of consequence for failing a quick time sequence. At times your agency didn’t matter. Events would just play out as they would. Children of Arkham has added urgency to quick time events by adding a fail state to them. One wrong button will end with a knife in the back or your head squashed like a ripe tomato.
The narrative of Batman-The Telltale Series Episode Two: Children of Arkham picks up with Bruce in Crime Alley mulling over the death of his parents. As he stands there, trying to recall the specifics of that night, looking desperately for that eureka moment in the deepest recesses of his memory. It’s here Bruce feels vulnerable and betrayed by those he trusted most.
This is really the emotional setting of the episode. A bruised ego scrambling desperately to put his family’s fall from grace behind him. As the events unfold, it starts to become clear just how deep the Wayne’s were in. It’s a through-line of one revelation after another culminating in the public release of a video that makes Thomas Wayne look almost irredeemable.
Alongside the main plot line are the introductions of characters and the realization of others. A small blossoming romance is starting to heat up in the strangest of ways. Children of Arkham is about setting the groundwork for the climax to come.
Omitted was the constant dramatic reminders of Bruce’s parents being murdered. Instead its viewed as part of a much bigger plot. The combat encounter planning portions are reduced to one segment along with the shortened detective sequence. A chance to decide if you should visit an “old friend” as suave Bruce or the terrifyingly brutal Batman as a methodology to accrue intel was a pleasant twist.
Everything said this is a much shorter episode that never wears thin. The much-improved story is a welcomed change. The murder of the Waynes is a story that is tired and trite at this point. We know why Batman is Batman and to add a new dimension was an appreciated change to the old mythos. Batman-The Telltale Series Episode Two: Children of Arkham is trying to tell its own story that isn’t always landing. This is a much-improved story but glitches hold it back from being more.