My Thoughts on Episode 5
So, I'm not really a regular forum user here. I hang out at othertwdforum most of the time. Still, there's something I really like about the idea of Telltale maybe possibly being able to see what I, a humble fan, thought of the episode. So, I'm just gonna post my "review" of Episode 5 from othertwdforum here if that's okay:
This was.... maybe the best single episode Telltale has ever done? And quite possibly the best Batman story ever. It's definitely the best Joker story ever. This was truly an emotional rollercoaster - not in the sense that it was really good, but in the sense that it was intense, tragic, hilarious, contemplative, dark, joyful... Seriously, this episode in itself is honestly a masterpiece.
I LOVE John. Flat-out love him. Those first thirty minutes? Fantastic. Absolutley hilarious and a ton of fun with just a touch of darkness. Seriously, this was what I was hoping for when I found out in Episode 4 that there was a way for Joker to become a vigilante. Telltale delivered on that. Oh, hey, can we talk about this episode was like, not only funnier than every episode of Guardians of the Galaxy combined but almost on par with an episode of Tales from the Borderlands with how funny it was? Seriously, I had to pause the game because I was laughing so hard at, "You're THE Alfred! I've been collecting tabloid photos of Bruce for years and you're in at least a third of them!" John trying to do a British accent, blowing a raspberry at Waller, "The only difference between the Pact and you is that you think you're funny." "I AM!", "Your new partner!... That was your cue, dear." "I'm not ready yet!". Like, there's just so many good jokes that actually honest to goodness made me laugh out loud. The timing of these jokes is better than some actual comedians have. I doubt everyone feels the same way, but the balance of humor and darkness in this episode, even right up until the end is fantastic.
The fight scenes are great, too. Telltale finally figured out fight scenes, yay! I remember how stutter-y the fight scenes in Season 1 were. How they slowed it down every half-second so you could hit a QTE(bc that's what matters), how they paused the action right before a fight to set up choices... To go from that to this is fantastic. Like I've said in all my "reviews" of these episodes, I love those big choice QTEs. It delivers on the promise from the first season of "directing the action", and it makes the QTEs feel like they have some meaning. Still not a fan of the regular QTEs, Telltale should probably just get rid of those entirely at this point, but they were less intrusive in this episode and overall the fights all felt really well-paced. I loved fighting Bane with Joker, fighting the Suicide Squad on the rooftops while trying to keep Joker under control, and that final fight with Joker in Ace Chemicals was just so tense. I actually died once in that fight because I didn't want to hurt John too badly.
Here's something controversial: I'm glad there aren't any puzzles. Telltale's stories/shows are more like Interactive stories/shows than they are videogames, so mechanics should serve the story, rather than pad it out just to add gameplay to make it a Real GameTM. So, unless Telltale thinks mechanics/systems are there to serve the story, they shouldn't be there. Now, this doesn't mean I want no interactions other than choices, because I do like exploring certain hub areas, but I'm just glad that useless puzzles are gone. Honestly, the investigation scene in this episode was much more enjoyable than most because it just let me walk around and explroe the environment and had Batman come up with the solution himself rather than have a silly "linking evidence" mechanics. It also helps to pace it out better so Batman does't feel a bit slow coming to the answer as he did in previous investigation scenes.
Now, here's another maybe controversial opinion: I don't mind that John becomes a villain no matter what. Honestly, I didn't expect him to be Bruce's "Robin" - I just remembered one of John's prototype names was "The Giggler" and started laughing again(this episode is so good) - and having him be that would be too big of a branch for the series to ever continue(I'll get to the final choice). So, I'm just glad we got to spend some time with Vigilante Joker before the turn happened. And, as far as it happening, it was great! Seriously, I have absolutely no complaints about the confrontation at Ace Chemicals, it was perfect. So, yeah, I have basically no grips as far as that's concerned.
Now, I know Jayko said that other characters felt underutilized, and I agree, but I won't fault the episode for that. If other characters had taken more screentime away from Bruce or John, I think it would've hurt the pacing. This is one of those "no win" situations that only the best stories find themselves in in my opinion. That said, I do like that we got a chance to talk to everyone and conclude their stories. I liked that final talk with Iman and look forward to seeing more of her in a possible Season 3, I like that Bats and Gordon are still partners, I liked the final confrontations with both Bane and Harley, and I liked antagonizing Waller as she left. I'm maybe not super thrilled that evidently Catwoman is still an asset of the agency? I did demand her release, but didn't give up John. Still, I assumed Waller would remember that, and that she would release Catwoman before leaving Gotham. I guess not. So.... sorry Selina. I feel really bad about that, but if the story ever continues I assume Bruce will find some way to free her. (Okay, so I can't be bothered to delete this, but in checking my choices, it actually updated to fix her status to "On the Prowl". Great! I'm glad Waller/Telltale remembered my choice)
And then there's Tiffany... I love Tiffany. I am just a huge fan of her as a character, and I thought the twist that she killed Riddler was great. It makes sense, and it was genuinely surprising. I did kind of see it coming based on her reaction to when Bruce brought up Riddler's death at the watertower - and thinking about it I guess the fact she didn't know Batman didn't kill back in Episode 4 was a bit of a clue - but it still worked. Obviously, I let her stay as Bruce's protegee - I'd just be a huge hypocrite if I worked alongside John for as long as I did, but the condemned her for killed Riddler.
That final scene with Alfred was great, and it was honestly very resonant what Alfred was saying about Bruce because... he did seriously fuck up. He let his friendship to John blind him, and that resulted in a lot of people dying. In the end, I couldn't give up being Batman - especially not when Tiffany needed him to be there for her - but I do hope this isn't the last time Bruce sees Al. Oh, and I don't think this means there won't be a third season. A big bad shows up in Gotham - maybe Ra's Al Ghul? - and Batman has to come out of retirement. You have the opening of the first episode be different if Batman retired or not and make plenty of nods to it in dialogue throughout the season and you're set. If you want to end after that, then just have Bruce return to retirement, or maybe by the end of Season 3 he realizes giving up Batman was the wrong choice all along and he's still Batman when it comes time for Season 4(while I'd totally play). Oh, and maybe to raise the stakes in Episode 3, if Alfred stayed, you could kill him. I know Telltale doesn't like keeping determinants around, so keep him around in the background for a good number of episodes before you kill him to raise the stakes. Heck, they could do it as an opener in Episode 1 as the reason Bruce comes out of retirement and I wouldn't be mad. You know what I would be disappointed by? Not getting a third season, because honestly, this whole Season was a masterpiece. It was thoughtful, intense, funny, sad, and just alltogether amazing.
...Wow, and I haven't even played the Villain Episode yet!
Harley Quinn - Agency Asset. (50.1%)Dismissed her importance to the Agency. - Like TC said, I wouldn't mind a Suicide Squad mini-series or something. That'd be pretty cool. Maybe Deadshot as the Player Character?
Amanda Waller - Director of the Agency. (40.2%)Remained in a stalemate with her. - What's the other side of this choice? Anyway, I hate Waller and I'm glad to see her gone. She was a really entertaining character though.
Jim Gordon - Partners. (59.6%)Accepted Gordon's apology. - So I wonder if this means he's assisting Batman as a civilian or if he'll get his old job as Commissioner back, since I only said we should still work together, not that he should fight for his old job.
Selina Kyle - On the Prowl. (2.6%)Wiped Selina's criminal record. - Really? Only 2.6%? I mean, this choice did original glitch on me, so maybe that's also a glitch?
Tiffany Fox - Protegee. (80.6%)Took Tiffany under my wing. - If there is a Season Three(please Telltale, please!)this is the thing I'm most interested in. I wonder if they can keep all the different places Tiffant leaves off in going? It certainly seems like it might not be a huge strain, especially since she mostly just operates the drone, they could easily keep the drone but replace it with like, a robot assistant to say some of Tiffany's lines if needed.
Iman Avesta - COO, Wayne Enterprises. (54.9%) - Asked her to come work for me. I really like Avesta and I kinda ship her and Bruce to I hope she shows up in a potential third season.
Alfred Pennyworth - Parts Unknown. (58%) - Let Alfred go. I actually had to pause the (show?) and think about this for a bit. In the end I just let the timer run out. My main deciding factor was Tiffany. I couldn't promise to be her mentor and then leave the mission.
John Doe - Fallen Friend. (54%)Told John we were still friends. - I'm under no illusion that John can be redeemed after what he did, but I do like that Bruce went to visit him(does this happen no matter what? I'm really curious if there are different post-credits scenes). If there is a Season Three, I do hope that John makes a brief cameo, maybe Bruce goes to talk to him in Arkham, or even just a phone call would be nice.
(70%)Saved Willy - Uh, duh? Why would I save the guy who tried to kill me?
(77.4%)Took Tiffany into the field - Look, if she and Bruce are gonna be partners, the least he can do is trust her.
(68.5%)Refused to hand over Joker - At this point I thought he could still maybe be saved. Even if I believed he couldn't, I still wouldn't have handed him over to Waller so she could make him part of her Suicide Squad.
(58%)Choose to never give up being Batman - Already explained this one
(55.1%) Defeated Vigilante Joker - Can't wait to see the Villain Path.
Alright, time to disappear from this forum for another several months! Seriously though, if by chance any Telltale employees find this little post of mine, please, I am begging you, bring Batman back for a Third Season! I've wanted this more than I've wanted any season of Walking Dead, even more than I've wanted Season 2 of The Wolf Among Us! Well, regardless, really looking forward to the next season of TWD, TWAU, GOT, and whatever other new stuff is on the horizon!