When Dark Souls III released earlier this year, I praised it for it’s interesting narrative, immersive world, intense combat, and strong RPG elements. I’ve invested around 110 hours into Dark Souls III since release, so naturally I was very much so looking forward to the first expansion, Ashes of Ariandel. It seemed fairly interesting, and very much so like Bloodborne, which I absolutely love. I’ve spent a good amount of time with Ashes of Ariandel, and I can say that it’s definitely worth getting if you’re craving more Souls, just don’t expect hour after hour more of playtime if you aren’t a PVP player.
An Imperfect Painting
Ashes of Ariandel is set in the painted world of Ariandel, and much like Dark Souls, it’s quite cryptic with its narrative, and exploring the world is key in order to find out what’s going on. I found what was going on in the Painted World of Ariandel was fairly interesting, and I became genuinely invested in some of the characters I interacted with, and I’m even further interested to see where the characters go from here. I don’t want to talk about the narrative simply to avoid spoilers, but if you liked Bloodborne, you’ll like Ariandel too. Ariandel as an open world is also very interesting, it manages to have open stretches of area without it feeling sparse and under populated. It’s a snow covered, dark land, and that’s conveyed extremely well through it’s inhabitants. I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring Ariandel, and some of the new weapons I found were extremely fun to use, and they manage to separate themselves from the weapons of Dark Souls III, and the same goes for the armour sets. Ashes of Ariandel has two brand new bosses and neither of them are let downs. Without spoiling anything, nostalgia is truly played on with the optional boss, and while it’s fairly challenging it wasn’t too difficult. The mandatory DLC boss on the other hand is one of the most unique, difficult, and fun fights I have ever had in a souls game. It surprised me not once, but twice with it’s mechanics and phases, it’s truly epic, truly challenging, and truly worthy of being called a souls boss. Most of the PVE content was fairly difficult, but there were some areas in the base game that gave me more trouble than most of Ariandel. PVP definitely wasn’t left out when Ashes of Ariandel was being designed, in fact, it was taken into consideration in a big way. Once you obtain a certain item, you can queue up for Undead Matches, which are essentially PVP fights in an arena, whether they be 1v1, 2v2, or an all out 3v3. The arena is incredibly well designed for PVP content, so it never got boring to play in. There’s so much time that can be invested into Ashes of Ariandel if you’re a PVP player, but unfortunately the same can’t be said if you aren’t. Ashes of Ariandel’s main content took me about 6 hours to finish and explore completely, which compared to the main campaign is fairly short. I feel like Ashes of Ariandel should’ve been a bit longer but there’s plenty here for PVP players. Lastly, Ashes of Ariandel’s environments are truly beautiful, with snow capped peaks, rot consumed buildings, decaying villages, and violent yet beautiful snowstorms cover the screen. There are some environments in Ashes of Ariandel that I absolutely loved, and I enjoyed exploring every bit of it.
Ashes of Ariandel is an okay start for Dark Souls III’s expansion packs. It’s definitely not bad, in fact it’s very much worth it if you crave more souls. Ariandel is a beautiful world, and the narrative it follows is definitely interesting, I just wish it could’ve been a bit longer for those who don’t play PVE.
-Ariandel is unique and beautiful
-Fantastic, challenging boss fights
-Undead Matches are a solid addition
-Lacking content for PVE players
Thanks for reading guys! That might be it for tonight, but i’ll put Batman up if I get the opportunity to. Thanks again, Harry 🙂
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Tomb Raider, a long running, universally acclaimed classic franchise. Tomb Raider saw a strong reboot to the franchise back in 2013, with the release of Tomb Raider on last-gen consoles. In 2015 we saw the release of Tomb Raider’s sequel exclusively on Xbox One, Rise of the Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider released to universal appraise from critics across the board, and it became well known for its strong protagonist, fantastic guerrilla warfare style combat, and strong performance for the whole adventure. Fast forward just under a year, and Rise of the Tomb Raider has finally been released on the Playstation 4, and it’s definitely the definitive and strongest version of Rise of the Tomb Raider to date.
The Croft Legacy
Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration bundles Rise of the Tomb Raider with all of its DLC, along with two new DLCs in the form of Lara’s Nightmare and Blood Ties. Rise of the Tomb Raider’s story is without a doubt one of the best I have experienced in recent memory. Without spoiling too much, Lara is hunting for the Divine Source, which was what her father died looking for in his last few years. Lara’s search takes her to various locations, such as Syria and Siberia. Lara as a protagonist steals the show in Rise of the Tomb Raider, she’s incredibly well developed, likeable, and driven by desire to find what she’s looking for. You can really see what the events of Tomb Raider has done to her, and I enjoyed Lara’s character for every single second of the story, even if it was at the cost of the under developed supporting cast. Multiple times I was caught out by twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming, and I was legitimately surprised by how much I was caught off guard. The villains of Rise of the Tomb Raider are just as strong as Lara herself, with strong motivations, morally grotesque actions, and some genuinely disturbing logic at hand, making them memorable and extremely entertaining for the entire duration of the story.
A Complete Package
Where Rise of the Tomb Raider really shines, is in its gameplay, consisting of fantastic guerrilla warfare, small RPG elements, and open world exploration. Tomb Raider plays extremely well, and firefights are fairly standard, as is the third person shooting, but the ability to craft smoke bombs, grenades, special arrows and more on the fly is what makes it truly refreshing and unique. Exploring is key in Rise of the Tomb Raider, in order to find scraps and materials to upgrade Lara’s arsenal of weapons, and to find tombs. Tombs are easily one of the standout features of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and everytime I could complete one, I would. They’re intellectually challenging, incredibly fulfilling, and the one problem I have with them is that there isn’t enough. Most of Lara’s arsenal from Tomb Raider is back, with some sweet new additions such as the wire spool, and most weapons can be upgraded and customised throughout the adventure. Rise of the Tomb Raider is filled with high octane set pieces, and there were moments where I was incredibly entertained by what I was doing, whether I was being chased by a helicopter, or climbing the side of a mountain, but at the same time Rise of the Tomb Raider gives you time to breathe.The Baba Yaga story DLC is an interesting 2 hour addition to the main campaign, but it’s nowhere near as good as the original story. Expedition mode is one of the most unique modes in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and i really enjoyed my time with it. Lara’s dumped into an open world, where she has to survive by keeping warm, and fed, all while she hunts for relics. It’s an interesting take on Tomb Raider’s gameplay, and the survival elements can make for very strong replay value. Lara’s Nightmare is an enjoyable addition, but after one play through I was done with it, and I don’t have any desire to go through it again. Blood Ties is the final piece of DLC for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which follows Lara exploring Croft Manor, trying to find things her father left behind for her. It’s relaxing, interesting, and definitely worth playing, and if you’re into lore, there’s a lot to be found in Blood Ties.
A Beautiful Frontier
Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Anniversary was a technologically flawless experience for the entire time I played it. Rise of the Tomb Raider never fails to look absolutely stunning, no matter where you are, detail is precise, environments are large and visually impressive, and character models are near flawless. The game runs at a consistent 1080 P at 30 FPS, with no drops whatsoever. I also noticed that the entire game is extremely polished, with no crashes or glitches throughout my entire experience. Rise of the Tomb Raider was an absolute treat to look at and I can’t wait to try it on the PS4 Pro.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is hands down one of the best games I have played this year. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my time playing this one, and if you haven’t played it before, I urge you to, especially if you enjoyed the 2013 reboot. It has an excellent story, solid gameplay, a strong technological front, and the amount of content you get for what you pay is more than worth it. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a game you must experience.
-Incredibly strong protagonist and villains
-Guerrilla style combat is unique and refreshing
-Heaps of content
-Looks and runs amazingly
-Plenty of replay value with Expeditions
-Weak supporting cast
Thanks for reading guys, sorry this took some time, I got more stuff coming up tonight and tomorrow. Thanks again, Harry.
Mafia’s one of those franchises that has left a big mark on the genre it fits into, and it really brought up how interesting organised crime can be in a video game in terms of narrative and gameplay. Naturally, from the success of Mafia II, we knew we’d see a third instalment, but is it any good? A new cast of characters with a few returning ones, and the brand new setting of New Bordeaux, Mafia III is pulling out all the stops in order to rise to the top of open world games.
New Bordeaux, 1968
Mafia III’s strongest point for the entirety of it’s 20-30 hour campaign, is definitely its story, and the way that it’s told. Mafia establishes what it’s going for right away, with an opening interview with various characters talking about Lincoln Clay, who takes the centre stage for the duration of Mafia III’s story. Lincoln is a Vietnam War veteran, a killing machine who still suffers from the things he did and saw done during his time in Vietnam. Mafia wastes no time establishing who Lincoln is, and I found he was an incredibly likeable character, and the cracks in his moral compass definitely show. Without spoiling too much, Lincoln is screwed over by Sal Marcano and the rest of his mob, setting him on a path of revenge against the mob boss and his family. It sounds extremely cliche, and it would be if Mafia III didn’t deliver it in the way that it does. A majority of the story-telling in Mafia is done through interviews from experts of a particular, or through characters from the story itself. It’s hard to describe how it really works, but trust me when I say it’s excellent, because it truly is. Characters are likeable, well established, and well voice-acted, and Sal Marcano serves as a good villain and antagonist to Lincoln. Supporting characters like Donovan, Father James, and the returning Vito Scaletta had me smiling every time they came onto the screen,and there were moments where I legitimately laughed to some of the things they said. The story also has 3 separate endings, and what you get depends on the choices you make throughout the duration of the campaign. Finally Mafia has some really interesting commentary on the racism and gender equality of the time it’s set in. I found it genuinely confronting that police always had their eyes trained on Lincoln when he was nearby, the ever-underlying presence of the KKK and Lincoln’s refusal to kill females also had me surprised. Mafia III easily has one of the best narratives I’ve experienced this year so far.
A New Breed of Mobster
Mafia III doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from its predecessors or other entries into the open world crime genre in terms of gameplay. It’s fairly standard, but that isn’t a bad thing, and it’s definitely not Mafia’s biggest downfall. Mafia starts off incredibly strong, with a solid opening act/prologue that really sets up the characters and the story, but then it takes a turn for the worst, and that’s Mafia’s gameplay structure. Mafia’s gameplay structure, is it’s biggest problem, and when I say biggest, I mean really big. Most of the game comes down to Lincoln shutting down rackets, luring out the boss, assassinating the boss, and then rinse and repeat. This is easily what 60% of the game is made up of, and after a while it gets boring, monotonous, and the story missions are few and far in between to be help break up the pacing. That being said, every single story mission is fantastic, and incredibly to playthrough, with multiple set pieces to keep the action and octane up, but they simply aren’t enough to redeem the rest of the game. Fortunately enough, Mafia III’s combat systems are handled fairly well, with a simple but robust stealth system, tight gunplay, brutal melee combat, and fun driving mechanics. As you take down rackets, you can allocate them to 1 of 3 underbosses, all of which have specific bonuses, and allocating rackets increases the amount of cash you can collect from them. It’s also worth mentioning however, that the underbosses that don’t get territory start to get angry with Lincoln, and they can actually decide to leave your mob. It’s a really interesting mechanic which gave the choices we’re given a lot of meaning. What bothered me quite a bit about Mafia, is that there’s very very minimal customisation in terms of Lincoln’s attire, cars, and weapons. There’s a fairly low number of cars to choose from once you get access to them, weapons can’t be given extra attachments, only upgrades to accuracy, ammunition etc. and Lincoln can’t be customised in any way, shape or form.
Beautiful New Orleans
Mafia also manages to consistently excel from a technical stand point, albeit some minor downfalls. Mafia III looks beautiful, and the entire game is a treat to look at, textures are nice, lighting is beautiful, effects are solid, and the overall art style of the world is amazing. I loved seeing the difference between the bustling streets of The Delray Hollow as opposed to the crocodile infested waters of the Bayou. Mafia III’s performance is passable, the entirety of the game ran at a solid 30 FPS on the Playstation 4, with minimal dips, and no bugs apart from one very funny texture glitch I had, which fixed itself almost instantaneously. One thing that really stood out to me was Mafia’s authentically awesome soundtrack, and I always found myself with the radio on because of it, however it did make the lack of a custom soundtrack option very apparent.
Mafia III simultaneously does so many things right, but so many things wrong at the same time, and it just so happens that the things it gets wrong are the vital ones when it comes to game design. It’s definitely not a terrible game, it’s quite enjoyable if you can get past its repetitive nature, but as it stands, I can’t recommend Mafia III at full price unless you’re really interested. As good as the story is, it doesn’t save the fatal mistake Mafia makes with its gameplay structure.
It’s not often that we see a first party triple-A title on any of today’s consoles, so when ReCore came along I was naturally shocked we were receiving a game like itself for such a low price. Naturally, I was looking forward to ReCore simply due to the fact that ex-Metroid Prime developers were working on it, and that was part of the inspiration for ReCore’s design. Well, ReCore’s out now, and has been out for almost a month, does it live up to the games it’s so heavily inspired by? Or does it trip over its own ambition to be a bigger game than it can possibly be?
A Home Away from Home
In the early 2020’s in the universe of ReCore a disease called the Dust Devil Plague began to tear apart and ravage Earth, slowly rendering it uninhabitable. The Mandate launches and has launched several missions the the planet Far Eden, to process the planet and optimise it for human life. Robots known as corebots were sent to complete this process, with the first group of settlers, and the terraforming of Far Eden began. Roughly 200 years later ReCore’s protagonist, Joule, wakes up and find the Far Eden is far from being fully terraformed, and that almost every single corebot has gone rogue for some unexplained reason. As supposedly the only living human on Far Eden, it’s Joule’s job to find out what happened to the terraforming process, and to start it back up again so that the people in orbit of Far Eden can settle in. It’s a fairly intriguing story at first, but once it all starts to come together it becomes fairly predictable and boring, with a main antagonist that’s just as weak as his motivations. Joule herself is fairly likeable, as are her corebots, and most of voice acting is fairly passable. I can only recall one moment where the story managed to pull on a heartstring or two, but that was the full extent of it. It’s a fairly weak plot, which had a lot more potential in the long run, but it definitely could’ve been worse.
Survival Starts in the Core
ReCore primarily plays as a third-person shooter with heavy platforming, exploration, and the inclusion of some light RPG elements. You’ll regularly find yourself moving from one dungeon to the next, or maybe you’ll do some exploring every now and again. ReCore’s gunplay feels tight, responsive, and fast paced, and it suits the game perfectly. Joule’s primary and only weapon is a rifle that’s quickly modified and upgraded in the first few hours of the game, in addition to 2 corebots. Joule can use a variety of different corebots, all with their own unique effects and damage outputs against different enemies. ReCore works off of a fairly simple system in combat, each corebot has a colour corresponding to its core, and they take more damage from the fire mode corresponding to that colour, and as you fight, your combo is built up, increasing your overall score. Combat was the one thing in ReCore I enjoyed no matter how far I was into the game, and there was something truly special about skillfully dodging and weaving through projectiles while firing bursts of coloured rifle energy at different targets. ReCore manages to excel in combat, but that seems to be the only thing it does right, at least for the second half of the game anyway. Exploration in ReCore is entertaining, but only when it’s of your own volition. ReCore’s biggest problem is that pads out game time in an incredibly dull, repetitive sluggish way. To enter a specific dungeon, ReCore requires Joule to have collected a certain amount of Prismatic Cores that are scattered around the open world and in dungeons. Early on this isn’t a big problem, but once you reach the final level you’re required to collect 20 cores, and then 5 more for each level up. It drained me, and it was extremely challenging not to stop playing ReCore each time I found out I had to collect more. It doesn’t help that ReCore’s exploration is fairly bland, with samey dungeons and huge masses of sand to trek across with no environmental sights to see anywhere. To make this process even more strenuous, Joule can only have 2 corebots with her at any one time, which means that if you need a certain corebot for a certain dungeon that you don’t have, you have to go back to the nearest fast travel point in order to get said corebot. Lastly ReCore has a few survival elements to it’s gameplay, throughout the world you’ll find various crafting parts and blueprints in order to make better parts for your corebots, making for some pretty unique customisation and upgrading. The one problem with upgrading my corebots was that I never really felt like it made a massive difference in the long run. Lastly is platforming, ReCore is quite keen on platforming and luckily it’s good platforming. It’s fairly challenging, but controlling Joule is tight and precise, making for an enjoyable time.
A Bland Wasteland
One area where ReCore fails to excel in at all is in the technical front, or at least from my experience. I had inconsistent frame rates, various bugs, slow loading times, slow down, and the game in general just looks really bland. It’s low resolution, low detail environments sculpted around passably detailed character models. Some of the dungeons have some interesting art design but they never reach the full potential they have. Areas feel copy and pasted for the most part and visually, I was never terribly interested by the way ReCore was taking its art design.
ReCore sets out to do something that is now alien to the market of gaming. ReCore definitely is not abysmal, it’s just very average. I can see what ReCore was going for, and I still think it had a lot of potential to be something great, and I still do. I hope Armature can learn from their mistakes, and release another game that fixes the mistakes ReCore made. If you’re really interested in it, wait for a price drop, but for now, ReCore isn’t worth it’s asking price when it becomes more and more boring.
-Tight and precise control
-Slick, elegant, fast paced combat
-Exploration is boring
-Need for use of specific corebots
-Unnecessarily padded out game time
-Bugs, slow loading times, inconsistent frames, and very average visuals
Thanks for reading guys, sorry this one took so long. Had some problems getting it started up and all that stuff. Up next is Mafia III – Harry :).
There’s always a lighthouse. There’s always a man. There’s always a city.
If there’s a few games I know i’ll always have a blast playing, one of them is definitely BioShock Infinite, and while for whatever reason I can’t say the same for the first two games, doesn’t mean they aren’t gaming gems. If i’m being perfectly honest BioShock, and BioShock Infinite are some of my all time favourite games, and naturally enough I was consumed by hype and excitement when I learned about the first few leaks of an alleged BioShock collection. A trio of fantastic games, two of which visually overhauled to look the part in today’s day and age, packaged with all the downloadable content released for them? I was down right from the very beginning, but does that mean you should be too? If you haven’t played any of these incredible games, yes, you most definitely should be interested in BioShock: The Collection, I can’t say the same if you have played all three, but if you’re looking for a reason to revisit them, trust me, this is reason enough.
BioShock – Would you kindly?
It’s hard to believe that the original BioShock was released more than 9 years ago now, when it stunned the gaming industry with it’s strong mechanics, excellent story, and intriguing setting. I didn’t become familiar with the world of BioShock until BioShock Infinite was originally announced, and once it was, I went back and played the first two games so I could fully enjoy what I believed would snatch up game of the year for 2013. You play as Jack, the sole survivor of a mysterious plane crash that occurred in the Atlantic Ocean, with the only land nearby being a lighthouse. You travel inside and enter a bathysphere, which takes you down to the 1960 under water city of Rapture. A dystopia created by Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine, and it’s your job to figure out how to get back to the surface. BioShock’s story is still extremely entertaining, and if you’re unaware of what happens, you will be genuinely gobsmacked at what occurs throughout the 10-15 hour story line. BioShock’s gameplay is definitely the game’s weakest link compared to what we have today, but for it’s time, BioShock was revolutionary, and it moved the FPS genre right along, popularising it in the process. It’s still fun to play, and it’s still got some interesting mechanics, with various guns and plasmids at your disposal, but it definitely feels aged and old. Scattered around the game now are Golden Reels, which players can find and pickup to later watch director commentaries focused on specific parts of the game. They’re well worth finding, and provide some real insight into what Irrational were going for when making BioShock. One thing i’m extremely pleased about is that BioShock looks amazing on the current gen consoles, and the texture overhauls work a treat in the environments of Rapture. Textures look sharp, character models are detailed, and there were moments were I stopped just to take it all in. This is 1080p in all it’s glory and honour, while the game consistently runs at a smooth 60 frames-per-second. If you haven’t experienced BioShock before, now is the time to do it.
BioShock 2 – Love is just a chemical. We give it meaning by choice.
Set 2 years before the events of BioShock, you play as Subject Delta, the 4th Big Daddy ever created. The opening cutscene shows Subject Delta in Rapture with his little sister, Eleanor, when they are suddenly separated by Eleanor’s mother. Using the mind control plasmid, Eleanor’s mother makes Subject Delta commit suicide, 10 years later, Delta awakens, and seeks to find Eleanor, driven by their previous connection to each other. Without spoiling too much, BioShock 2 does a great job at plot twists and presenting the unexpected to us. Just when we think one thing is going to happen, another takes it’s place, it’s truly entertaining, although I find the first game to be more riveting. Unfortunately BioShock 2 doesn’t come with the multiplayer function of the original game. BioShock 2 also comes with the story DLC, Minerva’s Den which is just as good as the main game, and has a really enjoyable story line too. BioShock 2’s gameplay, much like BioShock is its weakest link. Playing as a Big Daddy is really interesting and the new plasmids and weapons are fun to play around with, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling aged. BioShock 2 definitely does not fail on the technical front, it looks just as good, if not better than BioShock and always runs at 60 frames-per-second much like it’s predecessor. I much prefer how the settings and environments look in BioShock 2, and the new updated graphics show them in a whole new light of beautiful HD quality.
BioShock Infinite – Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.
BioShock Infinite to me is the strongest of the trio, and I just can’t get enough of it, it’s a truly incredible game. You play as Booker DeWitt, and without much context, you’re rowed to a lighthouse in the middle of no where with one goal; find a girl named Elizabeth and bring her back to New York. After progressing past a dead body, a scene of torture, you reach the top of the lighthouse, and enter a rocket powered room which shoot up into the sky taking you to the floating city in the sky of Columbia. The story has so many twists and turns and it has some legitimately tear jerking moments throughout it’s 12 hour campaign, with an ending that will shock you, confuse you, and leave you dazed for hours. It’s a very deep, meaningful ending, and I urge you to find further explanation on it if you haven’t already. BioShock Infinite easily has the strongest gameplay out of the three, it’s fast paced, challenging, and fairly open in terms of letting you do things how you want to do them. The new vigors are awesome and fun to use, and the new weapons feel extremely powerful and have a lot of punch behind them. New to BioShock in Infinite is the Sky-Hook which allows Booker to travel on Sky-Lines, attach to Sky-Hooks and brutally execute any enemy who’s unfortunate enough to survive anything that should’ve killed them. It’s a great addition to the game, and one I never got bored using. Infinite comes packaged with Clash in the Clouds which acts as a challenge mode, but the main DLC is Burial At Sea Episodes 1 and 2. These are fantastic DLC stories and although they’re on the short side, I get a serious kick out of playing through them. Both episodes are set in Rapture and they follow and alternate Booker and Elizabeth after the ending of the main storyline. I won’t go any further to avoid spoilers, but Episode 2 is hands down one of my favourite parts of BioShock Infinite. It provides a really new, unique type of gameplay that we’ve never seen in BioShock before and I absolutely adore it. Infinite on current gen consoles isn’t as impressive as it sounds, having played Infinite on PC, the updated visuals and frame-rate doesn’t impress me as much as the other two games, but if you played Infinite on last-gen consoles, you’ll definitely see the difference. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks beautiful and runs amazingly, but the PC version was already doing that.
If you’ve never played BioShock before, I cannot urge you enough to go out and buy this collection. These games are amazing, and they deserve all the attention and recognition they get. If you’ve played them before, the visual update and DLC makes the package worth a second visit, just keep in mind that if you own BioShock and/or BioShock 2 on PC, you get the remastered versions for free.Fantastic stories, beautiful visuals, solid frame-rates, and enjoyable game play albeit aged. This is the definitive way to experience BioShock if you’ve never treated yourself before. PLAY THESE GAMES!
-Engaging story lines across all three games
-Beautiful visuals and consistent frame-rates
-Infinite has awesome game play
-All the excellent downloadable content
-No BioShock 2 multiplayer
-BioShock and BioShock 2 feel aged
Thanks for reading guys, up next is ReCore, hopefully that’ll be up tomorrow or the day after.
To say I was impressed by the first episode of Telltale’s Batman series would be a massive understatement, I felt like I was exploring new ground and interacting with interesting characters that I know and love, yet, I hardly knew them at all. Telltale’s take on The Dark Knight has proved to be incredibly unique, unique enough to keep Batman and it’s mythos fresh. Episode 2: Children of Arkham continues that trend and further improves on it, with incredible character development, difficult choices, riveting combat sequences, and a genuinely great story.
The Same but Different
Episode 2 picks up right where Episode 1 left off, and in classic Telltale fashion, whatever choices you made in the previous Episode affects the next, and it’s incredibly apparent in the first 5 minutes. I started to feel legitimately bad about one of my choices in particular and i’m sure that’s a feeling i’ll eventually get used to. Gotham City is still in the middle of an election, and the counts are close. It’s coming to an end, but crime is still at an all time high in Gotham City, and it’s your job as Batman to deal with it in the best way possible, all while trying to find out what mastermind plan is in the works behind closed doors. My eyes were glued to the screen for the hour and a half it took to me to finish it (a lot shorter than episode 1) and I never once felt bored or that it was dragging on. The main star of Children of Arkham is the development of characters throughout the course of the episode. We get to know a lot about the Waynes and Bruce as a character himself, as Episode 2 further explores what caused him to become the Batman. There were legitimately challenging choices I made throughout the duration of the episode, and as I think of them now, i’m sure i’ll come to regret them later. Simple things like choosing whether or not to visit Mayor Hill as Bruce or Batman can change the entire dynamic and gameplay of the episode and I look forward to playing through again to make the choices I missed out on. Combat in Episode 2 is just as good as Episode 1, with an awesome bar fight with Catwoman about half way through. The lack of a crime scene section was a little disappointing, but I can understand why there isn’t one. One thing that Telltale have been consistent with is taking the same characters i’m familiar with, and turning them into something i’d never expect. I like to think I know Batman lore fairly well, and the fact that Telltale are still surprising me with their vision of The Dark Knight is to be applauded. Characters are being shown in lights they’ve never been shone in before, it’s fresh, new, and I absolutely love it. Episode 2 manages to look as good as Episode 1, with detailed character models and average environments. Performance is still an issue though, and it seems the game can never keep a consistent frame rate, but it’s definitely not unplayable.
Telltale’s Batman series has been incredible so far, and I really hope they keep it up and only get better from here. It’s shaping up to be my favourite Telltale series, with excellent choices, great combat scenes, interesting takes on characters, and meaningful character development. The usual flaws hold it back from being perfect, but hopefully Telltale can iron them out in Episode 3.
-Interesting takes on old characters
-Genuinely gripping story
-Incredible combat scenes
-Great character development
-Difficult choices throughout
-Inconsistent frame rate
Thanks for reading guys, The Bioshock Collection is up next and it’ll be up tonight!