Telltale’s Batman initially did a poor job establishing how the developer’s take on Batman would be different than what fans of the Bat were already used to. Now, four episodes in, Batman: The Telltale Series has set itself apart from the rest of the Batman mythos by explicitly focusing on Bruce Wayne’s inner torment in wake of a crushing familial betrayal and his crumbling relationships with close friends who eventually become enemies. Guardian of Gotham is one of the more enjoyable and intriguing episodes, introducing twists on established characters and finally shining a much-needed ray of hope into a grisly story, though it doesn’t quite reach the heights of episode 2.

Guardian of Gotham begins immediately after the dramatic cliffhanger of the third episode, with Bruce Wayne locked up in Arkham Asylum. With Gotham’s distrust and wrath against him, Bruce Wayne finds himself in a precarious situation without a friend – at least until a familiar face shows up. To talk about who this person is would taint one of the most delightful surprises within the episode, but rest assured that the twist that Telltale takes with this character, as well as the actor’s voice performance, is a spectacle that would justify playing through the episode even if the rest of the installment was dull. Luckily, this isn’t the case.

Guardian of Gotham finds Bruce Wayne on the rebound, rising up and taking back Gotham bit by bit as he squares off against Harvey Dent, the Children of Arkham, and corruption within Gotham’s police force. While this might sound like your typical Batman one-off story, the episode finds strength in how much humanity it gives its characters. Dent, driven insane by both a serum as well as heartbreak over Bruce’s betrayal in the last episode, shifts back and forth constantly between a madman who will stop at nothing to bring order to the city (even if it means slaughtering innocent people) and as someone chest-deep in grief and remorse. This makes interactions between Bats and Two-Face tense and heartbreaking. As I played through their encounters, I kept trying to help Harvey out as much as I could, knowing deep down things could only end in tragedy.

The gameplay remains the same from previous episodes, with you either navigating crime scenes and stringing together clues to figure out what happened or fighting off bad guys in quick-time event sequences. The animation and intensity of these combat sequences are enjoyable. If you’re annoyed by limited interactivity, you might find these sequences tiresome, but even then, they’re mercifully brief.

Guardian of Gotham is consistently strong throughout its two hours, constantly presenting tense scenes that play off the choices you’ve made in previous episodes, with one major disappointment: It ends on an abrupt note that offers no idea of what’s to come in the final installment. Still, this episode packs enough dramatic moments, character development, and entertaining action sequences to emerge as one of the best episodes in the series and one of the best experiences by Telltale in recent memory, period.

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