It seemed like a weird time to bring out Batman: The Telltale Series given all of the other titles fighting for the limelight back when the game was first announced. But given that Telltale Games has had a pretty solid record on their storytelling titles to date I know myself and many other tried to ignore all of the other Batman going on to give this version of the franchise a fair shake. Well the first episode of the game has been released and we have been able to play it. Here's our review of just how this new story and "franchise" is going so far.
It's time to head back into Gotham City for another fun adventure in the worst place to live in all of comic book history. The crime is rampant and Batman seems to have only begun his vigil for the city as everyone is still iffy on his tactics. That is fine for his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, as it was his choice to put the fear out their instead of using his vast fortune to build a better city. Even though he is still trying to do that in the political and social arenas more and more now by aiding his buddy Harvey Dent. Yes, you read that correctly.
One of the aspects of Batman: The Telltale Series that sold me was that we would be playing equal times as the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne in the game here. The first chapter of this episode even shows that in a perfect light. After that though, and this could just be how it felt and not a solid timeline, it was way more Bruce Wayne than Batman. Some of the Bruce moments did seem to drag on at a crazy slow pace so again this could be just perception but it did drag down the pacing of the overall game and left me wanting more Batman in the game that is titled just that.
The first part here is linked to my only real gripe of Batman: The Telltale Series here. While it did feel like there was more Bruce Wayne and his sections were a bit slower, it was nice to see more of a focus there than many of the other stories, films, shows, comics, and other media out there. Of course they don't go into the day-to-day monotony that is part of running a business and helping with a campaign but it did show that Bruce can be more of a hero outside of the costume than we normally get. I'm not even talking about him doing the Batman thing while in street clothes thing that usually is what is passed off for that.
In addition to taking a well-known IP and making something traditionally boring a bit more exciting, Telltale Games again pushed forward with a few innovations in the gameplay world too. They added in a few new items yet to be seen in any of their other IPs in terms the QTEs but they also added in the detective mode that was made famous by other titles. It is still pointing and clicking but it adds in the level of detail we should have when looking about a crime scene with the world's greatest detective. The mechanic here lets you "link" items together as you see fit and then we get to extrapolate the actual events based on that. If the choices and links make a difference in the overall game have yet to be seen by me but that would make it all worlds better if it did.
The above system for linking also moves into the realm of combat in Batman here in specifically one scene and I suspect the rest of the game. While the actual linking system works the same on our end with the pointing and clicking, we do get multiple options to take down all enemies in an area and our choices affect the actual movements and tactics in the play-out. I have a feeling that some were a bit more lethal of choices to make and some non-lethal so I have a feeling that will play in later but this moved us away from a more scripted fight to something we designed and then get to help Batman get right through.
Last up, and this kind of circles back to the first portion, I loved the changes to the lore and characters that we've all seen played out many times before. Some characters will never change it seems but the ones that Telltale took liberty with I hope DC comics takes to heart and adds them along the way. Even the big twist that I am sure will propagate over the rest of the season was a welcomed change to what we all think we already know. It is exciting to see that there may be a full lore change or twist coming that a lot of us may have never thought to discuss in the franchise past. Love when this is done well and Batman: The Telltale Series is doing it.
If you had any doubts on if you should give Batman: The Telltale Series a solid play even if it is only one episode in so far, then let me put those to rest. While it is more Bruce Wayne than Batman, to me at least, all of the risks and changes that were made here for the story and mechanics have paid off so far. If this is an indication of the rest of the season, then we are in for another home-run here to add to the others that Telltale has so far. It will be worth the wait for certain in my eyes.
I give Batman: The Telltale Series — Realm Of Shadows 5 Beaten Goons on the Beaten Goon scale.
Batman: The Telltale Series — Realm Of Shadows
Batman: The Telltale Series — Realm Of Shadows was developed by Telltale Games. Batman: The Telltale Series — Realm Of Shadows was published by Telltale Games for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on August 2nd 2016. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.