Game: Batman: The Telltale Series Episode One Realm of Shadows
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform(s): Windows, PS4(reviewed), Xbox One
So I’ve never been particularly shy about saying it. I don’t typically care for Telltale games. I love a good story, and I can see the draw, but they’ve just never clicked for me. One thing I do like quite a bit, however, is Batman. When I heard Telltale was working on a Batman title, I knew if the Dark Knight couldn’t hook me no title from this developer could. So I dug into episode one right away. I hit some bumps in the road with the messy PC version; you can read about that here. What did I think about the start overall, though? Let’s get into it.
Batman: The Telltale Series follows what can be assumed to be a year one Batman as he pursues the Falcone crime family and his parents mysterious, possibly criminal past all while trying to back Harvey Dent, the man who will one day be Two-Face for mayor of Gotham. The game does some fun things with characters we’ve never actually seen interact too much in the world of the caped crusader. A romantic relationship between Selina Kyle and Harvey Dent, as well as a very different version of Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin. It was this portrayal that I found fascinating. Oswald referred to as Oz by Bruce, is an old childhood friend and an analog for the path Bruce could’ve taken. Oz trades in the short fat build of the Penguin made most famous by Danny Devito’s portrayal, for a tall, slender young man. He does keep the cockney accent, though. It remains to be seen whether Oz is enemy or ally, I would love for the opportunity to redeem him before he truly becomes the Penguin, though.
Gameplay is, for the most part, what you would expect from a Telltale title. Make choices in conversation that Alfred, Harvey, Gordon and the rest of the supporting cast “will remember.” The combat is probably the least fun part. Batman battles thugs through a series of quick time events, these I could do entirely without. It all seems to have some great choreography as it unfolds but that’s hard to enjoy when you’re on your toes for the next button prompt. The most fun and exciting aspect of gameplay, though, has to come in the in-depth crime scene investigations. Upon arriving at the scene of a crime, Batman scans the area for evidence and in a sort of cause and effect type of thinking, links certain pieces of evidence together and you can watch the crime unfold before your eyes.
Graphically, Batman doesn’t do anything impressive. I’ve always liked the look of Telltales cell shaded comic book-like art style, however. It translates to a Batman-centric game very well for obvious reasons.
Batman: the Telltale Series first episode does some pretty great things, for starters, it made me more interested in being in the shoes of Bruce Wayne than Batman most of the time. Something an action game would have an incredibly difficult time with. I’ve never been grabbed by a Telltale game before but this one has its hooks in, and I can’t wait for episode two. The game isn’t without out its faults, the majority of my choices don’t feel very impactful just yet, it is just episode one, though. Also although some might complain I could do with an overhaul of the combat quick time events, hell I could do without them altogether. At a $5.00 price point, though, I see no reason not to give it a shot if you’re a fan of this genre or the Dark Knight in general. Just stay away from the Steam version. You can Pick up episode one on PSN and Xbox Live now.
Score: 7 out of 10
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