I’ve made my second run through of the new Telltale Games offering from DC Comics and everyone’s favourite Dark Knight. It was one of those series that had so much promise throughout along with some great choices that begged to be explored further. And considering not every gamer has played this yet I’ve put together a comprehensive and spoiler free Batman The Telltale Series season 1 review you you to enjoy.
I am a big fan of graphic adventure games and comics, although I must confess to be more a Marvel person at heart. But getting to play more Batman Games on my PlayStation 4 is always a good thing. Like many, I was looking forward to this series and came in with high hopes. Sometimes they were met and others that really weren’t, read on to see my thoughts.
Do so in safety here guys. Let me make it clear there are No Spoilers here. I will talk about the overall themes and direction of the story with nothing specific mentioned. There is a look at some of the gameplay elements including choices, but nothing revealing.
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Look and Feel
One thing Telltale games get right is the attention to the artwork and once again, they get this going in Batman. Things are a little more slick than The Walking Dead or some of the other series we’ve seen so far.
Everything is really sharp and polished here too as you get into the technical side and do your investigations. Plus the combat sequences and the tense conversations are all captured really nicely.
There is another side to Telltale Games that is always suspect however. And it’s here in abundance all the way though the series. The technical performance of course. Anyone reading with experience of their games should know of the issues they all tend to share. Maybe it’s down to the engine they use to work on so many formats, but with Batman it runs really badly.
The loading between scenes take some time and often results in some jerky edits, which breaks the immersive nature of the story. Frames get missed, which in a graphic adventure on a PS4 really shouldn’t happen. Plus I even got a few crashes and a missing character, he left his eyes and lips behind though!
For everything this game does well in it’s presentation this really breaks it up and makes it hard to play.
Story – “A Bruce Wayne Telltale Series?”
It was in the first episode I really felt the need to refer to the game as “The Bruce Wayne Series” in my review rather than Batman. While it all makes a wonderful start as you take on the role of the Dark Knight right away, the majority of the episode is spent as Wayne.
You have to deal with the Wayne name, as there is a huge revelation early in the game that really affects Bruce. It’s a big turn away from the traditional Batman stories and I liked the way it was done.
There are a number of classic Batman elements in the game including the characters you remember. If you played either Arkham Asylum(review) or City Remastered(review) recently you may have seen or even played as them. Catwoman, Harvey Dent and Penguin are all here along with friends like Alfred and Lucius Fox.
What I enjoyed most about the game’s story is how it twisted these characters slightly. Nothing here is as you have understood it previously, origins are different as are their relationships to Bruce/Batman.
Plot & Characters
As I’m not spoiling anything here, all I will say is you are drawn into the world of Telltale’s version of Batman. This involves a lot of Bruce Wayne elements, the game even lets you choose at times whether to approach a situation as Bruce or Batman.
The plot starts without the need to have a “origin story”. Batman is already around even if a little inexperienced, everything is reasonably early in his journey with his alter ego. But what’s clever here is the story it tells around Bruce, but this the games strength and weakness.
Telltale tells the story of Bruce Wayne and his family history for the most part. Twisting it all up nicely and they do a good job of it. It also revolves around his support of Harvey Dent as a mayoral candidate. Again, that relationship is so well done too. As is the one with Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Alfred. It all gets very deep and some of the acting is exceptional.
On the flip side, this means Batman is somewhat a supporting character. Where the outstanding Arkham Games, like Arkham Knight(review), the story is about Batman. This makes for more action and talks about the character we really came to see.
There are some amazing moments in the suit and out of it but be prepared to be more Bruce than Bat here. It gives a more emotional and deep story perhaps, but lacks a true superhero story feel as a result.
Overall its a good story but could have been better for me. One major issue was the inconsistent episodes with some really hitting home, only for the next one to fall flat after. Not to mention the very predictable ending. Still, it’s an enjoyable experience and sets up the characters and this new Batman universe nicely for more.
Gameplay – Bruce Will Remember That
Telltale have taken the old point-and-click formula and tweaked it to make some amazing games. Here they add some new tricks to the mixture at times, while making the rest classic Telltale Games.
You will like it or you won’t, it’s not for everyone. But for those that do the quick time events and optional dialog this once again is well executed. And with the drama created by some of the more exciting episodes, some really feel like big decisions.
The first episode really starts off nicely with the action hitting right away. QTE’s dominate the action combat. Timing presses of buttons and thumbsticks (on PS4 at least) does feel nicely satisfying. Especially as you charge up your special move to complete the combat sequence.
Conversations get deep and can lead to some amazing scenes, positive or negative relationships and more. Because the scripting and acting is so good, making the dialog choices feels very meaningful in most part. The fact some are under a very short timer also adds to the drama.
The most important part of any Telltale Game is the key choices. These happen regularly within the episodes, with your choice even ranking online and saving into the next one. These are very well done and make the game worth playing again to see the extra scenes.
It’s a huge shame that technically the game has so many issues. You can’t enjoy the gameplay as much since you are in glitch-city at times and it really lets the package down.
But with new tricks like the cool investigation scenes that sees you linking clues to find out what happened. The time freeze attack and planning what moves to perform, makes this one of the most diverse of the Telltale Series. It’s a lot of fun too while it works.
It’s a very good game and could have been even better. The plot is well written but the main character here is Bruce not Batman. This will work for some, others not. But once you get into it, the story is very well done. There are twists, turns and an awesome take on the characters.
Technically the game is a mess, the loading and frame rate is shockingly bad at times. The series should not struggle like this running on PS4. Consistency is also an issue with some episodes being exceptional but let down by some poor ones.
Ultimately the game is well worth playing but it’s not Telltale Games best work overall. It does however have the potential to be next season if they sort the issues out.
See my final scores below and let me know what you think of this latest Telltale Games series.
About this Batman The Telltale Series Season 1 Review
Game Reviewed: Batman The Telltale Series – All 5 Episodes Of Season 1
Review Format: PS4
PEGI Rating: 18
Developers & Publishers: Telltale Games
Gaming Platform: PC Games, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Telltale Batman Episode 5 City of Light Verdict
Graphics - 8.5/10
Story - 8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Fun Factor - 7.5/10
A very good series worth your time but let down by some poor technical delivery and inconsistent episodes. The story twists the Batman Universe around and makes for some good characters. Plus the voice acting is great throughout. There are some ups and downs here, it could have been amazing but it's still a good series to experience.