With Batman the Telltale series I’m arriving more like Bruce Wayne than Batman: fashionably late. Here you will find me looking into Batman The Telltale series, starting with an Episode 1: Realm of Shadows Review.
Yes, the second episode is here and that review will follow very shortly here on MGL.
I have been looking forward to this one as both a fan of the Dark Knight and Telltale games during a rather hectic summer. It’s been a long wait but finally I have been the Batman! Well, while I wasn’t being Bruce Wayne but more on that later.
In this first episode we have a story that on the surface starts out at more of a flutter of bat wings than a swam of the feisty creatures. But there is promise and more than a few good signs this could really be an exciting Batman experience.
Look and Feel – Holy Artwork Batman
I may as well quote this on loop for Telltale work, but I really do love the art style they use in all their games. This one is no exception and every character just looks the part with every detail looking polished.
The settings are too really well thought out, with a night time Gotham City one of the stand out scene as you chase down Catwoman. The buildings, lighting and details around the city all look excellent.
Soundwise the game is well acted and has a great score with hard hitting sound effects to boot.
While the artistic side of the game works so well, I have to say that once again, the technical side of Telltale development lets the title down. I mean, a graphic adventure with frame rate dips on a PS4? Surely this has to get better at some point. As scenes change there is slow down, little stutters and freezing moments that really should be gone by now given the games they have produced in this style.
But outside of the jerkiness and the rather poor edits here and there, there is a lot to enjoy in its presentation as a piece of gaming art.
Story – I’m… Bruce Wayne!
OK so here’s the question: why isn’t the game called, Bruce Wayne: A Telltale Series? Obvious right, people don’t want to buy that, they want to buy Batman!
My point here is that the first episode very much centres around Bruce and not his alter ego. Sure, there is a great start to the episode that sees you take on the role if the Dark Knight stopping a robbery. But outside of that, there is a lot of Bruce.
Back to that great start that sees you foil a robbery, after taking out some goons with a nice QTE system, you apprehend the criminals. But just when you think it’s all going your way, you are introduced to Catwoman. The chase that ensues is rather cool and leads a nice moment with Selena and Bruce later in the episode.
The rest is a lot of Bruce who is supporting his friend Harvey Dent become mayor (that’ll work out fine, obviously). Falcone gate crashes and soon there are some decisions to make. Regardless of the choices, you’ll find Bruce on the end of scandal and a twist that I quite like personally.
There are more characters in the episode that make an appearance too, with Vicky Vale, Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot and good old Alfred of course. The voice cast, including Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce and Laura Bailey as Catwoman, are all excellent too.
So while there is a lot going on, and there are some great voice actors and good scenes. There is unfortunately the feeling this is going to be a slow burner of a series, maybe taking this one as the main hit where it comes to taking it slow.
It does end very nicely however with a well done investigation and take down sequence before the conclusion.
Gameplay – Detective Mode
No huge surprises await you here if you have played Telltale games before but there are a few alterations.
The same dialogue options are in place with a timer forcing you to make a choice quickly. Your smaller choices tend to affect the relationship with other characters, where big decisions affect the games direction.
One big choice was rather nasty that saw you given the choice to break someone’s arm as part of an interrogation. The stats also show how your choices here rank with others… My bone snap was certainly in the low percentages!
The new parts were in the action sequences, as being successful with QTEs gives access to a special move. You also experience some investigation with use of your classic Batcomputer and taking on a crime scene investigation. Here you link clues together to find out exactly what happened to kill a number of police officials in explosive fashion.
It’s got some nice elements so far and I did like the planning of the takedown sequence at the end of the game which was well done too.
Again, there just wasn’t quiet enough Batman sections for me.
It’s a more than decent start for this Bruce… I mean Batman series. They just need to get more of the main character in there next time out.
The gameplay is familiar but had some good touches to make it different enough.
I do like the story and, hopefully, they are using this episode to lay down some key details and more surprises are to come in the next episode.
Right now it’s a solid start but not quite a great one, but the potential is there.