I have always been a massive fan of the Batman franchise and hearing that a Batman game was coming from Telltale was very exciting and surprising after Rocksteady’s series of games. Those games focused mainly on action and large open world environments and whilst Telltales version does have action sequences its much more story driven and focused on character development.
The story here is immediately absorbing, with the first episode, “Realm of Shadows”, focusing mainly on Bruce Wayne and the people around him. I’ve had mixed feelings about the Telltale games, loving The Walking Dead but not so much The Game of Thrones series. From first impressions I think that this Batman series could, if it continues forward in similar fashion to this first episode, could go on to be one of their best series.
Interestingly this Batman game sees you plating a lot more from Bruce Wayne’s perspective rather than Batman. The choices and actions you make as Bruce often impact relationships and how the city of Gotham perceives you. This first episode is a couple of hours long and starts with an awesome action packed opening that introduces you to the mechanics of the game and shows of some awesome cel-shaded design.
The core focus of the story going forward surrounds Bruce’s involvement within Harvey Dent’s campaign to become the new mayor of Gotham. I tended to side with Dent and his plans but we all know how that might turn out. You’re introduced to Harvey fairly early on with a party at Wayne manor, where many guests attend, including the notorious mobster
Carmine Falcone. It’s clear very quickly that Falcone isn’t someone you want to mess with and once again the dialogue choices you make impact the conversions and relationships going forward. The first episode has done a good job of setting up a wide variety of characters that I’m sure will develop over the course of the series.
The majority of this first episode is dialogue centric and it can start to feel a little drawn out towards the end, but overall it does a great job of establishing characters and giving a good sense of what to expect in the future episodes. There are segments, much like The Walking Dead games, that give you a little bit of freedom to move about specific environments and interact with items that are highlighted. I liked to interact with as much as possible to get as much out of the game and get more backstory.
What makes the Batman Telltale game different from their other games is the crime scene segments, where you’re looking for clues, interacting with objects and trying to work out what has happened. I recently played the Telltale Minecraft series, which is a child friendly game, but this Batman game has a much more serious tone, with gore and violence from the start. Like all Telltale games, there are plenty of sequences that involve quick time events and they are actually surprisingly fun to play and are designed well, with slick animations and a good variety of button prompts. The combat involves a mixture of brute force, intelligence and of course a variety of gadgets. QTE’s are fast-paced and hard-hitting, which makes for some exciting action set pieces.
The combat is fun but the game shines most in this episode when you’re playing as Bruce Wayne and get to delve into his lifestyle. Telltale have designed the game so that you’re able to choose what sort of antagonist you want to be, with different personality arcs. I liked to be a positive Batman that’s trying to make the city a better place by supporting Harvey Dent.
The presentation of this new series looks great, with an awesome cel-shaded style and slightly better graphics than past Telltale games. The comic book style approach is a no brainer for this Batman game and I’m sure Batman fans will enjoy the design overall. The animations do occasionally stutter but nothing that impacts the gameplay. Character animations can look a little bit stiff at times but the fantastic writing makes up for it. The sound design is another strong point, with Troy Baker voicing Batman/Bruce Wayne, Laura Bailey is Catwoman and Travis Willingham plays Harvey Dent. I was unsure about Troy Baker as Batman at first but I soon warmed to his performance.
Overall Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 1: Realm of Shadows is an awesome start to what I hope is a fantastic series. The first episode does a great job of balancing play time between Bruce Wayne and Batman and the gameplay was varied enough to keep me engaged throughout. The characters and writing are fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens in future episodes. I highly recommend checking out this first episode if you like Telltale games or you’re a fan of the Batman franchise.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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