The console-handheld hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, has been showing a lot of success lately and more and more publishers and developers are supporting the system. Telltale Games, known for their critically acclaimed episodic and interactive title The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, showed their big support for the platform thus porting over Batman: The Telltale Series to be one of them.
Did Telltale Games add things to the Batman: The Telltale Series Nintendo Switch version to make it stand out from the rest of its iteration?
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Platforms Available: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Price: USD 39.99 (Nintendo eShop)
This review is based on a review code provided by Telltale Games.
The Bat-verse takes a different turn this time as Telltale Games brings a lot of interesting plot twist and narrative direction that shakes what we initially know about Batman and Bruce Wayne. Set in a totally different Gotham City, we still get to see iconic villains like Harvey Dent, Selina Kyle, and Oswald Cobblepot in this season. We see Batman differently as you can fully control his actions toward in situations that are deemed to have heavy decisions. You can either be an ass-hat Bruce Wayne or play like what you think Batman would do. That’s how Telltale Games came to their success – to drive the story with your own fingers.
Much like every other Telltale episodic tales, the titles are bound to have puzzles, quick-time-events (QTE) and segments where you must interact with the other characters. Getting to know Selina Kyle while keeping Harvey Dent at bay puts you in a tough spot. Would you rather save your friendship with the fully-funded soon-to-be Mayor of Gotham City? Or is your relationship with Selina Kyle far more important? Choosing between the two options can be breaking, but that’s where the fun starts. You get to see how the story branches out when you choose the other option which makes Batman – The Telltale Series one game to replay once you’ve finished it.
However, that thought is different from the instances that happened in some of its episodes. Players are believed to have total control over its story, this is not the real case here. The choices and dialogues you choose in Batman: The Telltale Series don’t give any significant turn. It’s the “ultimatum” or “choose between the two” sequences that have more impact. The tagline “the story is tailored by how you play it” is simply more of a façade that makes people believe they have full control unlike Telltale Games’ widely successful The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. I usually play episodic games in one go and never had the intention of replaying the previous episodes, but going through Batman: The Telltale Series one more time was an eye opener of how flawed the game is at important aspects like this.
While that is where everything begins to fall flat, I must admit the writing and story direction are top-notch, if you are used to playing the beat ‘em up Batman Arkham titles you will probably be disappointed with Batman: The Telltale Series’ fighting sequences. It’s full of QTEs, and for a Batman game, you would rather smash buttons and make the combo counter a lot higher than waiting for the buttons to pop out and hit them. QTEs are great if they are done right. These fist fights, however, would have been appealing if they were portrayed with intense scenarios and well-choreographed. Rather, you see the exchange of punches more robotic and scripted than you could expect.
Visually, it’s a stunning looking port for Batman: The Telltale Series. And if this is your first time playing the game, then you would see how great it looks on Nintendo Switch’s small screen. It’s sharp, even if there are low-resolution textures, you can still see the details like its PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions. But if you have played the game before on PS4 or PC in max graphical settings, you will notice differences, especially with the game’s performance. Batman: The Telltale Series, when it launched last year in August, was plagued with issues on PC. Scene switching felt sluggish and the optimization wasn’t that good either. Playing it on the Nintendo Switch felt kind of similar in some cases. For example, moving around the Bat-cave can cause noticeable frame-drops. It’s hard to avoid performance issues, however, Telltale Games could have at least tuned the visuals down a little bit to give better stability to the game’s frame-rates.
So, are there unique features added to the Nintendo Switch version? Apparently, only the underused touch-screen feature was added. Since old Telltale Games like The Walking Dead launched on iOS and Android, the touchscreen and swiping mechanic are similar to the mobile versions which were rather disappointing. Telltale Games didn’t take advantage of the Joy-Cons motion controls which could have been a great asset to a game like this and give QTEs a little add-on to make it enjoyable.
Batman: The Telltale Series on the go is the big plus here. I can bring the game wherever I want and with the whole first season of the game installed on my Nintendo Switch, it’s a great game to let time pass while waiting for my dog’s checkup at the vet clinic or while I’m traveling. While it does have some setbacks, Batman: The Telltale Series is a nice addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library of games. I just wished Telltale Games could have added more to the Nintendo Switch version.