Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: August 2, 2016
MSRP: Php 629.95 (Steam), $24.99 (Steam)
I start off thinking that others would find a Telltale Batman title would be not as good as Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series. Well, let’s face it, Batman: A Telltale Series is not as great as Batman Arkham City, but it’s a game that story lovers and Batman fans will surely love and accept once they try it out. It’s not your typical Batman game where you smash button X to land attack combos or double tap the right trigger to throw a Batarang, it’s something more.
When I started the game, I find myself in a very simple Menu where I select the Episodes and settings. The menu does have that nice similarity of Batman Arkham Knight where I can see Batman on the right portion of the main menu. Now, let’s start off with the first episode of this interesting Telltale story of Batman, the Realm of Shadows. Before I started the episode, it interestingly gives me the option to choose my own Bat-Tech color. It doesn’t do anything for me in the game but something for my own color preference.
The story starts with a group of mercenaries entering Gotham City Hall to steal a device that eventually shows that the Mayor and the King of Crime in Gotham City is linked with each other. Batman makes a non-wow effect entrance which I didn’t expect, honestly. The plot revolves around the first few months or a year of Bruce Wayne being Batman. The key characters of the franchise are introduced and portrayed in an interesting way, like how Oswald Cobblepot and Bruce Wayne had a childhood past and that Harvey Dent was going out with Selina Kyle. It’s a whole new fresh perspective of how Batman started and that his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is also struggling to find the balance in concealing his true identity as being the caped crusader.
Well, enough of the spoiler though, that’s the only thing I want to talk about this episode’s story without spoiling the game’s plot too much. The narrative of this first episode of Telltale’s story makes this new Batman title, let’s say, shows more than what meets the eye in the next episodes. But putting aside the narrative side, for those who has played some old games from Telltale like The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, and some will not be disappointed of their version of Batman for those who are veterans of the point and click genre.
Telltale has been greatly recognized with their point-and-click genre where they have made a new whole style of storytelling. The “consequences” of what you decide and say has been a trademark since The Walking Dead and is now much improved in Batman: A Telltale Series. There are moments in the game where you decide to be more Bruce-minded in terms of decisions but it hits you hard in face really bad if it doesn’t go the way you want, and the options you have makes you think more on what you have to decide. Choose to shake the hands of Falcone? You give the paparazzi a chance to take a video of that scene making the media think Bruce and Falcone has a business relationship.
A Batman game is never complete if you don’t get to be inside the “Batcave”. It’s still under Wayne’s mansion, of course, and this time it’s quite disappointingly… small? You can’t explore anywhere in the Batcave except for the Batmobile area and the Batcomputer area. But you can still interact with certain parts of the area like the Batcomputer. It still has the good ol’ “Codex” where Batman keeps his files and information of places and individuals. Good thing that Telltale decided to have this in their Batman title, the Codex has always been part of every Batman Arkham games as well.
Graphically, Telltale has kept their signature cel-shaded visuals. They have stayed with having their episodic games since The Walking Dead (except for Game of Thrones) to be cel-shaded to have that consistent feel and to let us know that we’re playing a “Telltale” title. No doubt, they have made this a trademark and it fits right fairly well with the game. What I’ve noticed in Telltale’s Batman, I’m not sure if it’s only me or if anyone else noticed it too that Batman’s suit seems like it’s very similar to Batman Arkham Origins. It’s not entirely bad, but it could have been nicer to see a whole new different Batman outfit. However, the soundtrack of the game didn’t appeal to me as much as how emotional it should be, but the voice of Batman is portrayed by Troy Baker. The performance was good but not as great as what we get from Kevin Conroy.
To be honest, I never tried the Crowd Play feature as I think I would like to focus on choosing my own decisions and options when I play the game. But no doubt I will surely tackle this by the next episode. There were also issues with this version of Telltale’s Batman where the frames-per-second (FPS) dropped significantly below 15 FPS when changing sequences of the game. There were some stuttering which makes the experience awful at the very start, but with the new patch that came in after the day of its launch made some improvements.
This first episode of their Batman story is full of Bruce Wayne than Batman. Surely, it makes the others think that it wouldn’t be wise to have more Batman gameplay as it’s not an action-button smashing game, but I’d rather look to into a point of view where Bruce Wayne has started his journey as the Dark Knight and the origins of his arch-enemies. It’s a great episode to start, Realm of Shadows shows the potential of Telltale’s Batman story and surely the next episode is something we don’t want to miss.
This review is based on a review copy provided by the developers/publisher.