Batman: The Telltale Series PC Review
Telltale is back with a brand-new game series focussed on one of one of the world’s best known superheroes. Telltale excel at making us doubt the choices we are making in their games and have a great way of presenting morality in the choices you are asked to make. If you’re looking for an interactive story you cannot go wrong with any of their games.
Batman: The Telltale Series takes it in a different way instead of playing the main protagonist you would expect in this case Batman the game focuses more on the struggle of Bruce Wayne the unmasked vigilante and his struggle to be Batman and a billionaire CEO. Having control over Bruce Wayne is definitely something new and unseen in other Batman games and is a great way to bake in the type of game Telltale are known for.
Let’s start with the story behind the game, it’s something totally different and was created in silo and has given Telltale the creative licence to do with the characters as they please. You will see many characters you are familiar with but they have an all new feel to them.
The story sees you playing as Bruce Wayne for the most part which is not normally the protagonist you would expect to play in a Batman game. This however is a stroke of genius on Telltale’s part as Batman is well known to be an infallible character never really failing and always knowing what to do. Bruce however has a lot more going on, he is in the public eye as a billionaire playboy CEO but his alter ego means he must pick his battles wisely something that Telltale have notice and play upon.
Realm of Shadows – The first episode is very introductory and mainly sets the scene for the story which in some part needs setting due to it being so very different to other stories, but on the other hand I doubt there is anyone playing this game without a basic understanding of one of the world’s best known superheroes.
This episode has Harvey running for mayor of Gotham and Bruce is his most vocal supporter something Harvey knowns gives him sway over the elite in the city. We see the ever-trustworthy butler Alfred who really does add to the depth of Bruce Wayne’s character in the story. Alfred reveals that Bruce’s parent where friendly with some of Gotham’s less trustworthy residents and Bruce’s world is rocked by the uncovering of a secret that Thomas and Martha Wayne aren’t who everybody though they were.
Catwoman makes an appearance in this episode and in Telltale’s story this is there first time Selina Kyle and Bruce have met all be it in their alto-ego’s. Introducing Selina early on gives the story another dimension and another antagonist all though fitting Catwoman into one of these brackets is difficult.
Children of Gotham – Coming off the back of the bombshell about the Waynes this episode introduces the new antagonists The Children of Arkham. This episode surpasses the first episode in character growth as Bruce Wayne is visibly struggling with his parent’s past. The ghosts of the past are what make this episode truly compelling focusing on whether Bruce can accept what is being said about his parents and really does show some iconic figures in a different way.
The emotions conveyed by Bruce in this episode are done is such a way that as they played they tug on your heart making it heavy at times and an adrenaline rush when you know something is wrong.
This is the first episode that contains one of Telltale’s story changing choices where you mist decided whether to confront one of the game’s main villain as either Batman or Bruce. Batman will lead you down the action kick-ass intimidation router whereas Bruce will navigate the politics of the social situation and save face for Batman but will undoubtedly cause more scrutiny into his parents, a choice that requires some thought before acting. I would recommend the Batman approach if you want to experience some of the best QTE sequences ever in a Telltale game.
New World Order – it’s time for some intense and possibly disastrous decisions to take place and episode 3 is where it’s going down. All of the relationships introduced in the first 2 episodes are under fire here and might come crashing down in one dialogue choice, this decision will echo throughout the whole episode.
Episode 3 is where the story it taken to new heights especially for Batman fans as some of the most well-known DC characters are making an appearance. There are some many twists and turns in this episode you come out of it feeling helpless and whether it effected a political relationship or a personal one you still end up feeling like you made the wrong choice.
We focus in more on the moral dilemmas of being Bruce Wayne in this episode any interaction that occurs in the game has an effect on either Batman or Bruce and it’s one of those moments where you are tiptoeing around every dialogue option to try and figure out the lease destructive approach. You will notice that some previous decision mainly in episode 2 hold no weight in the 3rd episode which makes the story feel a little broken but it’s so unpredictable and so well written that it makes little difference and you will just want to plod on and find out what happens.
This episode ends on another cliff-hanger and will make you feel like the world is coming apart.
Easily on of the best episodes of the series and really does shine with what Telltale can do given the creative ability to do it.
Guardian of Gotham – After the cliff-hanger in episode 3, episode 4 opens up introducing Telltale’s version of Joker at this point I’m not sure if you’re are supposed to make that connection but it’s very obvious that it’s him. To be completely honest I’m not sure why Joker shows up here, I understand that Joker plays a pivotal role in all Batman stories but his introduction here feels forced and slightly overlooked.
The Joker introduction seems like they are building him up to something as you essentially spend a great deal of time just listening to Joker rattle on whilst every now and then you learn something that might progress the story a little. Joker seems a little distracted in his dialogue and for a character that is generally more focuses on the personal issues it seems out of character. A few other well-known characters show up in this sequence to.
Episode 4 does a great job giving Gotham a voice as we learn about the way the city perceives both Bruce and Batman giving you a whole new angle when making decisions as they will affect how the city feels about both characters.
The finale of the episode has the weightiest decision yet and leaves you with excitement for the final episode and to see how it’s played out. The cliff-hanger here is a little annoying and leaves you feeling frustrated but hopefully that is cleared away in the next instalment.
City of Light – An empathetic episode wrapping up both political conflicts and personal one for Bruce and is just under an hour and a half long.
In this episode, we are finally exploring the psychology of the main villain and the things that drive them to do what they do. All this happening whilst Bruce’s strong responsibility to resolve things weaves throughout the exploration. The most action-packed episode of the series with everything coming to a head. The clear-cut story ties up most of the loose threads that you see throughout the series. The length of the episode helps make the final episode not feel rushed everything is explored and resolved at a rather good pace and leaves you feeling satisfied.
The ending feels rather confusing and is wrapped up in a way that feels abrupt. The story is left on a cliff-hanger hinting towards another series and makes you realise why the introduction of a character happened when it did.
All in all, a great wrap up to the series and has left me wanting to see more from Telltale’s Batman.
As expected from Telltale the voice acting is exemplary and some familiar voices are trotted out to voice new characters. The emotion, turmoil or madness of the characters shines through and every attention to detail has been given to make the story flow really well.
On the other hand, sometimes the music volume would jump up suddenly. I’m not sure if this was a localised issue or something that plagues others but it is also something I’ve seen in other Telltale games.
There was also an issue where during QTE punches, kicks or other actions would create no noise at all this happened rarely but is also something I’ve seen before in other Telltale games.
Amazing, is the only way I know how to describe the visual ascetics of Telltale’s games as visually they are incredible to looks at and Batman is no exception. They have managed to capture the grit of Batman and the gleam of his tech is an outstanding fashion. The look and feel is very reminiscent of Arkham Asylum by Rocksteady which is my go to for Batman look and feel. I had no issue with performance and the action sequences where great.
This game is a must play for any Batman fan and a must play for any Telltale fan. The story is different and refreshing but has the best of Telltale baked in with the decisions and the flowing dialogue. It was a pleasure to play and another shining example of great story telling in a game and had some of the best QTE I’ve seen in one of their games.