Game Reviews

Batman: The Telltale Series Review – A Dark, Violent Love Letter to Fans

(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)
(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)

Telltale Games has become synonymous with storytelling. Giving gamers the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of characters from things like Game of Thrones, Borderlands, and The Walking Dead has set them apart in a big way. With Batman: The Telltale Series, the people at Telltale are doing something that no other game in the Batman franchise has been able to do. Batman: The Telltale Series not only puts you in the mind of Bruce Wayne, but also shows the repercussions and consequences of Bruce Wayne’s work as Batman. Gotham City is a dark place, filled with corruption and crime; your choices as Bruce Wayne can either save or destroy the city Bruce calls home.

Batman: The Telltale Series tells a branching narrative (like Telltale’s previous works) that changes depending upon the choices you make. The Crowd Play feature allows your audience (at home or streamed live on twitch.tv) to vote upon which decisions they would make at a given time. Additionally, there is an option that makes the game immediately make the decision with the most votes, rather than giving you the choice to choose whether to follow the audience’s advice.

(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)

(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)

Some decisions in Batman: The Telltale Series can be approached either as Bruce Wayne, or as Batman. These choices shape the narrative a bit and make you feel as though you TRULY are in the world of Batman. The storyline does not take place in any particular canon universe either, so the history and events of the game are entirely new and fresh. However, there are numerous references for fans of Batman to find, as well as new interpretations on classic characters.

Action sequences tend to take place similarly to the action sequences in other Telltale games. Through the use of Quick Time Events players are able to respond to the action in a cinematic sort of way. Normally I would call Quick Time Events an outdated practice (that no one really enjoys) but I can’t really blame Telltale too much for it, considering the nature of the game and its storytelling. With Batman: The Telltale Series being designed more as a narrative adventure than as an action one, Quick Time Events make a bit of sense.

Batman: The Telltale Series feels like an episode of Gotham. It is for mature audiences only, as there is quite a bit of violence involved. Despite this, there is an obvious balance between the grit of Gotham City, and the theme of hope that filters through the story. During the sequences as Batman, there is a great blend of action (which is a bit frantic but still looks fluid and stunning) as well as investigative sequences which show off Batman’s crime solving skills.

Sequences as Bruce Wayne tend to focus more on nuance, political conversation, and saying the right thing to the right person in order to reach a common goal. It is strangely stressful being in Batman’s shoes; alternating between keeping up appearances as Bruce by day, and fighting the worst of Gotham’s worst by night.

(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)

(Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale Games)

There are occasionally weird glitches with the visuals (such as Bruce Wayne’s head ALMOST being on backward during a conversation with Gordon in Episode One).

The investigative side of Batman: The Telltale Series is just as fresh and interesting. You will find evidence, and will need to link certain pieces together that are relevant, slowly piecing together what happened; the investigative parts of the game show off Batman’s status as the world’s greatest detective, while also allowing you to choose how you proceed with the investigation once everything has been pieced together.

Ultimately Batman: The Telltale Series feels like a modern love letter to Batman fans. An entirely new version of Gotham City was created, including a really cool Batmobile that is incredibly imaginative. Choices aren’t just arbitrary black and white decisions either, as some small choices can affect things in ways you may not expect. Aside from the Quick Time Events I honestly see nothing wrong with Telltale’s Batman adventure, and if I’m honest it is likely one of the best Batman games I’ve ever played.

Fans of the Batman Arkham series may be disappointed due to the fact that the game takes more of a point and click, narrative style. Despite this, it gives a more intimate glimpse into the dual personas of Bruce Wayne and Batman, making it hard to really compare the two series. Batman: The Telltale Series is a fantastic piece of storytelling, even with its issues. Fans of Telltale Games or Batman will no doubt enjoy it and may wind up coming back for more.

 


A PC Review Key for Batman: The Telltale Series was provided by Telltale Games for the purpose of this review

Batman: the Telltale Series

Batman: the Telltale Series
9.5

Score

10/10

    Pros

    • Modern, gritty atmosphere
    • Tons of Batman Easter Eggs
    • Branching narrative where choices matter
    • Enthralling storyline and gameplay

    Cons

    • Quick time events
    • Occasional visual glitches

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