When Telltale Games announced they were making a Batman series, I was completely psyched. The greatest storytellers in the video game industry currently teaming up with the world’s greatest detective seemed like a lock. And I am happy to report that it is just that. If you are looking for a Batman game with an original story with lots of action, dialog and decision making, this is it. Batman The Telltale Series Episode 1: Realm Of Shadows is exactly what fans of Batman are looking for: conflict, drama, action, planning, and investigative work. It’s all wrapped up in this game and it is something that is done so well, that it feels like you are playing with a live action comic book.
The game kicks off with a bang in what I believe is the best introduction Telltale Games has done to date. Batman is in pursuit of some criminals who are in the business of pulling off heists. As The Dark Knight fights through his enemies he eventually comes face to face with a familiar feline who will play a larger role later on in the episode. The action sequences are extremely fast-paced and are drawn in very well to camouflage with the artwork of the actual game. It’s actually very well done and is a nice touch to the gameplay elements. As Batman successfully pulls off combinations, the a gauge on the left corner starts to fill up. Once it’s full, Batman has the ability to pull off a “special move” to get him out of a tight jam or tough spot depending on the current situation. It’s nicely done.
Batman The Telltale Series focuses on Batman but a large part of the game focuses on Bruce Wayne as well. Bruce is haunted by his past and must juggle decisions in between to try to find out more about his past while at the same time not ruining his image and making himself look like a criminal. As you can imagine, this is not easy for Bruce to do and you will have to make some difficult decisions that will surely be taken into consideration early on and later in the game.
The characters in Batman The Telltale Series work well in the story thus far and don’t feel out of place at all. As I mentioned earlier, you meet Selina Kyle early in the game and she ends up playing a pivotal part in the game early on. Harvey Dent, Gotham’s White Knight is trying his best to be the new mayor of Gotham and clean up the town and will do nothing to stop at making that happen. Even if it includes rubbing shoulders with criminal mastermind Carmine Falcone. Bruce’s childhood friend Oswald Cobblepot now is starting to look towards crime and is questioning his friendship with Bruce. Alfred struggles between helping Batman and communicating with Bruce Wayne to know his limits outside of the suit and to be aware of his surroundings and situations trying his best to keep Bruce grounded. And of course Batman’s relationship with Gordon as he tries to gain the trust of the Gotham PD. The game is filled with drama and it is all handled very well in this first episode. I for one cannot wait to see how things come full circle by the end of the season one.
As you know, Batman is the world’s greatest detective so it wouldn’t be a Batman game without having to do a little police work on the side. This is where Telltale really shines. When Batman begins to piece things together he can use links from the crime scene to depict exactly what happened at the moment of the crime. Once he determines what exactly happens, the game displays how things played out right in front of Batman as if he was there. It’s a really cool touch and actually makes you think like a detective to work and try to figure out exactly what went down, including the who, what, where, when, and why’s of the scene. This combined with the usual gadgets Batman has including his analyzer, computer, and Batmobile, the caped crusader has everything he needs at his disposal.
Designating a course of action for your plan of attack has never been so exciting either. In one scene as I dropped in on Falcone’s club, I had the opportunity to plan my attack to take out guards within the club and make my way into Falcone’s hideout. While planning this was extremely fun, seeing it executed was even more satisfying. Batman was able to take out all of his enemies just as he planned except for one where he had to improvise and had no problem using Plan B. The outcomes of this scene can be played out so many different ways depending on your plan of attack that I feel like I might try it again just to see how things play out the second time.
I didn’t experience any frame rate issues while playing the game that others have suggested but the only negative I would mark is the game does seem to slow down a bit with some of the dialog exchanges between some of the characters with Bruce. And I don’t know if I would even call it a negative experience as it helps move the story along and helps the characters grow, and help us learn who they are; especially for those who may not be as familiar with the Batman franchise.
Batman The Telltale Series Episode 1: Realm Of Shadows is everything I expected from a Batman game. It has great storytelling, intense drama, detailed investigative work, and bad ass action sequences. If you are a fan of Batman, you would be doing yourself a disservice not to pick this one up. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter of the game. For more on Batman The Telltale Series, you’re already at the right spot – Mammoth Gamers!
What We Liked:
+ Fast-paced & quick thinking action sequences
+ Intense dramatics from all angles
+ Fun investigative work
+ Planning an attack sequence
What We Didn’t Like:
– Narrative scenes sometimes slow the story down a bit
– Voice acting isn’t bad, but could be better