Review: Batman – The Telltale Series Episode One

Posted by: 8/24/2016

Whenever a new group of creators get their hands on the Batman franchise, you can expect some kind of origin story, usually filled with plenty of references to Bruce Wayne’s dead parents. Telltale is no exception to the trope. But if you can get through another Batman origin story, you may find yourself having fun playing as Bruce Wayne.

If you’ve played a previous Telltale game, you know the formula. It is a narrative heavy game, with minimal action, lots of conversation, and a game that “remembers your choices.” As with all Telltale games prior to Batman, the few choices you actually make during your playthrough have minimal impact on the story. If this is the case with Batman is yet to be seen.

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There will always be a set path how the story will unfold. But Batman hides that path well. You’ll see little nods to decisions you’ve made, and the story flows well between different story beats that could have changed the narrative. I appreciated the fact that it hides that path well. If you can see the path, it doesn’t make the journey there satisfying.

Since this is a more narrative focused Batman game, you’ll spend more time as Bruce Wayne than the Dark Knight. Harvey Dent is trying to become the new mayor of Gotham, and Wayne is helping fund his campaign. You’ll attend fundraisers, press conferences, and secret meetings in this first episode. Shake hands with the wrong people, and it might just show up on the news.

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But it isn’t all politics for Mr. Wayne. He gets to play dress up and beat criminals to a bloody pulp in this first episode. The action hasn’t really changed in Batman compared to other Telltale games. You hit the occasional face button and move the joystick when told; watching Batman punch, kick, and sneak up on criminals. The action flows rather well on PC, but reports online suggest that the console versions don’t stack up as well – we cannot confirm this as of yet.

My favorite scene in this first episode is when Mr. Wayne meets Selina Kyle for the first time. Batman and Catwomen had a previous fight, and now they meet outside of their costumes. There is a good back and forth conversation between the two as Mr. Dent is left in the cold. The banter between the two voice actors (Troy Baker as Mr. Wayne, and Laura Bailey as Ms. Kyle) felt real.

This isn’t a slight against the game, but in the end, it is a Telltale game set in the Batman universe. If you’ve played a Telltale game before, you kind of know what to expect. They do add some new Batman mechanics, like investigating a crime scene and planning out a surprise attack. Other than that, there isn’t much in the game that deviates from the Telltale model.

If you enjoy Telltale games, or the Batman franchise, this game is for you. But if you’re looking for a Batman playground to beat the crap out of criminals, go check out the Arkham series.

Score: 8/10

Batman: The Telltale Series was developed and published by Telltale Games for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 2nd, 2016. A retail copy of the PC version was provided by the publisher.

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