Also On: PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Choices. Actions. Consequences. These are the core elements of why I play Telltale's games like The Walking Dead and A Wolf Among Us. Batman: The Telltale Series is no exception to this. Being a fan of Batman since I was little, always made me extra critical when original stories for Batman and his universe are shown to the masses. As a kid, I remember hanging out in my dad’s comic book store in Brooklyn, NY when new releases would be getting put on the shelves. I would always want to help in the hopes of seeing a comic I was interested in.
One of those times was when The Killing Joke was released. I remember my dad telling me to put them on the wall but not to read it because it wasn’t for kids. You know I eventually had to disobey, and I’m glad I did. I may not have understood a lot of the context, but I knew that I found a new appreciation for unique takes on Batman.
Playing this new Batman game brought back a lot of those memories. This is not Killing Joke, but after playing just the first chapter, the series is well on its way to being a truly emotional and memorable adventure for the Dark Knight. What makes this game such a work of art is not only the art style that Telltale is known for, but how well these character translate into it.
From the moment the first sequence opened, I knew we were in for a treat. I wanted to talk in depth so badly, but this review will be spoiler free, so you can experience this episode the way it’s intended. They’re plenty of opportunities where you need to be on your toes with the decisions you make. Especially when playing as Bruce Wayne, which is a significant portion of the episode. Sometimes no answer is worse than a negative one. Trust me.
There are many memorable characters from the Batman universe in this first episode, and while some look as you would expect, some have a reinvented design to accommodate this original story that Telltale has created. Those expecting this Batman to play like another Arkham game will be disappointed, yet if you take the time to be open minded to this refreshed way to play as the dark knight, it can be a very rewarding experience.
Batman: The Telltale Series has the perfect mix of narrative, action, drama, and even some solid detective work. Not once did I feel like the game was trying to over compensate by changing the game play as often as it does. It simply works with the pacing set in the story right from the beginning. You are left to make decisions that we would only have ever seen one side of Bruce Wayne/Batman make. Not here. I made some choices, simply because I had the freedom to and I couldn’t believe what transpired in some scenes.
I will tell you this, I treated my time with episode one as if I were Batman Year One. He is still new to being Batman and can still make decisions that may or may not be the right ones, yet they end up being defining moments in his career as the caped crusader. In the case of Telltale, a lot of these scenes I speak of are a dark and twisted version that I didn’t even see in books like The Killing Joke. It’s a different kind of dark, something I’ve never seen done with Batman.
Once I completed the first episode, I quickly regretted some of my decisions, thus really putting me into the role. I’m looking forward to revisiting the episode and making different choices, which is what will change the narrative. Outside of the usual components that come with each game, Batman introduces an all new multiplayer feature called “Crowd Play”.
“Crowd Play” is an all new way to play the game. You’re able to play the game with friends as they use a web enabled device locally to help make decisions as you play the game. You have the choice of letting others make the decisions or you will maintain control but see what everyone else thinks. This feature wasn’t live during my time with the game so I can’t share my thoughts just yet. Look for more of this in my later reviews for future episodes.
Batman has had many games over the years, mostly trash and a few quite memorable. Telltale Games has knocked it out of the park, and if episode one is any indication, I see a solid contender for Game of the Year right here.