Telltale Games has a reputation for creating story-driven games such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. Now, the company has expanded their talents into Gotham City with their first episode release of Batman: Realm of Shadows. We were curious to see how Telltale would take on the world of the Dark Knight given that Rocksteady has turned Batman into a gaming icon in recent years. Though there are some slight flaws in Telltale’s take on the Caped Crusader, we were largely impressed on the outcome of the game.
If you’ve followed other versions of the Dark Knight over the past few years, you’ll notice this one as a slightly different look and feel to Batman. It doesn’t stray far from previous Telltale games, but the smooth animation and new gameplay designs in game bring a breath of fresh air for what’s to come in future installments. You’ll still get the classic Telltale cell-shaded art style, but the new engine gives off a more natural look to the animation. The awkward pause when loading up dialogues from previous games are practically gone aside from a few scattered here and there.
The new engine lends to great transitions that create a seamless experience, which gets more engaging as the story progresses. Additionally, characters and environments look a lot more natural. The animations capture realistic emotions in the given scenes and conversations between characters look as if you’re watching an animated series. Clearly, Telltale did a pretty thorough overhaul with their engine. Even though there are occasional moments where characters move like robots during certain scenes, and there are a few times where the game hiccups during quick-time events or conversations, these are very few and far between.
Telltale’s Batman takes place during the early stages of the Dark Knight’s crusade. James Gordon is still a lieutenant, Harvey Dent is trying to earn votes to be the new Mayor with the help of Bruce Wayne, and Carmine Falcone has every part of Gotham City in his pocket. Even though Batman is in the title, Bruce Wayne is the star of this episode. As you progress through the story, you’ll get a glimpse of the other side of Batman. Bruce’s point of view is quite refreshing to see in a Batman game, and as Bruce Wayne you’ll be tossed into difficult social situations where the game gives you dilemmas that affect how characters, and even the whole city of Gotham, view Bruce Wayne and Batman.
The first episode does a good job expressing what lies in store for the game, and cameo appearances by characters like Catwoman and Vicky Vale leave us excited to experience the next episode of Telltale’s version of Batman.
Nothing much has changed in Telltale’s formula in terms of gameplay. However, there are slight differences to how the game is played. The game stays on a simple formula of exploration, investigation, quick-time events, and decision making, which can be a hit or miss. The social decisions in the game carry some weight, but the beauty of the game is that you craft your versions of Bruce Wayne and Batman. There are dialogues and actions in which you can create a Batman that is serious but still carries some slight humor, or choose the actions that follows more of the dark and brooding tone that Batman is famous for. Unfortunately, some of these choices do not matter as Telltale seems to have picked all of them since you’ll get a glimpse of Batman being too serious in one scene and being caring and social in the next.
Doing investigations as Batman is as simple as connecting one selected item to another, which gives off a good detective vibe as the game encourages you to connect some of the dots yourself. The game’s only disappointment is the action. The scenes are marvelous to watch and look at, but there are times where you wished you handled the fighting yourself instead of simply pressing buttons at the correct time. Though Telltale is known for their movie-style games, it would’ve been nice to take part of some of these fights rather than watching them happen.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1: Realm of Shadows reinvigorates the franchise and gives a new perspective on Batman’s story. An improved game engine brings a new breath of life into the City of Gotham and although the game is about Batman, seeing an episode dedicated more to the Billionaire Playboy perspective gives an exhilarating new narrative on the beginnings of Batman. Although there are some bugs in the gameplay and design, Telltale’s Batman stands on its own among the other Batman games. We can’t wait for the next episode of Telltale’s iteration of the Dark Knight.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.