Batman: The Telltale Series | Telltale Games
BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES
Can Bruce Wayne Save Gotham?
by Felipe Parada
Up to this point I have only played 3 Telltale Games: Back to the Future, Tales from the Borderland and now Batman. I am still waiting to get my hands on The Walking Dead (yes, I still haven't played it yet) and I can already feel the judgement falling upon me. Telltale Games have a long running history with taking unlikely titles and adding their "Telltale Presentation" touch to them, so when Batman was first announced I was a bit skeptical that they can pull it off. We already had Batman Arkham Knight from developer Rocksteady so how can Telltale games, a developer who is known for very story driven games, give us a game where the masked vigilante runs around Gotham City beating criminals withing an inch of their lives? How can they top Rocksteady's resume of delivering us a stellar Batman experience?
I'll admit that when the first teaser premiered at The Game Awards in December 2015, the only information given was that it was a game about Batman from Telltale Games. We all know that any Telltale Series Game is a game about choice played primarily through conversations and dialogue. They successfully managed to translate games like Game of Thrones, Back to the Future and the highly popular The Walking Dead franchise but dawning the cowl is a no small task. Well, Telltale Games was up to the challenge and was able to deliver one of the most engaging Batman experiences of this generation.
Don't worry, I am not going to sit here and spoil the game for you but what I am going to bring up is how damn good this game is. I honestly thought Rocksteady was the only developer out there that was able to successful give us a comic book representation of the dark knight. Thankfully I was pleasantly mistaken as Telltale was able to craft an original story filled with politics, betrayal, romance and ruthless aggression. Batman: The Telltale Series is a game that focuses on Bruce Wayne just as much as it does on his adventures as Batman. It expertly crafts the challenges Bruce Wayne faces as a hot shot playboy billionaire where your decisions can as Bruce Wayne can have immense repercussions on Batman. I really thought that I had situations under control while playing as Bruce and then realizing that I ended up screwing myself as soon as I put on the cowl.
There is no shortage of criminals to take down.
Batman: The Telltale Series | Telltale Games
As I kept playing I kept thinking to myself, how is this going it work? How is Batman and Bruce Wayne going to interact in situations that that require losing something, or someone? This is key when playing the game because the game is at its best when it consistently demonstrates that Bruce Wayne is as just as important, if not as important to Gotham as Batman is. In the comics, we are always led to believe that Batman is the key to the survival of Gotham city and Bruce Wayne plays second fiddle in the Batman Universe. I too went in to this game with the same mentality and was constantly shown that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one entity and both their decisions affect Gotham City for better or for worse.
It was refreshing to see that Batman: The Telltale Series builds on Telltale's patented mechanics of exploration: you wander around, examine the environment, scroll though screens of text and discover objectives. Just like Batman, you then use these vital pieces of information to create a detective mode-like sequence where the game asks the player to do the solving. Although it involves just pointing your reticle at waypoints and scanning objects, you do feel like the World's Greatest Detective because you still have to figure out the sequence of events to progress the story forward while brutally beating up anyone in your path.
The combat mechanics remain relatively the same from previous Telltale games, mainly Quick Time Events. I'm not a huge fan of quick time events but Telltale Games manage to make it work without bombarding you with the mechanic. One aspect of the combat system has been reworked a bit by implementing a finishing move meter that fills as you successfully complete a fight scene's quick-time events. This gives you the ability to unleash a suitably Batman-esque finish closer to the end of the encounter. This gives the player a reason to get that perfect run during an encounter but missing a sequence isn't going to lead to game over.
I am glad that Telltale Games put together an intelligent, sophisticated and modern take on Batman. I am always surprised to see how Telltale can continue to surprise us with such beautifully crafted games. I have to keep reminding myself never to underestimate any game, especially a game that revolves around the Batman mythos. My indecisiveness about playing as Batman and Bruce Wayne was pleasantly quelled as you really can depict a story where both can exist in a universe where the citizens and law enforcement prefer one over the other. For this depiction alone I will thank Telltale for the experience.
Even though I didn't actively seek out to play this game I am glad I had the opportunity to play it. This one is a bit difficult because Telltale Games are a bit of a hit or miss for me. If you are a Telltale Games fan than you know that this is a MUST PLAY but other than that, Batman The Telltale Series is a TRY because who doesn't want to play as Batman?
Did you get a chance to dawn the cowl? Let us know in the comments below.