Batman: The Telltale Series- Episode One on PC
When Telltale announced its next franchise to conquer with its episodic storytelling was Batman, fans were a little skeptical on exactly how a Batman Telltale game would work. After all, his best bits always have been about the badass fighting, rocket-powered Batmobile, and the vast wealth of other gadgets the caped crusader had at his disposal. How these would translate into an episodic series where gameplay focused primarily on Quick Time Events (QTEs) and environmental investigation was yet to be seen, but having finished the first of the five episodes of Batman: The Telltale Series, I can confirm you needn’t worry.
Batman: The Telltale Series tells a story completely independent from the comics, TV show, or the movies. This is a story that has been written from the ground up solely for the Telltale series and it shows. To give you a quick rundown with as little spoilers as possible, the first episode starts off with Batman hunting down some sort of data drive, only to have a run-in with a certain cat burglar. Fast forward a few scenes and we’re in Wayne Manor, as Bruce Wayne hosts a gala, endorsing Harvey Dent in his running for Mayor of Gotham. As the episode progresses, events unfold that demonstrate the way in which both Bruce and Batman will be involved in the series’ focus on Dent’s campaign against the corrupt Mayor Hill. Though we won’t say any more to avoid giving away too much of the surprise, this is an unpredictable story that will keep the most dedicated Batman fans guessing, and one that will turn all preconceived ideas of the story on its head.
What is worth mentioning here, however, is that this is no light-hearted Batman experience. This is a dark and gritty story that deals with adult themes like corruption, bribery, politics, and some pretty brutal violence. Batman may be seen on the silver screen to be one who doesn’t dish out punishment where it’s not necessary, but this is your Batman story, and the options are there for you to take that darker route that Wayne has always managed to withhold from taking in the movies. Within the first couple of minutes, a guy gets straight up capped in the head, and you’ll also get a glimpse at some pretty gory remains later on. Though not the stuff nightmares are made of thanks to the graphical style, it certainly paints an unsettling picture.
The cel-shaded art style that we’ve come to know and love from Telltale is back and almost seems like a match made in heaven for Batman. Particularly with the visuals having that reminiscent feeling of the old comic books. Seeing Wayne Manor from a distance was a particularly poignant moment that showcases how perfectly the gloomy cel-shaded visuals marry up with the criminally overrun city of Gotham. This, combined with the updated Telltale engine, provided for a smooth and sleek-looking experience, even during the combat moments.
Naturally, there’s a bit of a split in the action you can expect to have as you play through Batman. As Bruce Wayne, you can expect sensitive and personal conversations, and a focus on upholding the reputation of the Wayne family. As Batman, you’re all about dealing out justice and getting your hands dirty. While the two may seem far apart from one another, Telltale Games has written a story that blends Batman’s choices and actions with those of Bruce. It’s something as small as a scratch Batman sustains in battle, all the way up to your actions in front of a crowd as Bruce will have an effect on the other, and this adds even further weight into the tough decisions that Telltale are so well renowned for leaving you to make.