Telltale Games is known for having consequential decisions in their games. Even after you think you made the right decision you immediately regret it and wish you made the other one.
Batman is no different.
What makes this game stand out from all the other Batman games is that for about half the episode you play as Bruce Wayne. Most Batman comics, movies, or games try to get inside Batman’s head and the psychology behind his actions, but not here. Here it’s all about Bruce Wayne. Batman is known for being calm and decisive, so making difficult choices comes second nature for him. That’s where Bruce Wayne comes in. Bruce has to interact with people. Bruce has to make the decisions. Harvey Dent is running for mayor and Bruce Wayne is his most important supporter. Together they are trying to clean up Gotham City, a place full of corrupt politicians and organized crime. Throughout the 2 to 3-hour story, you run into a few familiar characters like Catwoman, James Gordon, Carmine Falcone, and a few more.
While these characters might look familiar to fans of the comic, that’s where most of the similarities end. They have different backstories than their comic book counterparts. At first, it was difficult to separate myself from what I know about these characters and what story Telltale is trying to tell, but it created a sense of mystery because I didn’t know how these characters would act. And that’s what’s great about the story, it’s completely unpredictable.
Saying too much about the story would spoil it. But this episode is clearly just an introduction to the series. It sets things up that will hopefully pay off in the upcoming episodes. My biggest complaint about the story is that we are constantly reminded that Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered. We get it. His parents being killed was a traumatic event, but I don’t need it mentioned every other scene. Other than that I’m curious to see where the story will go and what other characters will show up.
There are three forms of gameplay.
· There’s Bruce Wayne, a millionaire playboy that decides to give the world of politics a try. Here the player makes decisions that ultimately shapes where the story will go. There are many decisions here where the player will question whether they made the right choice or not.
· The second form of gameplay is Batman the detective. There is a scene where Batman discovers a gruesome crime scene and he has to put together clues to figure out what happened. This was an interesting gameplay mechanic that I hope we get to see more of in other episodes.
· The final form of gameplay is the action scenes. These are quick time events where the player has to press the button that appears on screen. These scenes are fun to watch, which is good since that’s most what you’ll be doing. This is not an Arkham game. But the actions scenes keep changing to incorporate Batman’s different gadgets that make these scenes have a cinematic feel to them.
Past Telltale games always had some types of bugs, glitches, or framerate drops during action scenes. I’m happy to say that this is the first Telltale games I’ve played where I haven’t encountered any of those things. The game runs smoothly and it looks gorgeous.
Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows is a story about Bruce Wayne, not Batman, and it’s great. It’s a good start to a new and refreshing Batman story.