Review and Video Walkthrough: Telltale’s Batman starts off on the right foot
A new tale for The Dark Knight
I’ve been a harsh critic of Telltale games in the past. Despite fantastic writing and character building, the games have constantly been let down by their own architecture. An experience that boils down to a rich interactive movie should not perform so mediocrely, especially with how successful of a studio Telltale is. Compound this with the fact that the properties they have chosen to adapt, such as The Walking Dead and Borderlands, aren’t particularly my cup of tea, it’s been quite easy to dismiss these games. But I do like me some Batman, and with news that this is a revamped engine, I suddenly became very excited for a Telltale game.
Let’s start off with this: the new engine isn’t a major improvement over the old. Whilst it seems to perform slightly better, the game still suffers from frame rate and texture issues, which are really unacceptable at this point. That being said, Telltale has done justice to The Dark Knight in the writing department, telling a fresh story that feels very personal as you craft your own Batman.
The game opens with a fun sequence of Batman taking down armed mercenaries, only to come face to face with Catwoman. The bat suit looks absolutely phenomenal and has immediately jumped into the top echelon of Dark Knight designs for me. Those glowing white eyes! Catwoman’s a little more traditional, but still a great look. The game maneuvers into a nice and thick Bruce Wayne segment, which really shows you the kind of character you’re going to choose to be. Are you playing the aloof, charismatic playboy or the more tortured and brooding heir to Wayne Enterprises? The choices you make feel like they have a tremendous amount of weight behind them, and as you progress through the game that weight only intensifies.
The story takes an interesting turn, and by the end of the game I felt like I had just played a Batman tale I hadn’t seen before, which after 75 years of numerous interpretations of this character was genuinely surprising. There’s a great climax that sums up all the decisions you’d made to that point, and it felt so familiar to real life: where you react in the spur of the moment, and it’s only when you step back and look at the bigger picture you truly grasp the consequences of the decisions you have made. I felt justified in my actions, but also understood that I wasn’t entirely deciding with logic and emotions definitely played a role. This is something that Batman deals with all the time in the comics, but it felt fresh in this take.
So yes, whilst the game still performs below an acceptable level, Telltale has brought their 'A 'game when it comes to storytelling which as their name suggests, is their forte. So don’t expect to be blown away by the technical fidelity of the game, but if you’re hankering for more Batman you could do far worse than The Telltale Series. I look forward to where they take this story in the future installments!