Batman: The Telltale Series Review

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Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman. Well now you can be – thanks to interactive storytellers Telltale Games who have just finished releasing their latest five-part episodic adventure, which puts players in the shoes of DC Comics’ Caped Crusader. Set a few years after the Dark Knight first made his crime fighting debut, Batman: The Telltale Series sees billionaire Bruce Wayne tackle Gotham City’s underworld plague on two fronts. During the day he uses his financial clout to fund mayoral candidate Harvey Dent’s campaign against corrupt politician Hamilton Hill, whilst at night he dons the pointy-eared cowl to combat mobsters and a feline costumed thief who has a thing for whips. Meow.

OVERVIEW

If you are suffering from Batman fatigue, after completing Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy, Telltale’s release could well reinvigorate your passion for the character. The narrative will appeal to graphic novel enthusiasts and best of all there isn’t a tedious Batmobile level in sight! Playing through each instalment is unlike any other Batman videogame, as time is divided equally between controlling Bruce Wayne and his cape wearing alter ego. There are even occasions were you are given the choice of tackling problems through diplomacy as Wayne or intimidation as Batman. Based on this offering I think Telltale would do a swell job handling a Spider-Man game. Just like Peter Parker in the Marvel comics, Telltale’s version of Bruce Wayne has to juggle public life with vigilante commitments… often sacrificing personal happiness to protect a populace that detests him.

What’s also refreshing about Batman: The Telltale Series is that Joker isn’t the chief antagonist, although he does make a brief cameo in the later episodes. Batman’s rival in this tale are a faction known as the Children of Arkham, who much like the League of Shadows from the Nolan flicks, are dedicated to ridding Gotham City Hall from corruption via some rather extreme means. One of the group’s leaders is Bruce Wayne’s childhood pal Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin. Instead of being a sharply dressed chap, who owns a collection of high-tech brollies, this iteration of the villain sports a Constantine like brown trench coat. Don’t treat him lightly because, just like the animated birds of Madagascar, Penguin excels at executing elaborate schemes.

VERDICT

My rating for Batman: The Telltale Series is four and a half stars. When compared to other titles from the Telltale library, Batman is right up there with stuff like Tales from the Borderlands. I can’t however award it a perfect score, as my enjoyment was hampered by numerous technical glitches. Aside from frame rate dips there was a humorous sequence were Batman battled a pair of floating eyes, because his opponent’s character model failed to render properly. Less funny was a bug that caused my save file to skip a scene, denying me a platinum trophy. My console also froze on two separate occasions. Bah, this game crashes more than a woman driver. Huh, what that isn’t funny? Sorry, I thought sexist jokes were acceptable now that Trump is in the White House.

Providing that you can forgive the aforementioned bugs, Batman: The Telltale Series is worth picking up for the storyline alone. Gameplay might be minimal, but I really dig how the mouldable plot changes depending on the dialogue choices you make. The action is visually striking although be aware that it’s all driven by easy to perform quick time events, which may not be to everyone’s taste. I also liked the sections were Batman surveys a crime scene and extrapolates what occurred by linking pieces of evidence together. The clue-chaining sections may lack the complexity of puzzles found in older Telltale games, but they are nice mechanic to include for a game starring the world’s greatest detective. No, not Sherlock Holmes – I was referring to Batman. He is second to none when it comes to smarts thanks to his potassium rich diet. Ba na na na na na na Batman!

22 thoughts on “Batman: The Telltale Series Review

  1. I’ve still got a lot of mileage left for Batman games, but I’m not so sure about the Telltale side of it. Given that I’ve started to get a little extra critical of the Telltale formula, does Batman mix it up at least a bit from what the rest of their creations have been?

    • Mechanically this is the same as any other Telltale game that has come out in recent years. The only real difference are the crime scene stages were you link two pieces of evidence together. I’m still not tired of the Telltale formula (for me if it ain’t broke don’t fix it) so my enjoyment of a title comes down to the story.

  2. Wise advice. Batman is a badass!

    I haven’t had a chance to play any of the latest Batman games yet and, glitches aside, you really make this one sound fun. I ‘m terrified of that Platinum Trophy prevention bug. I love getting those shiny things and I would be devastated if that happened to me… Oh and I’m proud to say this female driver hasn’t crashed her car, yet 🙂

    • I did get the plat in the end, but I had to replay episode five to make it trigger. My problem was that the game skipped a scene when I reloaded my save file, so I would recommend playing each installment in one sitting (which is possible as they take between one to two hours to complete.)

      Your driving record is far better than mine. I crashed into a car during my first lesson and these days I tend to walk rather than drive. Perhaps I lash out in my reviews because of that torrid past 😉

    • It does seem to have a cel-shaded art style, which I think works great for properties based off a comic. The trailer at the foot of the review shows the graphics, in case you are curious. Batman pretty much has the same look as Tales from the Borderlands.

  3. I played a little bit of this game with a friend and it had me hooked. To be fair, every time I was faced with a choice, I always looked for the least diplomatic option which made the game a lot funnier. It’s a shame about the platinum trophy, I’d love to say I can relate but I’ve never even come close to achieving one.

    • Playing Batman as a jerk sounds funny. If I ever replay this game I will have to try that to see how it affects the story. If you want to lose your platinum trophy virginity playing a Telltale game is the way to go. Most of their titles award a plat just by finishing the story.

  4. Just finished this too. I don’t understand why its average review score is so low. People just mad about the changes to the story I guess? Me, I’ve read most Batman comics that came out in the last several decades and was thrilled to see a good new take on things and plowed through the whole thing in 2 days because I didn’t want to put it down.

    • I’m not sure why some sites have given Batman a poor score because I loved it too. Some people seem to have gotten tired of Telltale’s gameplay structure. I often hear people say that the lack of interactivity (quick time events and just picking dialogue choices) is a turn off. The thing is that it’s no worse than walking simulators, which seem to get good ratings.

  5. Whilst I’d absolutely love to play a game of Batman beating up a pair of floating eyes… I find I’m never able to get behind Telltale games. I find they’re a very stale formula – and I personally found that their take on Monkey Island was one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever experienced.

    However, to give it credit where it’s due, the typical Telltale art style looks superb in the realm of Batman! Also, typically Telltale know how to make characters work favourably, so I have no doubt this’ll be a great story-based game.

  6. Floating pair of eyes is best Batman villain. I loved this series. I didn’t like it as much as Telltale’s Walking Dead series, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story they told here. I appreciate the focus on Bruce Wayne outside of Batman and like that you must choose which character to play as in certain points. I would play a second one, and judging by the end, there will be one. Great review!

  7. Going to have to give this a go, it looks great! I keep waiting for the Batman franchise to become stale but it never seems to happen… I guess I’m not complaining!

  8. Recently finished this myself – I really enjoyed the story and was hooked from the beginning. I might go back through at some point and try a few different choices – but I agree with your review. Great game, knocked down a peg by some really weird graphical glitches and performance issues (I played on XB1). I think it’s strange that the graphical quality was pretty close to the rest of their games but seemed like it couldn’t handle what it was trying to deliver this time around. I also noticed a few times where scenes were cut off before they finished and the game moved onto the next one – with no input from me.

  9. 😮 The Joker’s not hogging the spotlight for once? This sounds like my dream Batman game. I’m all too used to Oswald being number one in my eyes, but the comics and general fandom treating him like number two. Give me any story with old Pengy at the helm of the villainy, and I’m happy. Throw in the Cat, and I’m more than sold. Thanks for the heads up about the glitches, but I think I can deal with a floating eyeball or two if the storyline is as good as you say.

    • If a sequel ever gets made Joker is certain to be the main antagonist. For the time being though it was good to take on other villains and see what Batman’s life entails when he isn’t in the costume.

      • Just completed it myself, and my goodness, this review didn’t quite prepare me for how good it was. The twists!

        Yeah, it’s pretty obvious now that they hope to do another season with Joker as the big bad, but I wouldn’t mind that. I’m cool with Telltale Joker. And absolutely, I know some wanted more Bats, but I thought it struck a great balance between the mask and the ever-suffering Bruce Wayne. I’ll definitely do a playthrough where he dicks everyone over at some point. For my first play I stuck to giving poor old Alfred some sass.

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