Batman: The Telltale Series
Developed by Telltale Games
Published by Telltale Games
*Please Note: This Review is of the PlayStation 4 Version*
Batman takes place during the caped crusaders early years and sees Batman taking on organised crime in Gotham City while also on the run from the police who are trying to arrest him for Vigilantism. By day however Batman leads his other life as Billionaire Playboy and CEO; Bruce Wayne who is determined to help his best friend Harvey Dent win a mayoral campaign in the hopes of making Gotham City crime free. Things soon take a turn for the worse however when Bruce’s childhood friend; Oswald Cobblepot comes back to Gotham and news gets out that the Waynes were actually harboring dark secrets that they were one of the biggest crime families in all of Gotham. Faced with the possible dilemmas that his entire crusade as Batman has all been for nothing and achieved with blood money; Bruce sets out to prove his innocence with help from reporter Vicki Vale while also defending the city as Batman with the help of burglar; Catwoman and Commissioner James Gordon from a new criminal organization called The Children of Arkham led by the mysterious Lady Arkham and her lackey; The Penguin.
There is of course so much more to the story in Batman that I do not wish to mention due to spoilers however from my experience of playing Telltale titles which I have been doing for quite a few years now; This has possibly got to be one of the best stories they have produced yet and is third in my favorite Telltale experiences (1st is The Walking Dead Season 1 & 2nd is The Wolf Among Us). As a huge Batman fan, I also really enjoyed how this felt like a completely new experience in the world of the dark knight and I hope that they continue to explore this series and visit many more of Batmans iconic outlaw gallery.
All in all though, The story is pretty much perfect in my opinion and I see no reasons at all to fault it.
The gameplay in Batman is very familiar to the gameplay of every other Telltale game however in case any of you readers have never played a Telltale game before I will explain. So basically the game is a point and click adventure that is heavily focused on the decisions that you make. The game allows you to walk around the areas you are put into and interact with most things in the environment from normal objects (well normal for Batman anyway) such as Batarangs or your cowl to clues in crime scenes such as a Criminals Intestines or chemical traces. The game also features multiple dialogue choices which is selected by the player depending on the journey they wish to take. These dialogue choices are done by pressing the different buttons on your controller respectively (Square, X, Circle & Triangle on the PlayStation 4 controller) however these dialogue choices are timed and if none are chosen within a time limit; it will result in the character remaining silent. The game does feature combat as can be expected from a Batman game with all of the fight sequences in the game being done through QTEs (Very similar to other story driven games). This game does feature some very interesting changes however to the Telltale formula which honestly I feel was the right direction to go for this game in particular.
First new thing implemented into the game which I do need to mention is the ability to cross reference items and clues you interact with in order to recreate a crime scene. This was a very cool feature to me since it reminded me of the Detective Vision sections of the Arkham games however it felt fresh and put a completely new spin on things since you actually had to try and connect clues together this time rather than just scanning an object to get your answers. This was a really cool way to find the culprit responsible and really drive home the detective element of the Batman character. The next new feature I liked to this game was the ability to plan out massive attacks on enemy strongholds to take them out in different ways and while it may just link in with the point and click gameplay, it shows the strategies that Batman would probably take in order to survive against a full mob den of armed goons. The final new feature I feel I should mention is the finishing blow meter which only appears during the combat sections of the game. The basic idea behind this feature is that Batman will fight his enemies and as you land each quick-time event accurately; you build up the meter which is in the shape of the Bat logo in the bottom right corner and the sooner it builds up, the sooner you can perform a finishing blow which ends the combat sequence.
All in all though, the gameplay in Batman is very similar to what you should come to expect from a Telltale game however there is a few new features which as I mentioned add a fresh new addition to the familiar gameplay and it really helps to drive home that you’re playing as Batman.
In terms of the sound section of this game; it’s really something quite special in terms of the soundtrack. The music that plays through the game almost feels reminiscent to that of a Batman movie and in a way features a few traces of each type of movie from the darker entries in the Batman movie series (The Burton films, The Dark Knight Trilogy & Batman v Superman) which helps to add to the characters emotions and tension that comes along with the story. The voice cast in this series is an incredible all-star cast that is lead by Troy Baker who gives a fantastic performance as the titular character of Batman however I feel that Baker really shines more as Bruce Wayne since his voice seems to naturally suit the character. Additional voice actors who also give fantastic performances include Laura Bailey (Catwoman), Travis Willingham (Harvey Dent), Erin Yvette (Vicki Vale) and Richard McGonagle (Carmine Falcone) however I personally wasn’t too keen on the performance for The Joker and at some points, the voices went out of sync which to me ruined the story a little bit.
Otherwise the sound section overall is really good in my personal opinion.
In terms of the visuals; Batman has a beautiful art style that looks very reminiscent to the comic books from which the character originated and it almost feels as though Telltale have looked at the many decades of Batman stories for visual reference. I also really liked the character designs for some of the characters in particular; Oswald Cobblepott, Batman and Lady Arkham since they took a more realistic look for each of these characters. I also liked the overall design of Gotham City and the other settings such as Arkham Asylum, Wayne Manor and the Batcave; All of which look like they were ripped straight from the minds of Frank Miller and the other comic artists. Unfortunately however this section is the weakest part of the game which is a shame given the positives I’ve just mentioned here and the biggest problems come down to the glitches and frame rate issues. There was some visual glitches in particular in the 2nd and 5th episodes where during the crime alley scene; the entire game glitched out and changed the world to green and the characters to gray. That glitch only resolved it’s self upon restarting my console and the other very noticeable glitch was during one of the combat sequences in the 5th episode at Arkham Asylum where one of the inmates who you fought had no body, face or anything and was literally a floating pair of eyeballs and teeth that was attacking Batman with a taser. While this looked hilarious, it still has to be noted. The frame rate in some of the episodes was really bad and caused extreme slowdown at times which was annoying to say the least.
If it wasn’t for the glitches and frame rate issues, the visuals in this game would be fantastic.
In terms of replay value, Batman is in the exact same boat as most other Telltale titles in the fact that you can replay through it multiple times and take advantage of each of the different choices of both actions and dialogue to discover and receive a brand new story each time which in a way is really good given that the story in this game is fantastic and with the choices in this game, they do make a difference how each episode can play out unlike a few Telltale games in the past. The game does have trophies/achievements however they unlock as you play through the game so if you are unwilling to go through the game again to witness the different outcomes, then there is not much in terms of replay value.
Overall, I personally feel that Batman may actually be one of my favorite Telltale games released to date and even surpasses Game of Thrones to me (which I believed to be incredible) however it still doesn’t surpass The Walking Dead Season 1 or The Wolf Among Us. The game does feature one of the best stories in Telltale’s library of games along with some interesting additions to the already great gameplay set in place from previous games from the developer with additional support from it’s soundtrack and voice cast however the game does have a few problems with the frame rate issues and glitches with both the levels going green, characters only having eyeballs and teeth and the audio going out of sync plus as I mentioned the voice of The Joker wasn’t too great in my opinion (Not saying the voice actor didn’t do a good job). All in all, This is probably one of the most interesting takes on the Batman mythos I’ve ever seen and not only has this given me confidence in how Telltale will adapt the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy but it also gives me hope that Telltale will return to DC comics with a Batman Season 2 & The Wolf Among Us Season 2 (Which I believe could benefit greatly from the detective gameplay implemented in this game).
Score = 8.5/10
- Story is incredible
- Fun and familiar Telltale gameplay
- New gameplay elements that emphasize on the detective elements of Batman
- Incredible Music throughout
- Fantastic Voice Acting
- Visual look similar to the comics (Frank Miller era)
- Plenty of different choices (Plus choices did make a difference)
- The Joker wasn’t too good (In my personal opinion)
- Audio went out of sync at times
- Glitches with the visuals
- Not much in terms of replay value (If you don’t want to do the different choices)
Batman: The Telltale Series is available now for PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, OS X, iOS & Android. Thanks go out to Telltale Games for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Review by Matthew McNamee