If you’ve played enough of the past Telltale Games you know that there is a need for a change. The games are fun, and tell good tales, but the engine itself is starting to creak. With Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows, these changes may be showing signs of coming.
In the game you play (not surprisingly) as Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman. Helping Harvey Dent in his campaign to be mayor the two worlds as a business man and vigilante start to encroach on each other with his dealing with Carmine Falcone. With the Wayne’s family name under fire, can he trust Harvey Dent to clean up the city of Gotham?
Even if you’ve only seen the Batman movies you know characters such as Harvey Dent and Carmine Falcone. Add to these the likes of Oswald Cobblepot and Selina Kyle and Telltale’s version of Batman is obviously travelling a well-worn path. In the first episode the fact that these characters are introduced is a good sign of things to come, but thankfully only a setting up for what is to come.
It is interesting to note that while some characters show little change in terms of the “DC” look, Oswald Cobblepot is one that is more interesting. Something of a revolutionist hinting at conflict to come, it will be interesting just what sends him on his path to becoming “The Penguin”. It does appear that he is one character with Bruce Wayne in his sights as focus of his “revolutionary” actions.
What Telltale have done with the story is to focus more on Bruce Wayne and the very foundations of just what Batman is. Through revelations from other characters we as Bruce are given information about a dark history to our hero’s family, and one that hits the character harder than any fist could. This is what makes this story interesting and will hook fans of Batman straight away, unless of course they feel that Telltale aren’t being fresh enough with their chosen path.
In terms of the game’s engine there are some interesting additions and some features that feel a little too familiar. The new elements are the investigative side of Batman’s arsenal that are well used. The ability to link clues together to reveal how crimes took place is a nice touch. The same system can also be used to plan out fights that are going to take place. This level of investigation and planning feels new and fresh for the Telltale model.
What does feel a little too familiar is the illusion of choice that is featured in the game. I found myself being a little too aggressive in my role as the Batman, but also made a few choices that were more pacifist in nature. What surprised me was the fact that I was still complained at by Alfred for my actions being too aggressive. What my choices did seem to do was to decide certain scenes that would be shown, which is interesting in a story sense, but still shows a lack of real choice in the game.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows is a very good start to the Batman series, but also one that shows more change is still needed in the Telltale model. The graphics have been updated and there are interesting new features added, but this is still the same old Telltale Game. I’d say that this is not a problem for me, but could be a problem for others who wanted to see a bigger change in such a major game.
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows is out now on Playstation 4.