Episode One of Batman - The Telltale Series Could Be the Start of a Video Game Masterpiece

Friday, 05 August 2016 - 7:38PM
DC Comics
Batman
Friday, 05 August 2016 - 7:38PM
Episode One of Batman - The Telltale Series Could Be the Start of a Video Game Masterpiece
Warning: Spoilers for Batman - The Telltale Series follow!

DC may not be garnering the same success as Marvel when it comes to movies at the moment, but one of the realms in which they are undoubtedly far, far ahead is in the world of video games. From Rocksteady's critically acclaimed Arkham trilogy to NetherRealm's Injustice: Gods Among Us, when it comes to comic book video games, DC is clearly the current king of the hill.  Now, it seems they're about to take their conquest of the video game medium even further, judging by the first episode of Batman - The Telltale Series, entitled Realm of Shadows.  

Telltale Games has garnered quite a bit of critical acclaim for offering gamers an entirely new way to play with their narrative-focused, choice-driven style. They gained popularity with titles like The Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us (yet another DC video game from the company's imprint for mature readers, Vertigo), and then began making games for other popular franchise's, like Game of Thrones, Borderlands, and Minecraft. Players choose what to say and do throughout the course of the game, which affects the virtual world around them and the end result of the story.

Realm of Shadows has successfully showed off what could be one of the company's finest games yet. Telltale's take on the Batman universe is original while staying true to the core of the Dark Knight mythos, and the decisions that players are given control over are exactly of the sort that DC fans hope to get out of the game. Players can make the decision to appear to the public as a drunken playboy or a serious philanthropist, to brutalize enemies or cause them the least amount of pain possible, and to be cold and distant to your allies or warm and receptive. There have been numerous characterizations of the Dark Knight over the years in comics, cartoons, and movies. Batman - The Telltale Series essentially gives gamers access to all of these characterizations through the choices they're afforded, allowing them to play as their favorite one.   

When it comes to combat and action, players are given prompts to hit certain buttons instead of the combo system they're probably used to from Rocksteady's Batman games. The choreography, however, is equally as beautiful and certainly more cinematic than it is in the Arkham series, and the prompts are actually quite a nice change-up from the usual button-mashing style of gameplay that's featured in most modern action games. 

Though lengthy point-and-click segments have been a criticism of Telltale's past games, the company actually managed to utilize the same technique quite well in this first episode. It's not used to go and find certain items, it's used to link certain clues at crime scenes. This makes the point-and-click part of the game way more engaging, and of course means that the World's Greatest Detective side of the Dark Knight is certainly present in Telltale's take on the character as well.

Regarding other common criticisms of Telltale's past games, namely lengthy load times and lagginess, gamers will be glad to hear that they're almost non-existent, or, at the very least, present to a much smaller degree than in some of the previous games from the company. As time goes on, it becomes apparent from game to game that Telltale is making strides to correct the few issues that most players have had with their games, and they certainly deserve credit for that. 

Realm of Shadows has effectively set the stakes for this brand new Batman story, and if this first installment is any indicator, then fans are in for a real treat. After Rocksteady's amazing Arkham series, Batman video games were definitely in need of being taken in a wholly new and original direction, and Telltale seems to be delivering on that entirely. Realm of Shadows was easily a 9/10, and if Telltale keeps it up, they could certainly have a real masterpiece on their hands.
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