Let me start off by saying I will not be giving Batman a final score until the entire season is out. I believe it is important to review the game as a whole due to over arching stories and plot lines that haven’t revealed themselves yet. I will refrain from spoiling major plot points, but this review will contain some points of the story. I am reviewing this on a PS4 copy of the game.
Telltale’s take on Batman is very straightforward in episode one. It opens up with skull masked enemies breaking into the mayor’s office. Of course Batman is in contact with Lieutenant Gordon and is already stalking these thugs. It leads to a series of quick time events that are common amongst Telltale games. It flashes back between the fight and a beaten bruce Wayne getting ready for a party. While it was exciting to beat up bad guys as Batman, the sequence of quicktime events overstayed its welcome as the fight dragged on a little long. I found myself saying “I should grab this” or “I should use my grappling hook”, but alas I could not make any of these choices during the fight. I am afraid that the Arkham Games have spoiled us and other fighting systems feel a bit stale.
However the next set of scenes where you made decisions as Bruce wayne were extremely interesting. Very few if any games focus heavily on the politics Bruce has to play in order to do good for his city when he is not in his cape and cowl. Something as simple as whether or not to shake a infamous crime bosses hand at the party had a reaction to how Bruce is perceived. Deciding what the right moves for the city and Harvey Dent’s future were very difficult without pissing someone off. I noticed the game’s frame rates started to buckle during the party scene as well as the ability to distinguish objects from one another. While I love the art style of all of Telltale’s games, I found the PS4 was having trouble running it perfectly.
With all of that being said the episode goes on to do some very interesting things. The game shines when you are playing detective Batman. You essentially collect all of the evidence in an area and then have to physically link the correct pieces together to recreate what happened. I found that to be the most fun I had playing this episode. I hope to see this happen on a grander scale in the episodes to come, because it set up for some true Batman detective work.
Another piece of the episode that was excited was the ability to set up how I wanted to take out mobsters. It used the same system of linking things together, but now instead of evidence in a crime scene it was mobsters to things in the environment that I could use to inflict pain. This mechanic is what I felt was missing from the opening fight scene as Batman. It allowed me to have a little more control over how I handled the encounter, because each mobster had a few different objects I could interact with. I am looking forward to replaying that scene to configure the perfect set up.
The episode wraps up shortly after that scene and leaves you on a cliffhanger. While episode one did not re invent the wheel, it did manage to give a good start to Telltale’s latest endeavor and do right by the Batman name. I believe Batman fans alike will enjoy the ride Telltale has set out for and I recommend picking up the season pass.