Telltale's hero is a conflicted soul but is he an interesting story?
News of Telltale Games making a Batman game made fans of the comic and the developer both excited and weary. A title focused purely on the narrative of Bruce Wayne combined with stellar direction and a comic book-style presentation would be great and Telltale has experience in making such stories work. The developer hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders lately though. With Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 - Realm of Shadows, we get our first taste of the Dark Knight's crusade.
Realm of Shadows introduces us to Batman. It's a primer of sorts - we see the hero foil an attempted robbery, the man behind the mask, his friends and the current goals he's exploring, the antagonists and Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is attempting to help his friend Harvey Dent while Batman is trying to take down crime in Gotham (which involves run-ins with Catwoman). The voice acting and graphics work well together and expertly capture Gotham's grittiness. Telltale's visual style may not be all that different from its past games but it still works wonders.
Like previous Telltale Games, you'll be following on-screen commands to move, dodge, use gadgets and execute finishers. The actions are in rapid-fire fashion though and you won't see a dull moment for long. The important thing to remember is that this isn't the focus of Batman: The Telltale Series. You'll also be playing as Bruce Wayne, making decisions that affect your relationship with certain characters. At one point, Batman will even conduct a crime scene investigation. This is all fairly routine and typical for the Dark Knight and Telltale does a good job of putting it all together.
Realm of Shadows does prove one thing - as long as you tell a Batman story right and it's true to the material, there's very little that can go wrong. The characters are memorable, the decisions actually feel significant and the combat sequences are fun. Even piecing together elements of the crime scene feels unique and worthwhile without coming across as gimmicky. If there's one criticism, it's that the episode really ends when things start to get going but that's to be expected.
The first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series is a strong start to the saga. However, this is a Telltale game and not Batman: Arkham City. If you're sick of the usual Telltale graphics and gameplay, there's little to really hook you into Realm of Shadows. For fans of the Dark Knight who don't mind a non-canon story told well, Realm of Shadows is worth a look.
Who do you think will win Dota 2 - The International 7