Telltale Games earned my respect with The Waking Dead (now known as season 1) and is the only game that has ever caught me off guard and forced me to cry. That was 2013, now in late 2016 after playing The Walking Dead Season 2, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Minecraft Story Mode, The Walking Dead: Michonne and now Batman, I have yet to find that same emotion and originality. I don’t expect that I ever will and I have enjoyed all of those games I listed, but Telltale games have gotten stale in recent releases.
Being a self-diagnosed obsessive compulsive person, I will play every Telltale game that is released, even if they do become stale rehashes blending into the market that they once stood out from. I am attracted to story driven games and I have had a fascination with Batman since the Nolan movies which made this game more highly anticipated by myself than past Telltale projects.
This game isn’t much different from all of the other Telltale games. Every episode contains cut scenes with quick time events, moral decisions, and easy to solve puzzles. Forgetting Minecraft and Back to the Future, Telltale games explore gruesome and graphic situations so the mature nature of Batman was not surprising. The game begins with not quite an origin story as Bruce Wayne is already Batman, but he learns information about his family that forces him to look back on the events in his life that turned him into Batman.
Without giving away massive spoilers, the origins of the Penguin, Two Face, and the Joker are told in the five episodes of this game with a Telltale flair. Personally I liked the twist on the well-known Batman origin story and it makes the plot worth experiencing.
Voice acting is important to making an animated experience enjoyable, but I am far from being an expert or knowledgable on the prominent actors in the scene. I know Troy Baker is the voice of Batman and has been in Telltale games in the past and people seem to really like him. Laura Bailey, another critically acclaimed voice actress is in this game as Catwoman. They did a good job portraying these characters so if you are fans of them, that is another reason to check this game out. I did recognize other voices from previous Telltale games which is cool that the developer goes back to who have resonated in the past.
The production of the game is great. With every Telltale game that is released, the cinematic direction improves and Batman has the most immersive cinematography yet. This is in a Telltale game engine so all of the characters have “Telltale face” and the same mannerisms as characters from Telltale games for the past 5 years. The “previously on” trailers before episodes still chug long while loading your decisions from the previous episodes which is disappointing. These recaps are a big part of what makes these games feel like a movie or TV show and the continued issues with them damper the episodic experience.
This is the first Telltale game that I played as the chapters were released. I normally would wait for all of the episodes to be released before playing them as I knew there were often long multi-month breaks in between episodes. All 5 episodes of Batman were released on schedule, one per month between August and December. I liked playing the episodes as they came out as it helped build up excitement for the next installment and it prevented fatigue from playing all 5 episodes in one sitting.
I believe this is the first time Telltale has created discussion panels in between episodes for this game. These panels are set up similar to the Talking Dead and After the Thrones used to discuss the episode. I like this idea and tuned into the first panel (which had a dude sitting in the crowd with an Every Time I Die shirt on). I turned the show off quickly as the millennial pandering host was unbearable to listen too.
Writing about this game is difficult as it is story based and I do not want to give away any major plot points. If you have played a Telltale game before you will know what you are getting into with Batman. It is more of the same with better production. I acknowledge these games have obvious flaws and are becoming formulaic but I can’t quit Telltale.