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Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows Review

/ Aug 11th, 2016 No Comments

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 - Realm of Shadows

When it comes to Batman, there are certain things everyone has come to expect: two dead parents, no guns and a rogues’ gallery of psychological disorders.

Batman: The Telltale Series is true to Batman, but by the end of Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows, it’s obvious that this isn’t the same old Batman tale.

The fresh take on the caped crusader features a very different cast of characters and far more complex quick-time events than previous Telltale titles.

A Bat, a Bird and a Badge

Batman is brooding, Alfred is doting, and Jim Gordon is the last good man on the force. These same basic Batman tenets hold true in The Telltale Series but this story has a different edge.

Realm of Shadows teases Batman-inspired plotlines that take a different approach to familiar characters. The biggest change comes in Bruce Wayne’s old childhood pal of Oz, or Oswald Cobblepot. Instead of the penguin-looking old man the character is often portrayed as, Cobblepot is an attractive young cockney. A brief encounter with Oz in the first episode doesn’t carry too much weight yet, but hints at an interesting relationship between the two that should be explored in later episodes.
 

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 - Realm of Shadows

What’s new pussycat? Sorry, puns are a BAT habit.

Bruce Wayne has been donning the cape and cowl for some time. Most of his adversaries have been mob bosses and their various goons, with the exception of a new cat burglar.

The majority of the first episode puts players in control of Wayne rather than Batman, and this means most of the decisions you make affect the entirety of Gotham. As Bruce, you must determine how best to deal with the character’s criminals and allies.

This is a more naïve and unsure dark knight, and it makes playing as Wayne the man and public figure a breath of fresh air.

On the other hand, combat is in Batman’s capable hands, and players often have to choose between brutal violence and showing mercy.

To Break a Criminal

Telltale has constantly been trying new ways to innovate the dreaded QTE, and Batman represents another step forward in this regard.

In Batman, there are often a series of buttons that must be pressed in order to succeed during these events. In other scenarios, players must use their joystick to target a specific area — usually resulting in a devastating punch.

Batman’s combat feels incredibly visceral and each hit has weight to it. While it is difficult to improve quick-time events, it is at least something more complex that feels fluid.
 

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 - Realm of Shadows

Getting real tired of your #&$*, Alfred.

The new combination of aiming and using multiple buttons to succeed in a QTE has a bit of a learning curve. A few frustrating fights ended in less than desirable scenarios for me, but the mechanics quickly became second nature.

A detective sequence in the first episode has players connecting clues in a pseudo point-and-click method that requires logical reasoning. After uncovering clues, players must figure out how they connect — it probably has something to do with a well-funded criminal organization.

Batman is sometimes called “the world’s greatest detective,” and this game explores that often forgotten element of Batman. Between the tough decisions as Wayne, the action of Batman, and the sleuth work of both, players get the full dark knight experience.

Overall

Batman: The Telltale Series ends with a lot of unanswered questions — like who is the main villain in this game.

Along the way, players are treated to amazing looks at the city of Gotham. The typical Telltale art style fits perfectly with the comic book source material. The score is a brooding love song to the darkness of Gotham City and its many inhabitants, and the voice cast delivers solid performances.

The story holds true to Batman while also creating a very different interpretation of Bruce Wayne, and we can’t wait to see what this leads to in future episodes.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES EPISODE 1 – REALM OF SHADOWS REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall93%

GAMEPLAY9

While some of the QTE changes take a little getting used to, every move and interaction has weight. Players will feel fully immersed as Batman/Bruce through fluid and well thought-out controls. Plus the detective logic puzzles are engaging.

GRAPHICS9.5

Gotham and its citizens are brought to life in vivid and amazing detail, providing fans, both new and old, a unique look at their favorite city of crime.

SOUND9.5

The soundtrack invokes feelings of desperation and loss, the perfect soundtrack to be Batman too. On top of it all, the voice cast feels like they've been Gotham's finest and most villainous all a long, providing new life to the characters.

STORY9.5

Telltale masterfully pays homage to decades of Batman lore while creating their own road for the caped crusader.

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