Batman – Episode 1 – Realm of Shadows Review (PS4)

Batman_Episode_1

I have to admit that I’ve never really been a huge Batman fan. I’ve always thought his story has been a bit cheesy and for me he was never all that interesting compared to other super heroes such as the X-Men. An X-Men Telltale game would be awesome by the way, but anyway that’s not why you’re here. You’re to see what a non Batman fan thought of the new Telltale episodic series. Keep reading to find out what I thought of episode one and if I’m regretting the season pass I purchased.

Side Note: I want to apologize in advance if any of my Batman knowledge is off. The only thing Batman related that I’ve ever watched was the 1989 version of Batman and the 1992 Batman Returns. I also watch Gotham, but that concentrates more on the villains than Batman himself.

Episode one deals heavily with the fact that being both Batman and Bruce Wayne is this huge struggle for not only Bruce, but the people around him. One minute he’s successful business tycoon Bruce Wayne and the other he’s Batman, someone people either admire or fear all together. That’s where the player’s choice comes in, but I’m not going to spoil it for anyone. Bruce is trying to help Harvey Dent become the new mayor of Gotham, that is until Don Falcone gets involved. Throughout the game it’ll be exposed that Bruce’s parents, who were murdered in front of him as a child, weren’t the outstanding citizens of Gotham everyone thought they were. This will cause some issues between Bruce and Harvey as well as Bruce and his trusty man servant Alfred. With Bruce’s whole life turned upside down, will Batman be the hero that everyone wants him to be or will he end up becoming the villain?

I really enjoyed the first episode of this game. It had action, it had adventure, it had some detective work with some super cool gadgets, and the story was very engaging. It’s been a while since I’ve been this into a Telltale game and I’m excited to see this company making some sort of a comeback from less than adequate games that have been released in the past year. Although there wasn’t something that I didn’t like playing in this episode, I really really enjoyed the detective work. It reminded me of the scenes from Heavy Rain when you’re playing as Jayden investigating the crime scenes. The story was also very intriguing and it’s a side of Batman/Bruce Wayne that I’ve never seen before and while Batman is of course the main star, the supporting cast is just as important making this even more interesting.

Umm… So I’m not really sure if this is how it goes in the comics or anything, remember I said I had a limited perspective when it came to Batman, but I don’t think Cobblepot and Bruce were ever best friends as children. While I’m waiting to see how this story plays out, I’m really not sure what to think of this yet.

Everyone knows that the playability of Telltale games has been a huge issue for this company since the beginning of their games. There’s been everything from loading issues, to random glitches, to laggy game play, and of course trophy pop issues. While they had said at E3 that they weren’t using a new engine but an improved one, I was doubtful that any of these issues would ever be fixed. I was happy to say that while playing Batman, I didn’t experience any of these issues and it was smooth sailing for the whole episode. Even the quick time events have become more responsive and have more fluidity to them as they run super smoothly. I was impressed with the way the first episode handled and I’m hoping this is a step in the right direction.

While these were basically the same graphics that are used for every Telltale game, they really fit when it comes to this game. Mostly because they’re comic book / graphic novel type graphics and Batman is basically a comic book. While I had mentioned a lot how these graphics looked weird for Game of Thrones, they look amazing for Batman. It’s a whole perspective thing and the experience was enhanced on the PS4 as more details stood out and everything just looked amazing.

Complete this episode and you’ll be adding another 6 trophies to your gamer card. If you play all 5 episodes that are coming out, you’ll have yourself a new platinum trophy by the end. Telltale has also gone back to their simple trophies for this game, making it more about the game instead of doing X, Y, and Z in order to get this trophy. All you have to do is play the game and get through each chapter so the trophies are yours.

For a long time Telltale games have been multiplayer free, that is until now. With the introduction of this game came the introduction of Crowd Play which is a local multiplayer feature. Crowd Play is designed for 4-12 users and allows not only you the player, but those people around you to make the decisions of the game. In order for this to work you need a Telltale account, which I do not have so I was unable to use this feature. For the next episode though I’ll have everything setup so that I can test this for myself and see just how good it works or if it has any hindrance on the game.

Overall I give this episode a 4.5 out of 5.

What’s Great:
+ Interesting story that is also engaging and makes you want to come back for more.
+ Improved engine is really improved and so far all of the past troubles are gone.
+ Quick time events are also improved making the game play more fluid.
+ Great cast of supporting characters making this game not only about Batman, but the people around him.

What’s Not So Great:
Crowd Play feature requires you to have a Telltale account and since I don’t have one I was unable to test it. Because of this I can’t give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

This is the first Telltale game since Tales from the Borderlands that I’ve been really excited about. I’m eager to play the next episode and see where things go. I really enjoyed that this is a much darker side to Batman and Bruce Wayne that hasn’t really been seen before, the only thing that has me a little worried with this game is the release schedule. If it’s progressive and each episode is released in a certain time frame everything should be good. If a year later, the last episode is just coming out then there’s a problem. We’ll have to see how Telltale is going to handle this, but right now I would say that if you like narrative stories and are a fan of Telltale games than don’t pass this one up.

SPOILERS! Below are the choices that I made for the first episode.

Batman

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