Batman: The Telltale Series was a surprise announcement when Telltale revealed they were working on a Batman game. For the last few years Rocksteady's Arkham series have dominated the videogame universe, so what new could Telltale offer?
Well, Telltale, known as the masterful storytellers (they basically produce interactive TV episodes) had their work cut out for them. And what they have produced is just fantastic.
Game aside (this is a Telltale game after all), the writers have crafted a Batman story I don't think I've ever read before. This one is very personal for Bruce and really hits home at both sides of his dual identity.
The game forces you into some very tricky situations. Be it a scandal involving Bruce Wayne being seen with mobsters, or deciding just how brutal you want to be as the Dark Knight, it's all here, and it all has consequences. Combat is just a series of quicktime events, but if you want deep combat then I point you to the Arkham series, this is purely a monster driven by its excellent narrative.
This version of Batman is like the Animated Series and the Nolanverse collided and this is what we're left with. There's a very good and somewhat original take on Penguin in this that I was pleased to see. There's plenty of fan service here, and familiar faces that had me grinning ear-to-ear when they first popped up on screen.
If you enjoyed the Daredevil TV series I would point you to this. This game shows just how well a Batman story can be told. Here he is a detective through and through. Whether it's dissecting a crime scene, or planning your attacks on a mob hideout, each decision has to be carefully plotted and thought about.
So far this is a game where Batman is getting his fists dirty in the throng of the organised crime. It's very grounded with the colourful rogues gallery nowhere to be seen (yet).
The voice acting is good, Troy Baker, a familiar voice in the DC Universe, picks up the vocals for Batman here (having played the character a few times in other games) and he does a very decent job with this. I'm a massive fan of Kevin Conroy's Batman, but I'm not sure if he would have fitted in with this. This Batman is more subdued.
My only complaints with the game are the controls. I'm playing this on a PC and they are clunky and could do with a polish, nothing an update wouldn't fix.
Overall, it's a great start to a new Batman story. If you dig Telltale and Batman - invest. If you don't like Telltale, but dig Batman, try it anyway. If you like neither, don't waste your time.
Roll on Episode 2.