I know many of us who have played Telltale Games in the past all know the formula they use to craft a game by now. Players will not have full control of their characters, only limited to certain freedom at certain points and with limitations. We also know that throughout the experience, tough choices will be thrown at us and our actions will have consequences down the line whether it means a death of a certain character or pissing someone off, ally or foe. So, to get to the question everyone has been asking, is there anything new or revised to this formula? Is Batman unique and have its own features that make it stand apart from the others? Well, sadly no. Batman offers no new features in terms of gameplay or choice tunouts. So, why then, did I rate it 8 out of 10 stars? Because the used recipe still works and this latest entry once again that Telltale knows how to tell a great story. I am basing my rating on the context of this story and not on any new mechanics. So, now that is settled, I will get into the game's features a little further.
The story starts out with a damaged, yet relatable Bruce Wayne, striving to clean the streets of his beloved hometown of Gotham City. Alfred, the reliable butler of the Wayne family, does what he can for Bruce Wayne & Batman. Bruce Wayne has high hopes for Harvey Dent getting elected to mayor of Gotham but he will have to sway the voters from sticking with longtime but corrupt Mayor Hill. The game heads into territory that has been explored before, and it isn't until way later that the creative and original plot begins to unfold. There are many other obstacles for Bruce & Batman to have to juggle with, a criminal warlord who always ends up manipulating the system and avoiding justice. Catwoman also makes an early appearance and it becomes clear that her motives are a mystery. The story starts off a little slow and may seem dull at first, but by the time the 3rd and 4th episode are played, things really start to heat up. Not only is Bruce Waynes childhood friend, Oswald Cobblepot back in town, but it would appear that nothing remains of what made him Wayne's best friend and the "new" Cobblepot is into crimes and goes by the name of Penguin. Lol, lots of longtime returning characters make an appearance and the lore is strictly followed by the books on Telltales part. Reporter Vicki Vale snoops around for a scoop, while Lieutenant Gordon of the Gotham City Police struggles with his own unit being corrupted by the vigilantes running amok the streets. Players will have to choose many times whether to solve some of these issues dressed up as Batman and potentially scaring the civilians away, or try it as Bruce and let your charisma and style win your wars. Bruce keeps his identity as Batman a secret of course, and this will be one of the codes you must also go by. The classic villains of the traditional best stories slowly but surely begin to reveal themselves and I must say Telltale does a wonderful job of innovating new ways of these characters making a cameo. For instance, instead of Joker being introduced by blowing buildings to pieces like many other stories have, Telltale brilliantly shows the guy before he dons the makeup and clown disguise. You meet Joker in a scary and bad environment, and it sets the tone for many future possibilities to occur. But needless to say, that is all the role the Joker appears to play in this first season of the game, yet you cannot help but feel the sinister intentions of him guarantee that you will meet him again. Before long, players will see a plot wisely put together with Catwoman, Batman, Bruce, Harvey Dent/2 Face, Zsasz, & Penguin and a new villain all scattered about with connections to each other. Almost all these characters have a different agenda in play and its very interesting to see the path that unfolds. Brilliant story!!
On now to the rather disappointing facts I found in the game. The gameplay as I said before is untouched from previous games, and players should not go in expecting another Arkham Asylum game or anything of that nature. You will be able to move Batman on very limited occasions and even when its not very far. Batman's captivating fight scenes in which he utilizes his awesome gadgetry are done so by simple and repetitive button mashing QTE events. But the most concerning factor here is the rather lackluster and unchanged consequences of player actions. Often times, the big choices you will face have the same outcome either way you go. This would be ok on certain occasions, but the really big episode ending decisions should have separate routes and should not all lead to the same result. I cant get into specific scenarios without giving away major spoilers but it is really disappointing to realize the outcomes of 2 completely different contrasting choices really have no change in the end effect. This offers little to no replay value and discredits Telltale as being repetitive and linear. With that said, there is still a lot to love with this one. The scenes that really stand out are times when batman and catwoman work together and players are given the opportunity to determine her actions as well, and the wonderfully inventive detective clue scenes. The fight scenes are also a plus if you can look past the simple and worn out button mashing design. After you get through all 5 chapters in Telltales Batman, you will or should appreciate the new angles taken and the interesting and unique plot put forward. If only this came with new ways to play or new ways to solve puzzles, instead its a lot of the old. But lucky for Telltale, the old works. Batman looks great and if players can maintain their cool after a few bad episodes that offer no difference in the outcome of 2 completely different choices, than I think they will enjoy this latest one from Telltale. But again, DONT EXPECT ANOTHER ARKHAM KNIGHT!!