Gamer Geek Review: Batman-The Telltale Series

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Growing up, I loved the old Choose Your Own Adventure series.  If you’re not as old as me, they were a book series that put you, the reader, as the main character of whatever story you were reading, and they put you in these extraordinary situations, from time travel, to a post apocalyptic world to anything in between.    And, as you’re reading this book, you get to make decisions that affect the course of the story.  It’d say something like “To open the treasure chest turn to page 35, or  to ignore the chest and move on turn to page 42”  and sometimes there were bad outcomes, and you would die a horrible death, but others there weren’t.  There was no wrong way to read one of these books, except perhaps in chronological order.

The games that Telltale makes are the Choose Your Own Adventures for a new era.  I got hooked on them really a couple years ago, when at Christmastime they had a sale on the Telltale collection on the Xbox store.  $50 for all the major releases they’d put out til this point all 2.5 series of The Walking Dead game,  The Wolf Among Us, Tales From The Borderlands and Game of Thrones.

And that was where the majority of my holiday break was spent that year getting absorbed into these worlds, playing these characters and feeling like I know them, getting into playing a character like you’ve never been able to before, by actually playing them, not by pushing a button to make them jump or punch, but getting in their head.  It’s an ingenious method of storytelling that sets them apart from any other gaming company out there.

I longed for the day when they would come out with a superhero game, something from Marvel or DC, that would change the game for superhero stories in video games.  And then, they announced that they would be doing a Batman game in 2016.  I got really excited at this point.  Batman to me has always been a favorite character, since the Superfriends days, into the darker Tim Burton one that I saw opening day when I was 9.   There have been some great Batman games over the years, namely the Arkham series, and those games you truly felt what it was like to be Batman, and punching the crap out of bad guys is amazing, but you don’t get to really feel what it’s like to be Bruce Wayne/Batman until you play this game.

By this point in your life you should already know what type of gamer you are, if you like story based stuff, or is it more about the game play.  If you’re looking for great game play this isn’t the game for you, nor are anything that Telltale does really.  But if you’re like me, and you love to play and watch great stories, then this is something you should look into.  Especially as a Batman fan.

This game is set early on in Batman’s career, Jim Gordon is still a Detective on the force, and Gotham isn’t quite sure what to make of this Bat-Man that’s prowling the streets at night. Along the way you encounter such familiar Batman characters such as Harvey Dent, here still an optimistic District Attorney who’s running for Mayor,  his new girlfriend Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman)  and more, along with some new characters such as Lady Arkham, who really makes an impact in this game.  But I don’t want to talk too much on the plot, and just let you figure that out for yourself.

One of the elements about the game I like the most is, it lets you figure out what  type of Batman you are, and what type of Bruce you are will determine how the rest of the story goes.  The writers here pull from all eras of The Dark Knight here.  Are you the borderline psychotic Batman of the DC Cinematic Murder-verse, or are you the stoic defender of Gotham?    And anything in between.  Same goes for Bruce Wayne, you decide which one is the real mask basically.

I can tell you on my playthrough I alternated back and forth, just playing the Batman that I like, a mix of the two, but you can do it your way.   The writing team here on this game crafts some great story and dialogue choices for you, led by a great voice acting cast including Troy Baker as Bruce Wayne/Batman, who may just be the first voice actor to ever portray both Batman and The Joker in two different franchises.  Baker was the voice of the Clown Prince of Crime in the (underrated in my opinion) Arkham Origins game.

The game isn’t without it’s technical faults however though, there are portions of the game, each episode early on that are choppy as hell, and in my opinion, borderline unplayable, but thankfully the glitches smooth themselves out before the first action scenes are up, it does get annoying though and I really wish Telltale developers would fix that in future games.

This game is, in my opinion, right up there with the Arkham series as far as a definitive video game of the character, but a different side.  One where you actually can show off the World’s Greatest Detective title forreal, and not just world’s greatest puncher of faces.   I look forward to seeing what they do with the Guardians of the Galaxy series when that comes out in a few months.    Nor can I wait for them to announce the second season of this game, which I hope it gets.  Still waiting on a Wolf Among Us season 2.  But we’ll see where this story goes.

 

 

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