Saturday, August 13, 2016

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Just Another Night in Gotham

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Telltale has been making games for a while now and they have often been praised for their storytelling. However, I would have to admit that for a long time, I held a negative bias towards Telltale and their games. I love video games and one of the biggest components is the actual gameplay and Telltale tends to focus more on the story with the occasional quick time event (Occasionally there is some exploring of a small area). However, after eventually breaking down and playing a few, I came to love the games along with everyone else. So, when the announcement of the studio taking a run with Batman came out, I became incredibly excited but yet, also very worried. They were going to do an original story and the question becomes, how will they do? What will they change? So many questions raced through my mind before this game was finally released and I sat down and played through the first episode in one night. So how was it? What was the story like? Let’s find out.

Chapter 1 reveals that this is near the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s time as Batman as most of the criminals involved in the scene still debate about whether he’s real or not. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that Batman is indeed very real as the player must complete various quick time events and witness Batman kicking the crap out of these guys. Despite Batman, the criminals are able to break into the room they were trying to steal from but Batman deals with them rather quickly. However, there’s someone else in the room who was trying to steal the same thing. It’s a woman wearing a costume very reminiscent of a cat. We as an audience know that this is Catwoman but in this point of the timeline, Batman hasn’t met her yet. Catwoman steals what she came for and attempts to escape but Batman gives chase. The two eventually make it to the roof and fight. They exchange a bit of dialogue but Batman ends up securing the harddrive while Catwoman makes off with a disk.

Chapter 2 shows Bruce returning from his time as Batman to instead attend a fundraising event at his mansion. The fundraiser is for Harvey Dent who is running for mayor. During this section, there is a lot of talking with Harvey, Gothamites, and Vicki Vale. It’s at this point that Carmine Falcone shows up unannounced to the fundraiser. Being a notorious gang leader, all eyes are on Bruce as he addresses Falcone and eventually they move to someplace more private in order to discuss business. Falcone wants things to stay the same as they always were and as Bruce Wayne, you can choose your own course of Action. You can defend Harvey and refuse Falcone’s offer, or you can play nice. Either way, things are interrupted by Alfred as the guests leave. Bruce then goes to the Batcave where he begins decrypting the drive he prevented Catwoman from stealing. In addition, Alfred gives Bruce a business card from his childhood friend, Oswald Cobblepot.

Chapter 3 begins with Bruce meeting Oswald in his family’s old park. It has been turned into a rather bad neighborhood and is rampant with not only homeless people, but also criminals. Bruce gets to the meeting early and some muggers attempt to steal from him, it’s at this point that Oswald jumps in and the two of you beat up the muggers. Oswald has typically been portrayed as being much older than Bruce but in this iteration, they are about the same age. Oswald talks with Bruce, even accuses him of negligence toward the Cobblepot family and tells you that he has many plans coming up and Bruce can either be a part of it, or get trampled. Afterwards, Bruce attends a press conference with Harvey Dent about a new mental hospital that they plan on using to replace Arkham Asylum. Alfred tries to get in contact with you but you have a speech to make. After making the speech, some members of the press will question Bruce about his family’s ties with the Falcone family. Whether you deny them or not, the press with go wild and you will be told to return home by Alfred because the police are raiding the mansion.

Chapter 4 is a long one as you begin with Bruce returning to the mansion and speaking with Gordon. Gordon apologizes for the intrusion and tells you that he is just following orders. Vicki Vale then shows up and talks with Bruce. The player can choose to give her a quote on the whole situation with his family and Falcone. Afterwards, Bruce meets up with Harvey at a café to ask him about the police investigation. Harvey is the D.A. and he should have at least given Bruce some warning. However, it’s at this point that Harvey’s friend Selina Kyle joins them. She has a black eye and Bruce has some scratches on his cheek that he’s been able to pass off as cuts from shaving. However, the two immediately recognize who each other is. After talking with her, she gives Bruce the location she was supposed to go to in order to pass off the drive. Bruce goes there as Batman as begins to investigate the crime scene as there are several dead police and criminals in the warehouse. There, Bruce discovers what happened and finds a criminal still alive so he interrogates him. The player can choose a more subtle approach or an aggressive one and when you have received the information, Gordon shows up. You can choose to flee or stay and talk with Gordon and give him the information.

In Chapter 5, the drive is finally done decrypting and Bruce can read the data. In it, he finds all the information that he could use to destroy the Falcone family or clear his name. Bruce has two options. He can give the information to Vicki Vale and clear his name, or he can give the information to Jim Gordon and insure the fall of the Falcone family. Afterwards, Bruce dawns the cowl and goes after Falcone. As the player, you get to choose Batman’s plan of attack and thus leads to his breaking into Falcone’s apartment. After you have caught Falcone, you have two choices. You can brutalize Falcone or arrest him.

Chapter 6 is basically just a quick ending scene and then shows you the major decisions that will affect the future of the game. These choices included whether you shook Falcone’s hand in Chapter 2, whether you stood up for Harvey in Chapter 2, the quote that you gave Vicki Vale in Chapter 4, who you gave the information to in Chapter 5, and whether you arrested or brutalized Falcone in Chapter 5.

I have been looking forward to this game for a while and there was a lot that I liked about this episode. The detective work in Chapter 4 really stood out to me as something special and the plan of attack in Chapter 5 was really cool. That said, compared to other Telltale games, this game seems to have gotten off to a slow start. That’s not to say that it’s bad or anything, just that it hasn’t really “wowed” me yet.

Bits and Pieces

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 starts us off by setting up the world that we are going to be playing in. There are a few sections of this episode that are really special and give me a lot of hope going forward, however the game does seem a bit lackluster at the current moment. That said, I can’t wait for Episode 2!



  1. I just finished Episode 1 this weekend. I haven't played the other Telltale games, so I can't compare it. I felt like it was an interactive story and I enjoyed that. I'm not sure what effect my decisions had on the overall storyline however. Does that play out more further down the line?

    1. I haven't played this yet, but have played a bunch of Tell Tale games and yes, it will play out a bit down the line.

    2. Yes, your decisions will have an effect in the later episodes. You will notice that occasionally the game will have something like "So and So will rememeber that" and such. These are moments that will usually have more of an effect on how you talk with other characters. However, the major decisions that are focused on at the end of the episode will have a significant effect on the story and options for the player going forward.