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Batman: The Telltale Series

Developer / Publisher: Telltale Games
02 August 2016
Batman: The Telltale Series - cover art
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3.06 / 5.0
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248 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#2,199 All-time
#106 for 2016
Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who moonlights within the crime-addled city of Gotham as the fearsome vigilante Batman, attempts to save said city from falling into the hands of a secret society bent on bringing vengeance upon Wayne for the heinous actions of his parents.
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Despite not being a fan of story experiences and walking simulators, I tend to really enjoy Telltale Games’ products. I’ve never read the Batman comics but have watched some cartoons and all the films so I am somewhat familiar with the story of Batman.

I think the game defines its own Batman - I believe they have come up with their own history of Bruce Wayne’s parents, and this discovery tarnishes Bruce Wayne’s legacy. Then public opinion on Batman is mixed. Meanwhile, Penguin is planning a revolution while experimenting with mind-influencing chemicals alongside a mysterious leader, Lady Arkham.

Like the other Telltale Games, it has plenty of twists and turns and gives you a good illusion of choice (even if your choices don’t really matter until the final scenes).

You really feel like you are managing your relationships with Catwoman, Harvey Dent, Alfred and Gordon. Then you are often given a choice which sounds like it can impact people’s perception of either Bruce or Batman, so you have to consider which reputation you want to enhance. These choices are often whether you go to talk to someone as either persona. Bruce is the more charismatic option, whereas Batman is more intimidating.

There’s some parts of the story that were a bit darker than I expected, so there’s themes of child abuse, and murder.

When battling goons, these are often long fight sequences. I thought it was hard to know if you pressed the correct button: arrow inputs go yellow, but keyboard inputs don’t seem to give you visual feedback. Although it mainly involves pressing WASD and QE, then it throws in the combination of Shift + E/Q for finishing moves. There’s no hammering buttons - it is just single key presses. Some scenes ask you to plan out your attacks so you can choose whether to slam enemies into a table, or into another enemy etc. I think it’s just a choice of how brutal you want your Batman to be.

There’s a few detective sections which sounds good in principle but these are usually too simplistic because there’s not enough objects. So you might look at a dead body and look at a hole in the wall and obviously you are going to link both and it's usually the correct thing. Once you have matched all the clues, then Batman deduces what happened in the crime scene. It’s a nice idea but needs to be enhanced further.

It’s using the updated Telltale engine so has a sharper visual style and works well to represent the source material. I didn’t encounter any bugs, but I had to adjust the volume levels since the music was high in the mix. If you are looking to play a good Telltale game, or are a fan of Batman, then this game is a good choice.
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CaptainClam 2021-10-10T22:55:00Z
2021-10-10T22:55:00Z
4.0
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batman anime series on which you have to click or press buttons to get it to its end. Well at least the first episode. I guess this will be only for lazy days.
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FOU2RAGE 2018-03-31T10:10:53Z
2018-03-31T10:10:53Z
2.0
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I like telltale games, even if the claim they made "The story is tailored by your choice" is an exaggeration at best, but I don't think Batman is their best work. I wasn't impressed by it but I also wouldn't call playing it a waste of time.

What I like about this game the most is the way it presents the world and the characters. Although the fact that some of them are different than in comics can be outrageous for Batman-purist it didn't bother me personally. I found their their motives and personal stories believable and well-constructed.

Unfortunately I can't tell the same about the story in general. It's plain and rather underwhelming. The identity of a main villain it's quite easy to guess, so the plotwist, planned by creators isn't plotwist at all. The basic idea of the story was good and it fits in well with Batman universe, but the execution was poor. And it's a shame, because Batman universe seems to be almost tailor-made for Telltale games.

As for mechanics of the game there is some interesting ideas beside standard QTE (whioch are rather irritating). You have to do some detective work to connect clues and also you have to plan the attacks on the enemies. That last thing would be a nice feature, but unfortunately, no matter which way of attack you chose the result would be the same. Truly wasted opportunity.

There is also some technical issues - cut scenes stutters a little (when they begin) on Ryzen 7+gtx1080, it screams "bad optimization!" from a miles ahead. It doesn't make the game unplayable, it's only a minor inconvenience, but still, it definitely shouldn't been happening.

Would I recommend this game? If you are a fan of Telltale, sure. But if you are not familiar with their previous works I would recommend to play Wolf Among Us first, and, if you like that, maybe try playing "Batman" later
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iamnotabackpacker 2018-01-14T13:34:46Z
2018-01-14T13:34:46Z
3.0
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Well thank Christ Telltale got themselves back in their comfort zone after all that Minecraft: Story Mode business.

'Comfort zone' is a bit of a loaded phrase to use around Telltale in 2017, admittedly; the almost unbroken praise they enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of The Walking Dead: Season One has now long given way to regular criticism that they're stuck in a rut, essentially making the same game over and over again with a different coat of paint offered by whatever licensed property they're using this time. Even I, as a huge fan, can't deny there's some grain of truth to that - but ultimately, I'd argue that it's a great game they keep making, that their strengths are too crucial to the heart of great storytelling in any medium for their formula to feel tired yet, and that their Minecraft excursion actually shed a lot of light on those strengths through its failures.

Here's the thing - Telltale's writing thrives on lore, on its ability to dip into a deep well of pre-existing material and pull together the parts that offer the most political intrigue and emotional pull, to put their own spin on characters and situations that we've known for years in various guises. When I think about source material that could potentially make for a great Telltale game, where they would thrive, I think of Star Wars, of Star Trek, of Harry Potter, of Mass Effect, of X-Men - sprawling franchises with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to defined lore and scope to expand upon the grey areas within it. Fables, The Walking Dead, and especially Game of Thrones were perfect matches. Minecraft really, really wasn't, and really, my reaction to hearing that they were making a game based on it was exactly the same as my reaction when I heard that they were making movies based on Angry Birds and emojis - a defeated grimace and a sigh of 'how?!?'. Batman, though? There genuinely may not be a single intellectual property in the world better suited to Telltale.

Literally everything that makes Telltale and their games great - like moral ambiguity, complex characters, cynical political maneuvering, deeply detestable bad guys, lots of death and violence, and widespread potential for backstabbing and betrayal - is a pillar that Batman is defined by. It's often suggested that Batman as a character is essentially defined by the way that all his adversaries reflect a part of himself, and I can imagine the writers at Telltale, immediately after being forced to invent something from nothing in Minecraft: Story Mode, licking their lips at the prospect of working with the rogues gallery and exploring Batman's psychology, and by extension the player's psychology, through them. If anything, there probably aren't enough of them here - the plot largely revolves around two well-established villains and one that Telltale have invented, with four others making lengthy cameos - but they do a fantastic job with the three they've decided to narrow down on.

The first of them is Harvey Dent. The plot is set before the transition to Two-Face - and that transition, as you'll guess the second you see him if you know anything about Batman lore, becomes an important plot point - and sees him running for mayor, with full financial backing from Bruce Wayne. It's a more human representation of Dent than I can remember seeing elsewhere, although it should be noted that I'm not exactly a Batman obsessive and haven't read any of the comics that feature him; the game takes great care to explore his genuine desire to make Gotham a safe place where families can raise their children without worrying about being mugged or stabbed every time they leave the house, and to undo the damage done by Mayor Hill's corruption. (So that'll be the reflection of Batman in his enemies we spoke about earier, then.) The plot really kicks into life when Dent transitions into Harvey Dent, an event that happens here not at the hands of Sal Maroni, but at the hands of a group named Children of Arkham.

I was genuinely surprised and impressed when I Googled Children of Arkham and found out they were purely an invention of this game, because they slot into the story arc and the overall Batman mythology perfectly. After playing this game and getting to understand them, they feel like such a natural fit and such an obvious idea that I feel like all the Wikis I''ve looked at must have missed something - surely Telltale aren't the first to do this? But then, I also hadn't realized that their motivation, that their parents had all been committed to Arkham Asylum by an organized crime ring despite being perfectly sane, wasn't strictly canon either. Although he's never explicitly treated as a villain here as such, the man who truly sets the ball rolling for all of the evil that takes place in this game is Thomas Wayne; evidence is revealed that he threw people into Arkham whenever they crossed him in any way, or when it suited his business to make them disappear. He does this in conspiracy with Mayor Hill and Carmine Falcone, in a criminal triad that caused decades of corruption; and it's heavily implied that both the success of Wayne Enterprises and the decision to build Arkham Asylum in the first place are both a result of this collaboration. It's heavy stuff, but hey, Tellltale generally get better the heavier they get. The sheer turmoil that these revelations cause in the citizens of Arkham, in Harvey Dent, and in Bruce Wayne himself is one of the driving factors of the story, and it feels like such a natural fit that I genuinely assumed it was all an established part of the mythos, rather than being based on a fragment from one story arc in the comics that turns out to be a red herring there anyway. That's assuming it's even based on that and they didn't just come up with it independently, which is entirely possible, I suppose. Fair play if they did.

The Children of Arkham, then, centers on two particular adversaries, both of whom were directly affected by all this. The first is Oswald Cobblepot, again prior to his transition into The Penguin. This version of the character - in a change that plays so naturally that I again assumed it was canon - was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, and it's mentioned that his parents were good friends with the Waynes. That's before Thomas has Cobblepot's mother thrown into Arkham and tortured because she refused to sell him land that she owned - the land that Wayne Enterprises is now built on. The second is the leader, Lady Arkham; I will say as little as possible on her, because the reveal of her true identity is a stand-out moment in all of Telltale's games. Under the guidance of these two, they function as a terrorist organization trying to start a revolution to uproot the long-standing corruption in Gotham, and end up embroiled in a three-way fight for control with Harvey Dent and Batman. Three power bases in conflict, all pulling in different directions, despite all ultimately claiming to want the same thing; you can see once again the potential for Batman to see reflections of himself in those he's fighting, and how Telltale can exploit that to make the player feel unsure about their actions and who they should attempt to placate or ally themselves with. It's hard not to be reminded of the power struggles in Game of Thrones at times, even if this game never goes to quite the same lengths about it. (What game does, though?) There's one moment where Cobblepot replaces Bruce Wayne as the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, in a PR move engineered by the company to save face after the evidence of Thomas Wayne's treatment of Cobblepot's mother come to light that especially captured that same Game of Thrones feeling that you're powerless to stop something horrific.

The tension shot through this, and the subplots woven under it - a prolonged dallliance with Catwoman, notably - mean that this falls second only to Game of Thrones among Telltale games, and third to Life Is Strange in episodic games in general, in terms of how badly I wanted to see how the next episode panned out. As much as I've loved a lot of Batman media down the years, none of them have put me on the edge of my seat quite like this did. It's the characters that really do it, I think; this game has a great habit of dropping in a character, immediately establishing the basics of who they are and what they're about, and then setting about exploring and twisting it. Within a minute or two, you can tell that this version of James Gordon is torn between trusting Batman and treating him as a threat, that Renee Montoya and Vicki Vale are both as hard-working and earnest to do the right thing at all times as any cop or journalist that's ever existed in real life, that Carmine Falcone oozes as much power as sleaze and wants everybody to know it, that Mayor Hill is terrified that his misdeeds have finally caught with him and is desperately looking for a way out, and so on. This is played with toward the conclusion of the game, when The Joker, in a pretty minor role for once, is introduced; nobody in-game actually knows who he is and he's never actually referred to as The Joker, but it's unmissably obvious, and literally within 30 seconds of first showing us his face the game is already playing with our perceptions of the character. All in aid of setting up a sequel, it turns out. Zsasz appears too, very briefly, and again, we don't even need a name to get it.

If there's a criticism, it's that this game didn't quite suck me in to the story in the same way Game of Thrones did; but then, I'm not sure that was possible. I never truly despised anybody here, but given how meticulous the game is about making sure every character except the long-dead Thomas Wayne has motivation for their actions, I feel like it probably would have reflected pretty badly on me if I had hated anybody the way I did Ramsay Bolton and Gryff Whitehill. Other than that, I'm delighted with this; not just as a wonderful, powerful game, but as a sign of Telltale being right back on track. That said....apparently it's Guardians of the Galaxy next. :-/
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Iai 2016-12-23T13:01:11Z
2016-12-23T13:01:11Z
3.4
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Catalog

georgerose Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-10-03T21:02:03Z
2022-10-03T21:02:03Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Barrkode Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-10-03T10:11:42Z
2022-10-03T10:11:42Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eschaton1000 Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-10-02T00:10:36Z
2022-10-02T00:10:36Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MMF100 Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-09-21T21:29:57Z
PS4
2022-09-21T21:29:57Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Fab236 Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-09-06T03:33:29Z
2022-09-06T03:33:29Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mattiapisano097 Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-09-05T18:16:21Z
2022-09-05T18:16:21Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
heresmahhi Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-30T19:58:00Z
2022-08-30T19:58:00Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Entea Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-22T17:51:41Z
2022-08-22T17:51:41Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BoosterRaccoon Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-21T23:40:11Z
2022-08-21T23:40:11Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LETSPERISH Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-11T20:35:30Z
PS4
2022-08-11T20:35:30Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LilJazy Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-06T23:01:47Z
2022-08-06T23:01:47Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Were Batman: The Telltale Series 2022-08-03T08:31:48Z
2022-08-03T08:31:48Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Froot 2019-10-17 14:53:48.514961+00
    delisted rip
    reply
    • Froot 2020-01-29 17:07:33.592681+00
      relisted, unrip.
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  • Jodas 2020-06-15 21:19:21.65105+00
    One of the most pleasant surprises I've ever played. Didn't expect that much and it's a great Batman Sim.
    reply
    • Fowlawneeshafow 2020-12-20 00:13:13.354217+00
      2nd season is miles better, but it's nice
    • Jodas 2021-10-21 10:58:38.411898+00
      I liked 2nd season a bit more, indeed.
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  • EyeSocketCrunch 2021-07-07 22:04:29.719936+00
    I love how this game lets you play Batman as an insane person who breaks ribs, threatens to make someone bleed to death, and no one likes him. And this is all in the first chapter!
    reply
    • EyeSocketCrunch 2021-07-08 05:52:36.30469+00
      this game does alot of interesting stuff with a new twist on all the Batman lore. I especially like this version of Harvey, and this Joker is, interesting. I am looking forward to seeing him expanded in the second one when I play that.
    • EyeSocketCrunch 2021-07-08 06:05:10.833017+00
      there's alot of interesting similarities between this game and Arkham Knight, tone and theme-wise relating to Bruce Wayne's past and things like that. The villains even have similar names.
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  • futurafrlx 2022-05-14 16:21:27.907185+00
    Gets worse with each episode.
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