Batman: The Telltale Series – Archived review

Someone might reasonably argue that this isn’t a game, but interactive storytelling. As you go through the game, you’re offered a series of choices. The consequences of those choices affects what happens later in the game (e.g., if you’re seen shaking hands with Carmine Falcone, that will make Gotham think less of you). There’s combat, but no tactics: it’s all in the form of QTEs, so combat plays out like a game of Simon Says.

With all that said, I enjoyed Batman:TTS. If the story is everything, at least they chose to tell an interesting story. It’s set in Batman’s early years, when Harvey Dent was still Bruce Wayne’s good friend, and Batman meets Catwoman for the first time. A group called “the Children of Arkham” is terrorizing Gotham City, and it’s up to Batman to try to stop them. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne learns some uncomfortable realities about his parents and the source of the fortune they left him.

The game spends a bit more time with Bruce Wayne than as Batman, and in some crucial encounters you can choose to participate as either one. It adds a dimension to the story that’s not found in the Arkham series. On the other hand, there’s no “open world” or detective puzzles to solve; your crime-scene detection is limited to linking various objects in static environments.

If I’m going to mention the Arkham games, I have to add that Catwoman is the same hyper-sexualized creature in both series. It’s a shame, because she is more fully realized in Batman:TTS and this would have been a chance to show her in the same manner as the other female characters in the game (Vicki Vale, Officer Montoya). However, this is Bruce Wayne’s story, not Selina Kyle’s, and the game is clearly targeted at a male audience. It would have nice to have Batman be more acceptable to a female audience.

At its current price of $25, gamers may feel that the the series is too expensive for 5-6 hours of gameplay (about 60 minutes per episode). If you look at this as a choose-your-own-adventure story, then I think the price is reasonable compared to same amount of time spent in a movie theater. Certainly the story is better than a couple of the Batman movies I’ve seen.

The game has some replayability, to see what the results were of making different story choices. I’ve played it through twice, once as “good and noble” Batman, and once as “make every bad choice possible” Batman. I’ll probably play it through one more time, to create a game save suitable for any follow-up Telltale seasons of Batman.

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